Watch the Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 gameplay reveal

I still sometimes have a hard time believing that Bloodlines 2 is actually happening. It's like finding out that Santa is real, or that I don't have to pay taxes anymore. But it really is, and at the PC Gaming Show today, show sponsor Epic Games brought out developer Hardsuit Labs to show us the first video of actual gameplay and speak a bit about what's coming in our return to the World of Darkness. 

Bloodlines 2 promises the same narrative style as the first game, with new systems intended to deepen the experience of being a vampire. One of the more interesting is called "resonance," which is basically a way of describing the emotional qualities found in blood. Vampires don't feel emotion like humans, so resonance is a bit like flavor, except that it also grants short-term buffs—and if you continue to feed on blood with the same resonance, alternate, presumably more powerful buffs will become accessible.   

"Vampires can see the emotional resonance of beings, like fear or desire, and they can feed on those people to feel the same thing," senior writer Cara Ellison explained on the stage. 

The writers are developing some interesting narrative twists and turns as well: Ellison is working on what she described as a "Vampire puberty quest line" that reflects all the detritus of their past human life that a vampire might have to deal with immediately after being turned. Remember Claudia in Interview With a Vampire, who was made a vampire as a little girl and so was trapped in that body for eternity? (Or somewhat less than that, as it turned out.) Kind of like that. 

The combat in the preview looked a little clunky, but it's also "pre-alpha" so that's to be expected. And the environments are spot-on: It's a shame we don't have Smiling Jack introducing us to our new life of death, but Seattle at night looks fantastic so far, and that dimly-lit, undead-sexy ambiance is going to play a huge part in making Bloodlines 2 work.

We also caught up with the writers backstage to ask even more questions about Bloodlines 2. Check out the video below.

Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 is expected to be out in 2020.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.