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.
“We appreciate, and value, the contributions of Brian and Ka’ai, which were instrumental in establishing the game’s storyline and dark tone and have helped to ensure that we are making a true successor to the iconic Bloodlines”, Paradox and Hardsuit’s statement continued. “We wish them both the best in their future endeavours.”
Mitsoda, notably, served as designer and writer on the original Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines and his involvement in the sequel has helped lend credibility to the project among long-time fans. The developer has now addressed the events of July, in which his role at Hardsuit was “suddenly terminated”, in a lengthy statement provided to Rock Paper Shotgun.
“That this came as a shock to me is underselling it,” he wrote, “I’ve worked on Bloodlines 2 for almost five years. The story and main cast was initially conceived in my living room. I helped develop the pitch for Hardsuit Labs and helped pitch the project to Paradox in Las Vegas. I’ve been in charge of the narrative since the beginning, working long days and sometimes weekends to deliver a successor to Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines, and I’ve never been led to believe that I hadn’t succeeded.”
Mitsoda says he is “incredibly disappointed and frustrated to say that this is where it ends for me on the project” and notes that he “was not part of the conversations” that led to Bloodlines 2’s recent – and second – delay. “To my knowledge,” he writes, “there were no delays caused by the Bloodlines 2 narrative development. I am confident and proud of the work that I and my team put forward. When that work will be seen and what form it will take is unknown to me.”
“It’s meant a lot to hear from the Bloodlines community and I do hope that what’s finally delivered is as satisfying as I intended it to be,” Mitsoda concludes, “Thanks to all of you who supported me throughout the project.”