Recently-formed Swedish developers Sharkmob are making a Battle Royale game based on the world of Vampire: The Masquerade, a mixture of setting and game genre that is baffling to fans and non-fans alike. The upcoming game was announced via a 32-second teaser trailer and is set to release in “the later half of 2021.”
The trailer shows vampires leaping across rooftops and doing battle in the streets of a modern European city. They fire guns at each other, using explosive vampire powers to attack and defend themselves. At the end, an ominously armored figure with sword and shield attacks the lead vampire—the shield is briefly visible, but has the mark of Vampire: The Masquerade’s Second Inquisition. Presumably the hunting forces of the Inquisitors will be your ever-shrinking circle. Here’s the official game description:
“Experience the next thrilling evolution of Battle Royale multiplayer action games set in the cult classic Vampire: The Masquerade universe where vampire sects are at war across the streets and rooftops of Prague. Choose your playstyle, go solo or together, battling rivals and the hostile Entity who’s hellbent on exterminating all vampires. Use your supernatural powers, weapons and blood to become stronger in order to hunt, fight and survive the night.”
In-world justifications for the game, and there are many, set aside: It’s a pretty baffling decision to mix Battle Royale with a setting first conceived of and sold as a world of personal horror, where a single murder can be the event which turns a person from tragically afflicted vampire to ravenous and terrible beast. It’s a profoundly strange choice to turn grim undead politics and dark horror into vampire superhero parkour gunplay.
Even if the game is good, which we absolutely can’t rule out because it’s a lot of veteran developers, it’ll still be a weird one.
Tabletop RPG Vampire: The Masquerade is perhaps best known to videogames through cult classic RPG Bloodlines and the upcoming Bloodlines 2. Since the acquisition of the license by Paradox Interactive in 2015 and the publishing of a new tabletop game edition in 2018, many new video games have been licensed to use the World of Darkness, Vampire’s broader setting.