Brian Mitsoda, a lead writer on the original Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, has been laid off from the development team working on Bloodlines 2, Hardsuit Labs and Paradox Interactive announced on the game’s website today. Creative director Ka’ai Cluney is also no longer working on the game as part of larger “organisational changes” to the development team.
“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,” the post reads. Filling in will be Alexandre Mandryka, previously a creative director at Ubisoft who left back in 2010 and eventually moved into consulting.
“These changes to the team are focused on one thing: to bring you the best possible Vampire: The Masquerade game,” Hardsuit Labs and Paradox wrote. “We will share further updates as they occur.” Mitsoda played a major role in writing and designing the first Bloodlines, a 2004 action-RPG cult-classic about warring factions of vampires, werewolves, and other demonic creatures, and his constant presence on the sequel’s promotional campaign helped give the new project credibility with fans of the original.
In a statement to Rock Paper Shotgun, Mitsoda said his termination from the project, which according to him occurred just over a month ago on July 16, “came as a shock.” “I’ve worked on Bloodlines 2 for almost five years,” he told the site. “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.”
Last week Hardsuit Labs and Paradox announced that Bloodlines 2, one of the game’s featured in Microsoft’s next-gen Xbox Series X showcase earlier this year, would have its release delayed out of this year and into 2021. “Due to the quality bar and ambitions we have set for ourselves, we have made the difficult decisions that we need more time,” they said at the time. But this was apparently news to Mitsoda, who told Rock Paper Shotgun he was unaware of the decision to delay the game before it was announced.
“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,” he said in his statement. “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.”
Paradox Interactive did not immediately respond to a request for comment.