Hi PlayStation Blog readers! Philippe Moreau here, Game Director on Vampyr, the new RPG from Dontnod Entertainment, the studio behind Life is Strange!
I’m here today to give you a brief overview of where we’re going with our new game, and answer some questions that you might have! Let’s start!
What can you tell us about the gameplay of Vampyr?
Vampyr is an action RPG with tight, visceral combat mechanics, exploration, and investigation – you’ll have to collect many clues, and talk to many people as you prowl the streets of London.
With the use of vampiric powers – as you’d expect! – and authentic ‘make-shift’ weapons, such as a saw (our protagonist is a surgeon, after all!) you’ll be fighting both mythical terrors and human foes.
You’ll also be able to make use of different ranged weapons, and there’s more to the combat, but we’re not ready to reveal that yet.
One of the most interesting things is that everyone you meet in Vampyr could be a target, if you want. But each kill will have consequences on the fragile streets of London. You’ll both see those consequences, and feel them. They’ll have an effect on the story, often immediately, and in the long-run. Vampires have to eat, after-all. But as the saying goes, ‘you are what you eat’ – at least, in Reid’s mind. He’s a very human vampire… at least, he hasn’t forgotten where he came from. Do not think that makes him ‘good’, though. You’ll see.
Why base a vampire game on the 1918 London Spanish Flu epidemic?
We wanted to tell a truly gothic story about vampires – a far cry from the glittery vampires you see on TV and in movies nowadays. The mood had to be just right.
England was recovering from the aftermath of the World War I, and the Spanish Flu was making its way through London’s winding alleys. The streets were rife with death and crime, but England was also going through many social and political changes, as new sciences sought to re-envision the way we see the world. Superstition was becoming less socially relevant, but it was still in the streets, folklore, and politics of London, so science was on the rise, but the world was still a dark, scary place. Especially the smoggy, smokey, war-torn streets of London.
Who is Jonathan Reid, the game’s protagonist?
Now, this really ties in well with the first question. Reid was a doctor in the war – he’s a scientist, specialising in blood. Familiar with a new blood transfusion technique used in the war, Reid is quite the skeptic of all things supernatural, so as you can imagine he’s finding it rather difficult to come to terms with his new… condition.
A rational man, Reid wants to come to terms with vampirism – he wants to understand it. Basically, he wants to treat it as a medical condition, but as you play through the story and meet many of the characters in the game, you’ll discover that things are much more… organised, or deliberate, than that.
How are we faithfully recreating London in this period in history?
We researched the events surrounding the catastrophic flu endured by London in 1918, but also research about the medical and scientific enlightenment of this period.
The authorities in London barely managed to handle the epidemic, since they were recovering from the trials of the Great War, and didn’t want to communicate too much on the flu to London’s populace to reduce panic, and manage people.
This grim vision of London is presented in hundreds of historical documents and visual accounts of the flu, each darker than those before it. But for the streets, architecture and feeling of London, there are many factual but also fictional references that are fantastic visual reference pieces.
What role does player choice have in Vampyr?
Killing innocent people is unfortunately the price of immortality. Besides, in the eyes of a vampire, how do you define innocent? You’ll have to kill people, that’s for sure… but how do you decide who? The information you gather, the things that you see, and the relationships your nurture will all define your decisions. But you will have to feed. You cannot escape that you are a vampire.
I hope this short Q&A has piqued your curiosity, and if you want some more info do not hesitate to visit our website! We’re working on the first in-game assets so stay tuned, there will be more coming your way very soon !