Having previously been delayed into the latter half of this year, Paradox has now postponed Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 out of 2021. More damning, however, is news that developer Hardsuit Labs has been taken off the project.
Speaking in an end-of-year earnings report, Paradox CEO Ebba Ljungerud revealed that the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has caused the publisher to delay several "planned but not communicated" releases within 2021. But Bloodlines 2 was given particular attention—not only has it been pushed out of this year, but it now appears an entirely new team will be concluding development.
"We have also decided that Hardsuit Labs will no longer be leading the development of Bloodlines 2, and we have started a collaboration with a new studio partner to finish work on the game. This has been a difficult decision, but we are convinced that it is the right way forward to do the game justice."
Subsequent to the announcement, Epic announced it would stop taking pre-orders because the game has been "delayed indefinitely."
Bloodlines 2 has been stricken with setback after setback. Lead writer Brian Mitsoda was suddenly fired alongside creative director Ka’ai Cluney a week after the game's delay into 2021. A few months later, senior narrative designer Cara Ellison left the Bloodlines team. These all occurred a year after a half-hour Gamescom demo that, while noticeably rough in spots, still showed plenty of promise.
Development at Hardsuit seemed troubled, then. But to remove an entire studio from a project comes as shocking news, and leaves the long-suffering vampire sequel in an extremely precarious spot. Paradox hasn't revealed who'll be carrying the game over the finish line, but hopefully the new studio can deliver a Bloodlines 2 that isn't too scarred from its tortured development.