We’ve seen some good trailers and gameplay for Vampyr, the upcoming vampire action-RPG from developer DONTNOD Entertainment.
Over the past handful of weeks, a series of new videos have been released looking at various aspects of the game. The first video looks at the character you play as, a doctor named Jonathan Reid who is newly turned into a vampire, as well as some of the monsters created for the game. The second video looks at some of the locations you visit in London, and also the music of the game. The third focuses on the approach to making significant NPCs, and how they and the story can be impacted when you choose to feed on one of them—which is not only important to the character as a vampire, but important to you the player as it’s how you gain XP. Finally, the fourth video explores what makes video games a unique storytelling medium.
You can check out all of the new Vampyr videos below.
Vampyr is currently scheduled for a June 5th release.
In Episode I: Making Monsters, DONTNOD gives more information about Jonathan Reid, the doctor-turned-vampire that players will step into the shoes of in Vampyr. Freshly turned, Reid’s ‘condition’ unveils a dark new reality, thrusting him into a once-hidden society of wretched creatures like himself. Ancient Ekons plot from the shadows, terrifying Vulkods prowl the streets at night, and cursed Skals hide in the darkest places of the city.
Vampyr is set in 1918 London, with the city weakened by the recent World War I and ravaged by the Spanish Flu. This setting makes up an important part of Vampyr’s identity. DONTNOD will make players feel the duality that torments Dr. Jonathan Reid, giving them the freedom to choose who to sacrifice and who to save. Every killing has consequences, and it’s up to players to balance their need to feed and grow stronger, with the rapidly deteriorating city of London.
In Episode 2: Architects of the Obscure, DONTNOD reveals the areas of London that you will explore and impact during your time in Vampyr. Each of the four districts have their own distinct style and groups of citizens, which can flourish or perish depending on your actions. Whitechapel and the Docks are ravaged by poverty and crime, while the West End benefits from a wealthier population – and is the district of choice for Ekons plotting in the shadows. Pembroke Hospital gives Dr. Reid the opportunity to put his medicinal skills to great effect, while tempting the doctor-turned-vampire with helpless citizens that hold him in a position of trust.
This latest episode also introduces the music of Vampyr, including insight from composer Olivier Deriviere. He discusses how he developed the game’s original score with consideration for its unique setting and atmosphere, as well as how the inner dilemma Jonathan faces translates into the music. Eric-Maria Couturier, of the Paris Ensemble InterContemporain, drives Vampyr’s soundtrack as solo celloist, and here offers an exclusive performance that showcases his unique style.
In Episode III: Human After All, DONTNOD reveals how integral each districts citizens are, both in terms of gameplay and narrative. Players will need to gain XP for Jonathan Reid to evolve new powers and grow stronger, but the most lucrative way to earn this is not through quests or defeating enemies in battle. Instead, the most effective way to get stronger is by killing and feeding on the various citizens living within the game’s four districts. Players are able to increase the XP from each citizen, by curing their illnesses and gaining more insight into their lives and emotions – but the price can be immense.
As explained by Stéphane Beauverger, Vampyr’s narrative director, players will hear the dying thoughts of every citizen they choose to sacrifice. This gives a bittersweet poignancy to every death, as DONTNOD wants players to not consider these citizens as nameless blood bags. In addition, each dead citizen will erode the status of the district they belonged to, with too many resulting in the population evacuating districts and causing them to be overrun by Skals and worse.
In Episode IV: Stories from the Dark, DONTNOD explain what makes videogames unique compared to other storytelling mediums, as well as their signature approach to narrative. As Narrative Director Stéphane Beauverger explains, the player is often occupied with Vampyr’s intricate gameplay systems. Because of this, the exploration, investigations, citizen encounters, combat and hard-hitting choices are all fundamentally intertwined with the game’s narrative. Game Director Philippe Moreau elaborates, saying that the relationship between a player and their character, as well as the direct feeling of control, is unique to games and something he has worked to make special in Vampyr.
In doing so, DONTNOD liken it to theatre, creating a close relationship between actor and spectator that’s more effective and powerful than any film or TV show. Total immersion is the goal, and this episode also highlights how the studio has used motion capture to make the cast of Vampyr that much more human. Subtleties of facial animation can be recreated and combined with the fantastic music, characters, and creatures of the game to produce a living, breathing 1918 London. It’s then up to you who survives it.