Vampire The Masquerade’s battle royale, Bloodhunt, is perhaps one of 2021’s most surprising titles. Blending the iconic tabletop and RPG series with the FPS genre, Sharkmob’s dev team has revealed the challenges of merging two very different universes, as well as what makes it so rewarding.
When you think of Vampire The Masquerade, you likely think of the tabletop game, or the iconic Bloodlines digital RPG series: not a battle royale.
Enter Bloodhunt, Swedish developer Sharkmob’s transformative take on the bloodstained franchise. Making its early access debut on Steam in September, the title has captured the imaginations of both those who lurk in the shadows, as well as the more casual FPS gamer.
In an exclusive interview with Dexerto, Bloodhunt’s Game Director, Craig Hubbard, and Sharkmob Co-founder and IP & Communications Director, Martin Hultberg, explained some of the challenges they encountered when reimagining the iconic franchise for a PvP title.
How Vampire The Masquerade became a battle royale
While a lot of fans may not immediately connect the dots between Vampire The Masquerade and a battle royale, Hultberg stresses that they truly aren’t that dissimilar.
“Vampire The Masquerade has always been a game about conflict, although the tabletop RPG tends to focus on resolution through diplomacy, deception, betrayal and so forth,” he told Dexerto. “Even so, combat has always been a viable option and for many groups of players it was still an important part of that experience.
“BR [battle royale] offers a clear-cut ‘king of the hill’ type experience” he continues, explaining that the devs “thought would be an interesting thing to explore, given the competitive nature of the vampires and the idea of hunter and prey.
“There were many challenges, of course… For BR we had to contextualize things like the shrinking circle, explain why the fighting takes place, translate the powers and so forth. It wasn’t an easy feat, but we worked closely with the World of Darkness brand team to find solutions that would work.”
Blood Resonances: “You are what you eat”
One of Bloodhunt’s most interesting features is the Blood Resonance mechanic, which allows your character to enhance different attributes depending on the mortal they feed on. With four different options, you can upgrade your cooldown reduction, melee damage, and health regeneration.
“There is a saying in the tabletop RPG; ‘you are what you eat'” Hultberg states. “The idea that the blood vampires drink affects them differently based on the source you draw it from is at the core of the experience.”
“Previously we’d had a leveling system where you’d gain XP by feeding on NPCs and players and unlock perks as you leveled up,” Hubbard recalls. “We tried different iterations, but the fundamental problem was that it turned feeding into a chore because you had to do a lot of it to reach max level.”
“Blood resonance had several benefits,” he explains. “The big one was that it made feeding more interesting and strategic. Resonance perks are exponential rather than linear, each typically doubling the previous boost, meaning you get a lot more benefit from concentrating on one or two types than by spreading yourself thin. Another big one is that it makes diablerie more beneficial, as it not only fully heals you but also grants you additional resonance slots.”
Looking to the future, he told Dexerto that “all of this said, we consider the current implementation of blood resonance to be a foundation on which to build. We feel we can explore some interesting possibilities for perks in the future.”
With Hultberg promising new clans, including the Ventrue and many more, we really can’t wait to see how the game continues to grow.
Right now, though, we’re hungry for more Bloodhunt. Does anyone fancy a bite?