This was probably inevitable given the less-than-spectacular player numbers but even so it's incredibly disappointing: Sharkmob has announced that there will be no further development of its World of Darkness battle royale Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodhunt.
"Ever since launch, we have been on a journey to excite and delight our players, however, while we have an amazing and very engaged community, we haven’t been able to reach the critical mass needed to sustain development," the studio said today. "This has led us to the decision to stop further development of Bloodhunt."
The good news is that Sharkmob intends to keep the servers online "for as long as we have an active player base and community," and it's making changes to help keep the game interesting for players, including a new in-game voting system "to regularly unlock new things and keep Bloodhunt fresh." Details on what exactly that means that will be announced ahead of the release of Bloodhunts's next patch, which—aside from necessary bits of maintenance—will be its last.
Real-money purchases are expected to be switched off on September 26, and in lieu of that Sharkmob will make tokens easier to earn through gameplay, so players can continue to pick up cosmetics.
To be blunt, this sucks. I'm not a battle royale guy but I started playing Bloodhunt on a whim very recently, and it's really good, both as a battle royale and, more surprisingly, a Vampire: The Masquerade game. The guns are meaty and well-balanced, mobility is smooth, fast, and easy, and the various vampire classes support distinctly different, but not dominating, styles of gameplay. Maybe best of all, Bloodhunt keeps things simple and doesn't get bogged down in a lot of extraneous "gameplay": You're a vampire, you're out to kill some other vampires, and that is it.
On the story side, obviously it's not the second coming of Bloodlines but there's enough lore in the streets and NPC politicking in the Elysium hub area to make for an interesting and engaging narrative—for those who are into that sort of thing, anyway. (I am, and it's a bummer that we're not going to see how the power struggle between Em and Kirill shakes out.) The Old Town district of Prague is a great setting too, very much the kind of place you'd expect vampires with AK47s to be running around in after after dark.
We have an important announcement concerning the future development of Bloodhunt. Please read the full announcement by clicking this link: https://t.co/ooyaJ33vN7 pic.twitter.com/vNfMqghMTgMay 15, 2023
Unfortunately, as good as it is, Bloodhunt was late to a party already dominated by a few big players—Fortnite, Apex, PUBG—and despite a strong start and early hope that it would stick around for a good while, its player numbers tailed off precipitously. It's great that the servers will remain online but without active development and the prospect for new classes, characters, weapons, and other meaningful updates, I suspect that the current playerbase will drift away fairly quickly—another mildly successful multiplayer game brought low by the scourge of live service.