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Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 release date, gameplay, clans and factions

Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2, the sequel to the 2004 cult classic Bloodlines, places you in the role of a thinblood, a newly turned vampire, as you navigate the dangers of 21st century Seattle. One of many vampires created during the Mass Embrace, an unsanctioned attack that claimed dozens of victims, you find yourself at the center of an investigation. As you search for the perpetrator who changed your life forever, you must navigate a shadow world of backstabbing and intrigue, all while hiding you true nature from the world of mortals. Welcome to The Masquerade.

Bloodlines maintains its cult following, considered by many to be a flawed masterpiece due to its strong emphasis on narrative and player choice. Following the failure of developer Troika Games, the title received unofficial support from fans via bug fixes and the release of unused content. Bloodlines 2 resurrects the franchise at the hands of developer Hardsuit Labs. Paradox Interactive will publish the title, marking another change from the original, which was released by Activision. Both Bloodlines and Bloodlines 2 take place in the World of Darkness, a setting created by White Wolf, which Paradox Interactive acquired in 2015.

Bloodlines 2's release date

Paradox Interactive announced Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 at GDC 2019 on March 21. According to the official website, the game will launch for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC in Q1 2020. Prospective players may be happy to know that the game has not joined the ranks of Epic exclusives, with the Windows version available through multiple distributors. A look at the Steam and Epic Games Store listings helps narrow the launch window, placing the release date in March 2020

In contrast, the Amazon listings for physical copies for both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One specify December 31, 2020. As this contradicts the website, this far flung date likely serves as a placeholder, a practice Amazon often employs for pre-orders. There's no word yet on whether Paradox has plans to bring Bloodlines 2 to Google Stadia. Should the sequel launch in March 2020, it will end an almost 16-year gap for the franchise.

Bloodlines 2's pre-order bonuses

All pre-orders of Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 come with the First Blood Pack containing the digital soundtrack and three in-game items: Engraved Pistol Weapon Skin, Civil War Saber Weapon Skin, and Retro Hunter Outfit. If you'd like additional swag, you can pick up the Unsanctioned Edition or Blood Moon Edition, both of which come with 24-hour Early Access.

Players who pre-order the Deluxe Unsanctioned Edition will receive the following bonuses: First Blood Pack, in-game commentary featuring narrative lead Brian Mitsoda, in-game artbook, Damsel's Beret, Jeanette Outfit, Smiling Jack Outfit, Voerman Family Portrait, Sarcophagus Table, Severed Arm Weapon Skin, and Stop Sign Item.

The Premium Blood Moon Edition comes with the First Blood Pack, Unsanctioned Pack, and the Season of the Wolf Season Pass, which includes two upcoming Story Packs, as well as one major werewolf-flavored Expansion, and the Bludgeon Weapon Skin on day one.

Right now, you can only order the Unsanctioned and Blood Moon editions for PC, with console pre-orders slated to follow.

Bloodlines 2's trailers

Paradox Interactive has kept the Bloodlines 2 hype train rolling along, releasing a total of nine trailers, including a unique animated trailer for each of Seattle's clans. The Announcement Trailer set things in motion back in March 2019, revealing that a Bloodlines sequel was in the works. It also served as the launch announcement for PC pre-orders. Though the video does not include actual gameplay footage, it set the tone for the blood-soaked title, offering a glimpse of the colorful cast and some of the city's darker corners.

The most recent trailer dropped at Gamescom 2019, showing off Bloodlines 2's ray-tracing via GeForce RTX technology. Filled with beautiful, ambient lighting and reflections, the trailer provided another tour of its setting, displaying the same scenes with RTX turned on and off. The clip promises an atmospheric and brutal take on modern Seattle that will unfold across its brightly lit streets and mist-shrouded back alleys.

Bloodlines 2's gameplay

At the start of Bloodlines 2, you'll choose from one of three Thinblood disciplines, with two additional disciplines unlocking once you choose your clan. These disciplines act as specialized skill trees that provide additional powers to augment your combat and social capabilities. Combat unfolds from a first-person perspective, with a wealth of melee weapons and firearms at your disposal in addition to your budding supernatural assets.

Continuing the legacy established by Bloodlines, the sequel provides an RPG narrative with branching pathways. The choices you make, disciplines you choose, clan you join, and faction you align yourself with will all alter your experience, taking advantage of the game's reactive storytelling. How tightly you cling to your humanity and how effectively you maintain The Masquerade around mortals will also have a strong effect on your experience. This style, which utilizes different outcomes, scenes, and dialogue as you progress through the story, makes the title highly replayable. For a more in-depth look at the gameplay of Bloodlines 2, check out the demo Paradox Interactive shared at E3 and Gamescom 2019.

Resonances in Bloodlines 2

As a vampire, your new existence is defined by blood. Your hunger is ever present, and if you wait too long between feedings, you risk surrendering control to the beast within, an event that can have devastating consequences. As you stalk your victims, you will encounter different resonances, echoes of heightened emotions that alter the qualities of a person's blood. By consuming blood with a specific resonance, you can unlock buffs called Merits. This acts as yet another method for customizing your Bloodlines 2 experience.

Bloodlines 2 features five resonances: Delirium, Desire, Fear, Pain, and Rage. Each resonance will have a unique color association that spreads through a person's cardiovascular system,which you can detect using heightened senses. Creative director Ka'ai Cluney explained, "The idea is that not all blood is the same. These characters might be filled with delirium, others might be filled with rage, and by drinking different types of resonance [blood] we're treating it as sort of a secondary type of experience that further allows you to customize your character based on your preferred tastes."

Bloodlines 2 clan: Thinbloods

Thinbloods, newly created vampires, start their second life with little understanding of their nature or the rules of Kindred society. Reviled by fullblood clan members, most Thinbloods live a short and cruel life, dying when they cross the wrong person or threaten The Masquerade. Some manage to find work as grunts or runners, acting as expendable fodder for Seattle's more sordid individuals and organizations. Those who are smart have the opportunity to rise above the rabble, making their way into the elite realms of vampire society.

At character creation, you will have the opportunity to choose between three Thinblood disciplines: Chiropteran, Mentalism, and Nebulation. Chiropteran taps into the Thinblood bat affinity, allowing you to float on updrafts and attack NPCs with bat swarms. Mentalism bestows the power of telekinesis, including the ability to pull objects towards you, even the weapon from an enemy's grasp. You can also suspend NPCs in mid-air. Finally, Nebulation lets you summon and command mist, pulling it around you to better go unnoticed or launching offensive attacks.

Bloodlines 2 clan: Brujah

Outcasts, drifters, and failed anarchists, the Brujah clan makes up a small portion of the Kindred community. Most members cling to their rebellious roots, remaining loosely or entirely unaffiliated with Seattle's political factions, or so they claim. Brujah are best known for hosting bashes, gatherings that function as a vampire fight club. They use these contests to remind the other clans of their superior physical power. It is rare for an outsider to win a fight. Brujah champions hire themselves out as expensive bodyguards to anyone who can afford to pay the price.

By joining the Brujah clan, you gain access to two additional disciplines: Potence and Celerity. Potence heightens your raw physical strength, allowing you to shatter walls with your fists, tear enemies limb from limb, and otherwise dominate or destroy your environment. Celerity enhances a Brujah's speed, bestowing a dash that causes you to disappear momentarily and knocks down anyone in your path. At higher levels, you can move so quickly that the world slows down around you, letting your perform a variety of actions before anyone has a chance to respond.

Bloodlines 2 clan: Tremere

Witches, warlocks, and occultists, the Tremere have paid the price of their founders' quest for immortality. Though they reached their objective, the Tremere were cursed, their magic bound to blood. This curse has been passed down to the clan's successive members, creating an unbroken cycle of mistrust, war, and grudges. Though traditionally shunned by Kindred society, the Tremere have grown in numbers during recent years, forging alliances by offering secrets and their unique services. Though these actions have helped the clan's image, many vampires continued to revile them and the twisted nature of their power.

Joining the Tremere clan unlocks two new Disciplines: Thaumaturgy and Auspex. A form of blood sorcery, Thaumaturgy is Tremere's most carefully guarded secret. Blood casters can create razor-sharp blood spikes, cause a target to vomit blood, and even make the blood boil in a person's veins until they explode and damage any bystanders in the area. Auspex represents the Tremere pursuit of perfection, letting you detect the auras of others and track them from long distances. At higher levels, you can even detach your mind from your body, exploring Seattle in Astral Form.

Bloodlines 2 clan: Toreador

To the Toreador, beauty matters above all else. Drawing their ranks primarily from the most accomplished artists of each generation, the Toreador have long influenced Seattle's cultural elite. Devoted to beauty, luxury, and pleasure, the Toreador spend their eternity moving from one experience to the next, constantly on the hunt for the next high, the next fad. Often underestimated for their seemingly hedonistic nature, the clan remains one of the most potent forces within Kindred society, though the growing ennui of its oldest members has caused that control to slip.

By joining the Toreador clan, you will unlock two new disciplines: Presence and Celerity. Presence allows you to capture the attention of those around you simply by entering the room. Onlookers transform into a captive audience, frozen in their adoration for you. At higher levels, these admirers will follow you wherever you go, forming a dedicated posse to distract your enemies. Celerity grants the Toreador unnatural grace and nimbleness, confounding foes as you dance between them and turning combat into a beautiful and bloody ballet.

Bloodlines 2 clan: Ventrue

Titans of industry, the Ventrue dominate Seattle's modern business landscape, having capitalized on the area's many industrial booms. With the blood of rulers in their lineage, the Ventrue have exchanged their crowns and thrones for stocks and boardrooms, influencing the world on both a local and global scale through multi-billion-dollar businesses. More than leaders, the Ventrue see themselves as the guardians of The Masquerade, charged with shepherding vampire society and eliminating anyone who falls short of their standards.

By joining the Ventrue clan, you will unlock two new disciplines: Dominate and Fortitude. Calling upon centuries of authority, Ventrue can mesmerize those in their presence, making them oblivious to their surroundings. At higher levels, you can issue orders to a dominated individual, even forcing them to attack other people. Defined by their legacy, much of the Ventrue clan's power stems from their ability to outlast their opponents. Fortitude bestows physical resilience, letting you deflect attacks, heal, and temporarily become immune to damage.

Bloodlines 2 clan: Malkavian

More than the Tremere, Malkavians have been ostracized by the Seattle Kindred. Made up of madmen and oracles, Malkavians see, hear, and understand things no one else can. This knowledge effects them deeply, manifesting as psychosis, depression, and other forms of mental illness. This has not prevented some Malkavians from claiming a place in Kindred society with the more capable members acting as advisers, strategists, and, in some cases, rulers. Despite this, the other clans continue to view Malkavians with a mixture of disgust, unease, and curiosity.

By joining the Malkavian clan you will unlock two new disciplines: Dementation and Auspex. Through Dementation, Malkavians can impart some of their madness to others, filling their minds with specters, panic, and uncontrollable rage. Through Auspex, you can detect the secrets of those around you, tracking auras, marking NPCs, and revealing their weaknesses. Stronger Malkavians can detach their minds from their bodies, moving through the city in astral form and temporarily overwhelming the minds of others via telepathy.

Bloodlines 2 faction: The Pioneers

Seattle houses five major factions, groups of vampires who have aligned in vision and purpose under a single banner. Each faction comes with its own history, features, and goals, giving you the choice to ally with them or pit them against one another. The Pioneers, headed by Lou Grand, founded Seattle and ruled over it for more than a century. That control has since slipped, and the faction struggles to remain relevant under the reign of a new Prince.

Composed of loggers, fishermen, bootleggers, old money families, artists, and musicians, the Pioneers view Seattle as a romanticized ideal of the last frontier. They cling to the exploration spirit of the old world, fighting to maintain what little power and control they still have while greeting outsiders with disdain and suspicion. Presiding over some of the city's less significant territories, they've spent decades watching as more and more people migrated to the area, carving their beloved city into smaller pieces.

Bloodlines 2 faction: The Camarilla

Under the leadership of Prince Alec Cross, the Camarilla wrested control of Seattle from the Pioneers 20 years ago. They have built a legacy on the back of the city's thriving tech industry, exerting their influence from the towering skyscrapers at the heart of the booming business sector. The Camarilla draw their ranks from CEOs, bankers, software moguls, politicians, venture capitalists, and other members of the elite.

Cross prizes stability and prosperity above all, making The Masquerade his first priority. Due to their recent rise to power, the faction remains one of the Seattle Kindred's biggest targets, a fact Prince Cross mitigates by giving the other vampires just enough power to stop them from mobilizing against him. Those who join the Camarilla are assured of a comfortable existence, with the faction's nigh unlimited resources providing ready access to blood, effectively eliminating the need to hunt. The Camarilla reign in their inner beast, hiding it behind carefully pressed business suits and a veneer of civility.