There are some games that seem to be stuck in a perpetual cycle of development hell, and Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 is one of those. Publisher Paradox Interactive has now announced that, while the game is still in development, developer Hardsuit Labs will no longer be leading this process. As such, Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 has been delayed to an unspecified date outside of 2021.
Paradox made the “hard decision” that Hardsuit Labs would no longer be leading the game’s development after realizing they wouldn’t be able to meet the publisher’s goals for the “ambitious project”. The new developer wasn’t mentioned, although Paradox did state in their latest financial report that they’ve already begun a “collaboration with a new studio partner to finish work on the game.” The result is the game has been delayed indefinitely and will not release in 2021 anymore. Preorders have also been closed for now, although there was no mention of what would happen to existing preorders.
The full statement was released on the publisher’s website, which then promptly crashed and was placed under maintenance. To counter this, they then put the statement on Twitter too, which you can read below:
In case you are unable to access the website, you can read the Bloodlines 2 Development Update right here. pic.twitter.com/kdTp5gpBJe
— Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 (@VtM_Bloodlines) February 23, 2021
Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 was initially announced in early 2019 and was followed by a flurry of faction reveals. Then things went a bit awry. A series of delays saw the game move away from its initial Q1 2020 release window to late 2020, before eventually shifting into 2021. Lead Narrative Designer Brian Mitsoda and Creative Director Ka’ai Cluney were then fired from the project and replaced with former Ubisoft consultant Alexandre Mandryka. Whether Mandryka is still involved in the project now Hardsuit Labs has been removed has not been clarified.
Curiously, Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 was far enough along to get announced preorder bonuses and a collector’s edition package revealed, so the shift to an entirely new developer seems odd in what appeared to be the final stretch of development.
Publisher Paradox Interactive stated 2020 was the best year in their history, but it didn’t quite go as well as planned. In addition to the chaos with Bloodlines 2, Empire of Sin proved to be a disappointment both in sales and the quality of the game. The team has since released several updates and will continue to “build on the game for the future” so that it can head “in the right direction.” They also cancelled an unannounced game and delayed other projects due to the effects of the Covid pandemic. Despite this, they saw “strong growth in revenue, profits and players,” mainly due to the success of PC strategy/RPG title Crusader Kings III. It remains to be seen if Bloodlines 2 will help them build on that in the future as they iron out some obvious development issues with the title.