When developer Hardsuit Labs delayed Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 to 2021 about a week ago, the company also mentioned it had "organisational changes" to share that would help them achieve their goal of finally launching the game in 2021.
Those organizational changes have now been unveiled in a short statement available on the official Bloodlines 2 website: Both Lead Writer Brian Mitsoda and Creative Director Ka’ai Cluney are no longer working part of the team at Hardsuit Labs. The statement further says that this was "a joint decision made by the leadership of Hardsuit Labs and Paradox Interactive".
Speaking to Rock Paper Shotgun via email, Mitsoda, who was the lead writer on the original Bloodlines at Troika Games, puts it more bluntly, saying he has been "suddenly terminated" on July 16, and that "this came to [him] as a shock would be underselling it". As someone prominently involved in the development of the first game in the series, Mitsoda was heavily featured in its promotion, including numerous interviews. "I lent my legacy with the franchise, my name, and my participation in marketing efforts for the game, even when it was intensely difficult and took a mental and physical toll. This is all because I wanted to do what was best for the game and the team," he says.
Mitsoda further states that he wasn't made aware of the reasons for the repeated delays of the game, saying "I was not part of the conversations that led to the decision to delay production, and to my knowledge, there were no delays caused by the Bloodlines 2 narrative development."
Hardsuit Labs has appointed game design consultant Alexandre Mandryka, who has worked on titles such as Assassin's Creed and Far Cry as creative consultant, to fill the Creative Director role. Fan reactions on social media are subdued—after several delays, the loss of two developers integral to the project speaks of trouble at Hardsuit Labs. Especially the way Mitsoda and Ka'ai were let go doesn't inspire confidence, even when the changes don't sound like there is a massive overhaul in the works.