Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we return to our annual tradition: a series on a horror-themed game. This year we look at 2004's Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines, the last game from RPG developer Troika. We set the game in its time (and its crowded month) and talk about its license, how that compares with D&D in particular, and the opening moments of the game. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.
Into Santa Monica
Issues covered: our interview with Glenn Corpes, 2004 and especially November of that year, stiff competition, shipping on an untested engine, what engine support one can expect, the costs of building your own engine, delays in engine/game development, shipping Steam at the same time, why Valve isn't more of an engine company, founding and fall of Troika, the studio's earlier games, the full implementation of D&D 3.5, save-scumming through a final battle, the consolidation of RPGs under Microsoft Game Studios, southern California game developers, a differing style of tabletop RPG, lesser emphasis on statistics, heavier melodrama with more role-play focus, politics and diplomacy, ending the world of White Wolf, a modern setting, vampires living among us, "classic" settings in D&D, Dark Sun/Eberron side settings, a question of being less timeless, tying into a very specific aesthetic and time and place, anti-heroic settings and edginess, the Storyteller System, mission goals for small numbers of XP rather than around skill uses and cleverness, cinematic combat in tabletop, focus on intrigue, Greyhawk/The Forgotten Realms, timelessness in settings, the White Wolf MMO, the options for character creation, multiple-choice questions, vampire clans/archetypes, dancing around what we were picking, ending as Nosferatu, vampires as an analogy for disease, being staked and stunned, a big world-building moment, Camarilla vs Sabbat, a theater of the undead, the niche nature of the World of Darkness, not necessarily wanting to pick a Nosferatu, possibly feeling like a different game based on clan, the horror of becoming like Tim, designing a question system for RPG character creation, tournament selection and classes, points-based questions and answers, attributes: physical/social/mental, abilities: talents/skills/knowledges, feats as combinations of attributes and abilities, vampire magic as disciplines, experience points as skill trees purchases, not being able to have it all, the high quality of Smiling Jack as a focus and as a world-builder, various skills to introduce, learning powers and having multiple tutorial paths based on clan, simple passive tutorializations, watching a loop of the TV or listening to the radio, how much we both love LA.
Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Glenn Corpes, Populous, Kotaku Splitscreen, LucasArts, KotOR 2, Doom 3, Fable, Sly 2, Spider-Man 2, Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal, Jak 3, Pikmin 2, Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, Beyond Divinity, Baldur's Gate 3, Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault, Everquest II, World of Warcraft, Half-Life 2, Halo 2, Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Counterstrike (Source), Legend of Zelda: Minish Cap, Rollercoaster Tycoon 3, Bejewelled 2, Epic, Unreal, Valve, Respawn, id Software, Deus Ex, Troika, Tim Cain, Leonard Boyarsky, Fallout (series), Interplay, Jason Anderson, Temple of Elemental Evil, Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura, Bethesda Game Studios, TES V: Skyrim, Andrew Meggs, Shadowrun, Dungeons & Dragons, Obsidian Entertainment, The Outer Worlds, inXile, Wasteland 2, Brian Fargo, The Bard's Tale, The Village of Hommlet, White Wolf, John Stafford, Crystal Dynamics, Call of Cthulhu, Werewolf: The Apocalypse, Mage: The Ascension, Wraith: The Oblivion, Mummy: The Resurrection, Gary Gygax, Lord of the Rings, Anne Rice, Wizards of the Coast, Twilight (series), The Matrix, Ray Gresko, Richard Garfield, CCP, Ultima (series), What We Do in the Shadows, Nosferatu, System Shock 2, Ubisoft, Far Cry, Assassin's Creed, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Danny Trejo, Tom Cruise, Interview with the Vampire, AwwwwwYeeeaah, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers.
White Wolf Publishing became defunct in 2018. We were unaware, which may speak to its niche nature.
Nosferatu was 1922 and it is Count Orlok. Count Orloff/Orlov is a figure in Russian history.
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