Tim Cain reveals proposed sequels to Vampire – Bloodlines: 'We were planning a trilogy, which I forgot'

Games industry veteran Tim Cain, the creator of Fallout and co-founder of Troika Games, has a YouTube channel where he reveals never-before-seen RPG history. It's a regular source of fascinating info for those of us who love the games he's worked on, and one of his previous videos discussed Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines' cut multiplayer component. In that video, Cain explained he joined Bloodlines late, as a programmer who was mostly responsible for boss AI. That means we have him to thank and/or blame for the fights against the wereshark hengeyokai and the Sheriff. 

More recently, Cain dug out two design documents for proposed sequels to Bloodlines, both of which would have continued the story of the first game's protagonist and followed directly from where Bloodlines ended—one of the endings where you don't die, that is.

"The two documents I found for sequels are dated around the time I came on in late fall, 2003," Cain says. "I'm pretty sure these were done by request, that Activision said, 'Hey, when you finish, what do you think you'll do afterwards?' Both of the design documents are unfinished."

The first describes a game subtitled Exodus, which would have built on the idea of Gehenna—a vampiric apocalypse scenario brought on by the rise of thin bloods and climaxing in the return of the original vampire, Caine. "In Exodus you are basically escaping from what you just did in Bloodlines in Los Angeles," Cain says, "but you're not the only one who are escaping. Apparently Gehenna is coming and a lot of vampires are trying to get out. You go to Barstow because, yeah, that's where vampires would be least likely to go, and not only are you being pursued, but there are already some vampires in Barstow, so it's a question of whether or not they will help you or hurt you. But Barstow is where the whole game takes place."

The Exodus proposal also mentions a third game with the subtitle Final Nights, which would scale things back up again from the smaller location of Barstow to Las Vegas. It seems like the mention of Final Nights is pretty vague, and all Cain says about it is, "I believe Gehenna is about to happen."

The other proposal calls the sequel Bloodhunt, which did eventually get used as the name for the surprisingly decent battle royale. Troika's Bloodhunt sounds a lot like Exodus, as Cain describes it, dealing with the fallout of Bloodlines' finale and at least beginning in Barstow. "You're trying to get to Las Vegas and you've sent your ghouls ahead of you. They didn't get to Vegas. You make it to a truck stop outside Barstow where you are attacked by a lot of the clans in Vegas, all the ones that you made angry. So that one only had designed the first act, so maybe it would go on to Vegas later."

Though the document contains "some storyline" and suggestions regarding mechanics, it's light on details since it dates from a year before Bloodlines was even released, and the developers "wanted to see what resonated from Bloodlines" before making their minds up about what to focus on. "Both of these are very vague, but I think it's interesting that we made two different proposals and they're both in Barstow, but we had already started thinking about a sequel to the sequel, so we were already thinking of it in terms of a trilogy."

Three vampires of different kinds

(Image credit: Activision)

Wonderful as it would be to inhabit an alternate timeline where Troika survived and got to make two more Bloodlines games, and maybe Arcanum 2: Journey to the Centre of Arcanum as well, Cain isn't upset that didn't come to pass. "Too bad it didn't get made," he says, "but I like to think of what Dr. Seuss said, which is 'Don't be sad it's over; be happy it happened.' I'm paraphrasing. And that's my attitude on this." The quote actually comes from a German poet, but the sentiment remains valid. It's best to be sanguine about things like this, especially when vampires are involved.

Meanwhile, we're still waiting for more news about the version of Bloodlines 2 that Paradox announced in 2019. Original developer Hardsuit Labs was removed from the project in 2021. While work has continued under another, as-yet-unnamed studio, there's no guarantee whatever eventually releases will resemble Hardsuit's vision, which would have been set in Seattle and feature a new protagonist—though at least one NPC from the original was set to return.

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, Five Out of Ten Magazine, and Playboy.com, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.