Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines (opens in new tab) is one of those games that's remembered so fondly, it's easy to forget what a mess it was when it launched. Developer Troika wasn't able to rectify those issues because sales were not good, forcing it to lay off virtually all its employees before closing down a few months later. But the underlying game was so excellent that fans got involved, releasing unofficial patches (opens in new tab) that fix bugs and restore cut content.
As Jody explained earlier this year (opens in new tab), the Unofficial Patch is an essential part of playing the game—so essential, in fact, that Paradox, the publisher of the upcoming Bloodlines 2, tweeted an announcement of today's release of a new version.
We're thrilled to announce a new #VtMB fan patch by Wesp5 is now live! For those hungering for more, Wesp5 has developed VTMB Prelude - An episodic mod showing events leading up to the story of the original game.Grab them here 👇https://t.co/Zm1YW8HWMnhttps://t.co/giz3rHOgc2 pic.twitter.com/KQt2R8YXSROctober 30, 2019
"The Unofficial patch is a must for both new and long time fans of Bloodlines 1," it said. "Highlights in this update include Velvet's lap dance from the Clan Quest Mod and two unused musical pieces from the newly re-released Bloodlines 1 Official Soundtrack."
I love that modders are still finding ways to fix and improve a 15-year-old RPG, but what's even more interesting here is the release of Bloodlines Prelude 1 (opens in new tab). Developed by Werner Spahl, aka Unofficial Patch maker Wesp5, along with modders EntenSchreck and Hareishan, it's the first part of an episodic prequel that will lead into the events of the original game. The opening chapter casts the player as a human member of the Society of Leopold, an ancient organization dedicated to hunting and killing supernatural creatures; Wesp5 said that players will be vampires through the rest of the prequel chapters.
I haven't tried the prequel chapter myself, but a couple of people in the comments said they liked it, so that's not a bad place to start. Wesp5 said that the mod makers are currently working on the second chapter of the prequel, and in case there's any doubt, you must have the Unofficial Patch installed to play the prequel—but you should be using it anyway if you're playing Bloodlines.
It's cool to see Paradox and Hardsuit getting behind the Unofficial Patch and prequel, and a real feather in Wesp5's cap, but there may be a practical angle to that endorsement too: Bloodlines 2 was initially slated for release in early 2020, but was recently delayed (opens in new tab) to an unspecified time later in the year.