Vampire: The Maskerade – Swansong Interview – How Big Bad Wolf Tackled Paradox’s New Adaptation
A vampire has been getting a lot of love from video games in recent years. Visual novels and Bloodlines were some of the highlights. Nacon will be back later in the year with Vampire – Swansong.
Big Bad Wolf will be arriving on May 19 and promising a narrative-driven RPG where every decision has its consequences. I played three different vampires and had some memorable impressions. I also got to meet the developers at the same event.
I spoke directly to Eliott Hipeau, Tommaso Nuti, and Laure Delmas, three of their staff members. Hipeau was the lead quest designer, Nuti was the chief cinematic designer, and Delmas was the writer.
A Council Of Vampires
Hipeau and Delmas answered the question about how development started. After seeing the work of Big Bad Wolf on The Council and being inspired by pen-and-paper mechanics, Nacon decided to contact Big Bad Wolf to develop more VTM games.
Hipeau asked the team if they would like to be involved in VTM, and Hipeau said many of them were fans. Big Bad Wolf started looking at “how we could adapt the systems, the storytelling we had for The Council, and tilt it, pivot it, pick it up to make it Swansong.”
VTM’s gaming history, I asked my next question about Bloodlines. Hipeau answered my question about Swansong’s position against Bloodlines by saying that they have become experts at making dialogues and integrated ones based upon what they find in the environment, character sheets, and other information.
In my opinion, they tried to keep the focus on RPG elements via dialogue, branching off in different directions. Hipeau continued by highlighting gameplay differences, stating that many mechanics from Bloodlines weren’t included in Swansong. This includes combat. Swansong instead focuses on vampires and explores the various sects, clans. Allies, enemies, and other groups.
The preview was limited to Galeb, so I asked if the three vampires had any unique gameplay elements. Hipeau confirmed that the basic gameplay is the same, but because they are all from different clans, you will have other disciplines. These act as your skill tree.
He confirmed that Emem and Lisha use Auspex, Emem uses Celerity, and Galeb uses Dominate based on the board game. However, this goes beyond normal gameplay variations. Galeb, the oldest, is most affected by the Beaconing, while Lisha is unique in that she is afflicted with the Malkavian mental illness.
Vampires are not the only ones affected. After confirming that other species from World of Darkness would be appearing, I then questioned whether there might be a crossover with Werewolf – The Apocalypse. Despite having different developers, the two games share NaNacon’sublisher. Hipeau confirmed the appearance of another species but did not elaborate on who. Nuti, however, rules out any story-related crossovers with Earthblood.
Next, I wanted to know about the technical details of SwSwansong’seleases. After the Switch version was launched on all major platforms, my next question was how it would run. Hipeau could not confirm this and said it had been outsourced to an outside studio. However, he thinks it will usually look “p”etty comparable” “while Nuti joked that it would be in 2D.
S – when compared to PS4 and Xbox One – Hipeau tells me “I”dodon’telievethere’ss performance mode, and the game is aiming to run at 60fps and 1080p” “ut there “won’t be a lot of differences between the versions.” “e did, however, reveal that they would use the DuDualSense’sdaptive triggers for PS5 during blood-feeding segments.
A Proud Undertaking
Finally, I asked each developer what aspect of Swansong they were most proud of. Delmas (translated from Hipeau) said she was proud to “b” ing back a darker form of vampires,” moving away from the notion of “g” od vampires” “hat dodon’tant to eat humans. Hipeau describes Swansong as an “m”ture and violent, dark” versions of vampires.
Delmas said that she is delighted with how they have handled LeLeysha’sental illness portraying. It’s an integral part of the Malkavian chcharacter’sore, and she is happy with the storyline they have created around it. Hipeau revealed that Delmas was also a neuropsychologist. This made Hipeau and the team feel more confident telling LeLeysha’story. Hipeau wanted to approach the subject respectfully.
Nuti said that he was proud of such a small team (I believe it to be around 35 people plus some outsourcing). He told me, “I” you look at this game and its quantity, itit’sig product.” “e then spoke about the Covid-19 years, describing the teteam’schievements as outstanding.
Hipeau expressed his pride in the team and said that everyone still strives to improve quality even though it has been a long time. Hipeau noted that it could be tiring to work on the same thing for three consecutive years. He also stated that perfectionism could easily set in. HeHe’sleased with the diversity and coherence achieved in quest design.