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This new Steam RPG lets you therapize vampires, demo out now

Sometimes you see a game and go ‘that’s the one for me,’ and this unique new vampire therapy RPG is exactly what I’m looking for.

Artwork of an anguished vampire with his hand on his head.

Have you ever wondered if the bloodshed of Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines could have been avoided if Prince LaCroix, Ming Xiao, and Nines Rodriguez had sat down around a table and chatted it out? Sure, the Anarchs, Camarilla, and Kuei-jin are always at each others’ throats, but perhaps if they’d just take a moment to understand each other, hostilities could have been avoided. As a malevolent Malkavian, I can’t say this option crossed my mind (I don’t know if much did), but the upcoming indie from Little Bat Games, Vampire Therapist, has made me rethink my entire approach to immortal unlife.

You are Sam, a gunslinger with a hundred years of rootin’ and tootin’ behind you. But those days are over, high noon has been and gone – now, you’re looking to therapize your undead kin and try to iron out some of the myriad issues that haunt them (hence ‘Vampire Therapist’). But you’re not alone in your endeavor; by your side is the eloquent, well-dressed Andromachos, who acts as your guide when things get rough.

When I ask solo dev Cyrus Nemati what inspired this bizarre (yet absolutely brilliant) indie game, he laughs. “It comes from a kitchen conversation at my last job,” he says. “We were talking about vampires as a vertical that we knew people were interested in, and how there tends to be a ten-year cycle for vampires where they’re really hot, they cool down, then they get really hot again.” The perks of being undead, I guess.

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The idea of a vampire therapist, however, has origins in the ever-controversial Twilight. “Edward Cullen is playing the piano and he’s supposed to be really good. I’m a pianist, and so I know that what he’s doing isn’t that good, but we’re supposed to be impressed because it’s been 200 years. I was thinking, ‘if it has been 200 years, he should be playing like [Sergei] Rachmananoff,’ but that puts a lot of pressure on poor Edward Cullen – just because he’s been alive for 200 years, why should he be good at the piano?

“It really came from this idea of what kind of pressure an immortal being might feel to do more because, all of a sudden, the excuse of ‘I don’t have time’ is out the window.”

But it’s not just modern-day issues of leather, lace, and questionable piano playing that Sam is faced with. Some of the game’s cast – which includes characters played by Baldur’s Gate 3’s Matt Mercer and Hades 2’s Sarah Grayson – are thousands of years old and have seen history play out first-hand. “[Vampire Therapist] has a historical character, Isabella d’Este, known as the First Lady of the Renaissance. I’ve been working with her historian directly who translated over 20,000 of her letters – I read all of them in order to get this character’s voice right.” Another one of Sam’s patients has “internet issues,” which, given some vampires have been around for thousands of years, makes a lot of sense.

A cowboy stands in a dimly lit room talking to a gothic man and woman about wearing leather

The therapy itself isn’t a joke, though – on the game’s official Steam page, Nemati notes that Vampire Therapist  “explores sensitive and potentially triggering topics in a historical context, such as war, abuse, sexual oppression, and extremism.” I ask how Nemati strikes the balance between having fun while simultaneously dealing with sensitive subjects.

“Having supernatural characters automatically comes with a lot of comedy,” he tells me. “They turn into bats, they drink blood; the 3000-year-old mentor character Andromachos is talking about a situation where he has his vampire pals over, and at the end of the night they turn into bats and leave guano everywhere. I can just make jokes about the supernatural aspects, and then leave the human aspects alone.”

He has, however, worked with a therapist to craft the game’s narrative, noting that “it was a much harder game to write than I was expecting going into it, but I think [it’s now] a much better game.”

A notepad showing various explanations for different mental health issues

Vampire Therapist’s design reflects its introspective philosophy: there are no winners and losers here. There’s a singular narrative, no branching storylines, and no game-breaking choices – it’s all about making people better instead of tearing them down.

“The reason I didn’t want to have a true branching narrative is because it wouldn’t feel good to have a therapy game where you can fail,” he tells me. “There’s always a happy ending – the central core of this game is compassion. By having things fail, it would just feel wrong; you can just succeed better – I give you that option.”

And, of all the things we chat about, this is what puts a smile on my face. A lot of love has gone into this game, and Vampire Therapist’s authored approach retains nuance and doesn’t require obvious good and bad endings to reflect your moral choices. To have something that’s all about helping people and seeing them take flight (guano preferably not included) feels like a rarity, but that’s what Nemati’s created here.

A man in a cowboy outfit and a gothic woman with red hair and leather clothes stand in a dimly lit bar in front of a flowing red drinks cabinet

The Vampire Therapist release date is set for Tuesday June 18, but an all-new demo is available to try as part of Steam Next Fest right now. So, if you want to step into the dusty shoes of Sam and make a difference, you can dive in straight away.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for a little more blood, guts, and gore, we have a list of all the best vampire games for your perusal or, if you’re a Vampire: The Masquerade fan like me, here’s everything we know about the Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 release date – Seattle is calling.