Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 (opens in new tab) may be just a distant, fading dream, but that doesn't mean we have to live our lives deprived of undead fun. World of Darkness has announced the winners of the 2022 Vampire: The Masquerade game jam (opens in new tab), a competition between 28 games ranging from RPGs to dating sims, and you can play them all for free.
The first Vampire Jam was held by Itch.io (opens in new tab) to celebrate the announcement of Bloodlines 2, which came with much fanfare and excitement. Sadly, that hasn't worked out quite as well as we'd hoped, but the Vampire Jam has stuck around, and is now an officially sanctioned World of Darkness event.
The most recent Vampire Jam ran from October 30 to December 2, 2002, with three themes (opens in new tab) on the table: Love Among Monsters, Horrors Unbound, and The Hunt and the Hunted.
The winners of the 2022 Vampire Jam get $500 each, and more importantly can release and monetize their games royalty-free until September 2023 through the World of Darkness Unbound program. Developers will also get "release marketing and creative consultation" with the World of Darkness team, and promotion through World of Darkness social media channels.
Now the results are in:
- Sunset Chronicles: Sin City Blues – An isometric RPG set in Las Vegas where players begin as a completely fresh vampire, slowly carving a path in the dark world surrounding them.
- Rat Rhapsody - A twist on a dating sim theme where you play as a Nosferatu navigating Camarilla court, trying to form alliances to find out the truth behind your lover’s betrayal.
- Bitter Nights: Case of the Bleeding Hearts - Classic noir meets Vampire: The Masquerade in this crime story where you play as Malkavian investigator navigating the local politics and alliances to find the truth about the local serial killer.
Sunset Chronicles: Sin City Blues has obvious appeal as an RPG, and a Nosferatu playing politics has the potential for some very interesting storytelling. My favorite of the bunch, though, has to be Bitter Nights: Case of the Bleeding Hearts: A neo-noir Malkavian PI tale may be the best idea for a game I've heard in ages.
(For those not familiar with Vampire: The Masquerade lore, members of the Malkavian clan are uniquely perceptive and insightful, but also completely insane. Playing as a Malkavian in Bloodlines makes for a very interesting and surprisingly distinct experience (opens in new tab), and bringing that sort of gameplay to a series of grim, gritty murder mysteries could be brilliantly deranged.)
But these three aren't the only games to emerge from the 2022 Vampire Jam: There were 28 entries in all, and some of the runners-up look very interesting in their own right, including The Outsider, Vampire Frenzy: Riding the Wave, Friday Night Speeddate, and Barbedlands—Genepil. Lots to do, in other words—you can see them all at Itch.io's Vampire: The Masquerade Jam 2022 page (opens in new tab).