The publisher and developer of Vampire: The Masquerade — Bloodlines 2 have fired the game’s creative director and lead writer, and it doesn’t sound like it was an amicable departure.
Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2’s lead narrative designer Brian Mitsoda and creative director Ka’ai Cluney have been fired from the action-RPG project, with the former saying the decision by developer Hardsuit Labs and publisher Paradox Interactive “came as a shock” and that he had “never been led to believe that he hadn’t succeeded” in his role.
A shake-up of Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2’s development team was first hinted at earlier this month, when Hardsuit and Paradox announced a delay to the game’s release – it will now launch in 2021 – “to ensure the best player experience possible”. Its statement also made references to “organisational changes” within the team that it would share at a later date.
Paradox and Hardsuit have now followed up that earlier statement with a new message. In it, they confirm that Brian Mitsoda and Ka’ai Cluney are no longer part of the development team, and that “this was a joint decision made by the leadership of Hardsuit Labs and Paradox Interactive.” Alexandre Mandryka – who has worked on the likes of Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry – has been brought in as creative consultant, to fill the creative director role.
Mitsoda, who was the lead writer on the original Bloodlines at Troika Games, puts it more bluntly, saying he has been “suddenly terminated” on July 16, and that “this came to [him] as a shock would be underselling it”. As someone prominently involved in the development of the first game in the series, Mitsoda was heavily featured in its promotion, including numerous interviews. “I lent my legacy with the franchise, my name, and my participation in marketing efforts for the game, even when it was intensely difficult and took a mental and physical toll. This is all because I wanted to do what was best for the game and the team,” he says.
Mitsoda further states that he wasn’t made aware of the reasons for the repeated delays of the game, saying “I was not part of the conversations that led to the decision to delay production, and to my knowledge, there were no delays caused by the Bloodlines 2 narrative development.”
Hardsuit Labs has appointed game design consultant Alexandre Mandryka, who has worked on titles such as Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry as creative consultant, to fill the Creative Director role. Fan reactions on social media are subdued—after several delays, the loss of two developers integral to the project speaks of trouble at Hardsuit Labs. Especially the way Mitsoda and Ka’ai were let go doesn’t inspire confidence, even when the changes don’t sound like there is a massive overhaul in the works.