The Chinese Room promises Bloodlines 2’s voiced protagonist won’t suck

Vampire The Masquerade Bloodlines 2 has a fully voiced character, and its narrative designer has explained that divisive decision.

Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2's Phyre as a female character, looking sternly out of the screen.

Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 is finally happening after a very troubled development, which is something of a surprise. But the biggest shock from last night’s reveal is that the main character is going to fully voiced. Developer The Chinese Room has explained what could prove to be a contentious decision.

If there was any doubt that the blood-sucking RPG gameVampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2, was on track to a 2024 release, last night’s ‘Narrative & RPG’ stream cleared things up. Mostly.

Given the game’s troubled history, there’s that tiny, tiny sliver of worry that it’s going to be taken out of developer The Chinese Room’s hands and given to some other team. But I’ve got my suspiciously pale fingers crossed.

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The stream also revealed that protagonist Phyre will be fully voiced, which wasn’t the case with the original Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines. It’s a move that’s already causing a stir but, speaking to PC Gamer, The Chinese Room explained the decision.

According to The Chinese Room’s Arone Le Bray, narrative designer on the game, the team made the decision because, “It draws the players in that much more, at least in my opinion.”

In the interview, Le Bray also reassures would-be players that, thanks to internal playtesting (and heavy discussion), there’s not going to be a situation where, as in Mass Effect, a single, relatively innocuous dialogue decision results in you punching someone in the face. In subsequent Mass Effect games, that dialogue option became something of a running gag, albeit a faintly disturbing one. So as far as Bloodlines 2 goes, you’ll be able to say “Hello” to someone, without tearing their throat out.

And, listening to Phyre speak in last night’s trailer, I’m not particularly put out by the character being voiced. Though half of my brain was yelling, “Hey, that’s Diana from Hitman!”, at Jane Perry’s character.

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The quality of a game’s script and the performances are also a factor in determining how well having a voiced protagonist actually works. I didn’t mind Cyberpunk 2077’s V having a voice because, for the most part, I could get behind her stance (or adapt it to my own). It was her life on the line, after all.

Fallout 4, on the other hand, had the Sole Survivor swearing vengeance on the people who took their child when I just didn’t care. There was big disconnect there because I’d spent all of two minutes with the kid, and hearing that dialogue voiced only made it worse.

The proof of the blood pudding is in the tasting, as the saying probably goes. Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 is currently set for a 2024 release and you can read the full interview over at PC Gamer.

If you’re after a vampiric adventure that you can play now, here’s our list of the best vampire games on PC. Or if you’d prefer to mow down some bloodsuckers, here’s how you unlock the secret characters in Vampire Survivors, Poncle’s BAFTA-winning bullet hell.