The Chinese Room has revealed Phyre, the Elder Kindred who will serve as the main playable character in Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2. To learn more, we had the chance to speak to narrative designer Arone Le Bray all about this vampire who was Embraced in the early 17th century.
Phyre is a character with a long history, but you will be able to customize them and choose their gender, clan, outfits, behavior, and so much more. You’ll have to think carefully, however, as your actions, meaning your conversations, what you wear, how you feed and/or treat Seattle’s populace, and more will have massive consequences on the world around you and how the story progresses.
As to what that world is, Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 takes place in Seattle in 2024 and sees Phyre waking up from a roughly 100-year slumber. They are an Elder Kindred, which means they’ve been undead for at least 300 years but now have a big gap in their knowledge.
Phyre may have a long and storied history that you will learn about throughout the game, but they are now in a world that has very much changed since they last remembered it. While that seems like a major disadvantage, she is not alone on this journey as there is a mysterious companion that will join her.
For reasons that are currently unclear, Phyre is inhabited by a thinblood vampire from modern-day Seattle named Fabien, and he knows things Phyre doesn’t and is a voice they can listen to, ignore, anger, etc. Much like Phyre can change the world around them with their decisions, so too can they shape their relationship with Fabien. Oh, and Phyre is the only one who can hear Fabien or knows that he is there.
This, according to Le Bray, will also be helpful to players, especially those who don’t know any of Vampire: The Masquerade’s expansive lore, as Fabien will help teach them about the world as he is teaching Phyre.
“Even if you don’t understand much of what is going on at the beginning, Fabien is here to help be that cipher for you a little bit, even though it’s not your character,” Le Bray said. “You, as the player, are still getting that information alongside Phyre.”
Phyre and Fabien’s journey will be an unpredictable one, but the choices you make won’t be so light side or dark side or, like in the universe of Mass Effect, paragon or renegade. You will be able to flow through the game in a way you want your Phyre to act, and won’t be shoehorned into a binary good or evil playthrough.
“We didn’t want it to feel like you can only be a nice person or a jerk,” Le Brey said. “So, one of the things that we looked at very early on is how can we make it feel like Phyre is a person in control from moment to moment? And we looked at what different responses you would have at a particular moment to still get the outcome that you want? How can you go about getting that outcome? And just because I might want one outcome, another player who’s playing Phyre might not want that same outcome, or they might not care about acting the same way that mine does.”
There will be choices you make in the world, but also about Phyre’s history. As we mentioned, they’ve been alive for hundreds of years and many of the inhabitants of Seattle know the “legend of Phyre.” However, you can help shape that legend by confirming, denying, or not commenting on the so-called deeds of your past, especially if it helps get what you want.
One of the most interesting aspects of Bloodlines 2 is that it does take place in the “real world,” albeit one with vampire and all that good stuff. In the videos introducting Phyre, we see her talking to a woman named Lou. If you are familiar with Seattle history, you will recognize her as Lou Graham from the 1800s.
In our history, Lou was the madame of a brothel in the city and was one of the wealthiest and influential citiizens of Seattle until she passed away in 1905. So, why is she showing up in 2024 in Bloodlines 2? Well, finding that out will be some of the fun the game, which is blending real life with fiction.
“That is one of the fun things about Vampire: The Masquerade – the real world elements and sort of looking at, well, what was the reason for that real world thing?” Le Bray said. “Did that thing happen because of history saying that it happened for this reason? Or was there an alternate reason why such a thing happened, especially in Seattle. I mean, Lou showed up at a very turbulent time in the history, so was there anything there that maybe was Kindred-related or was this all mortal? How much did those two worlds impact and meld and what does that mean for Phyre now? That’s where a lot of that fun is.”
And that is only the tip of the iceberg that is Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2, and the next item on the list for The Chinese Room to dive deep into will be the clans. Until then, be sure to check out the news that we will be getting a gameplay reveal of Bloodlines 2 in January 2024 and a release date in Fall 2024.
Bloodlines 2 is the sequel to the original game for 2004 and the official description will give fans just a bit more as to what to expect from this bloody adventure.
“Bloodlines 2 takes players to the dark underbelly of Seattle, where vampires struggle for survival and supremacy,” the official description reads. “As an Elder vampire, players meet compelling characters, maneuver complex political relationships, stalk the city streets for prey, and engage in intense combat while balancing the need for blood.
“Throughout the game, players must always be mindful of their surroundings or risk breaking the Masquerade – the absolute law of secrecy that keeps vampire society hidden from humanity.”
Adam Bankhurst is a news writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @AdamBankhurst and on Twitch.
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Author: Adam Bankhurst