The undead battle royale Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodhunt is "pretty darn fun to play (opens in new tab)," we said in our May assessment of the newcomer to the genre: "Guns are punchy and easy to aim, jumping, sliding, and wall-climbing are slick, and my class vampire powers feel immediately useful." But it's also struggled with a number of technical issues—in late May, for instance, developer Sharkmob hit pause on ranked mode because poor controller support meant PlayStation 5 owners were getting brutally wrecked (opens in new tab)—and the concurrent player count has tailed off (opens in new tab) considerably since its full release in April.
In an interview with VG247 (opens in new tab), producer David Sirland revealed some of the changes coming in the summer update that Sharkmob hopes will turn things around, including a move away from a conventional seasonal structure.
"When we launched the game, we did a 12-week standard season with a Battle Pass of 100 levels and similar value to other competitors out there," Sirland said. "We realized quite quickly into the season that we can't really sustain this as the team we are—and it's also hurting us because the content plan is essentially holding us back from making quicker gameplay updates faster, and fixing the key aspects of the game that our core players are screaming for in some cases."
Instead, the team is aiming to move to monthly content updates, and will address bug and gameplay fixes "continuously," separate from those updates. The battle pass is also being reduced in size and price: It sounds like the studio is still experimenting with ideas, as Sirland said developers are looking at options like releasing smaller battle passes on a more frequent basis.
A new 8v8 Team Deathmatch mode (opens in new tab) is also on the way. It's a fairly conventional mode for battle royale, but Sirland hopes it will help ease new and casual players into the game by giving them an opportunity to figure out how everything works without the risk of near-immediate death that's endemic to battle royales.
Sharkmob is also updating the game's internal systems to enable faster creation of content (opens in new tab) for player characters, and the promised improvements to controller support are still on the way too. The summer update will also disable crossplay by default, so PlayStation 5 owners will have a "safe space" to play in, unless and until they choose to cross swords with PC players.
Sirland said Sharkmob "sort of" knows how many people have the game installed but just aren't playing, and believes that these internal changes—and the faster response times they should enable—will convince them to jump back in.
"I don't really want this update to be like a boost of massive numbers of players, just for it to go down again," he said. "I'd rather have it be slowly, organically growing. I think that's where we want to be."
Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodhunt's big summer update is set to roll out on July 14.