I think it’s fair to say Vampyr was easily the most anticipated game at the What’s Next de Focus event this year. While I was hoping to get a feel of the combat system, Dontnod (the developers of Vampyr) had other ideas… Unfortunately, there wasn’t a playable build of Vampyr at this event. That’s not to say we didn’t learn some new information, but, you know, it sure would’ve been nice to test out some vampire powers.
Set in London in the early 20th-century, players will take control of Dr. Acul-, I mean, Jonathan E. Reid, a physician-turned-vampire. You’ll need blood in order to survive, but you are also a doctor (a proper one at that, one that swore by the Hippocratic Oath no less). Life isn’t easy for Jonathan, and it’s even worse for the London citizens whose lives have been crippled by violence and disease. As you can imagine, life as a doctor/vampire in this setting is a bit like being on a diet while working at a chocolate factory.
After accepting his fate as a vampire, Jonathan discovers vampires have been in England for centuries. These vampires can become your friend or foe, as it is up to the player whether they choose to side with their new ‘vampiric’ family or not. In addition to vampires, players will have to look out for a primitive and dangerous creature known as ‘Skals’. The Skals look a lot like crazy humans in the eyes of their victims; they typically hide in quarantined zones and underground. Fortunately for the citizens of London (and unfortunately for Jonathan), Vampire Hunters roam the streets in order to protect people from vampires. Relying on their weaponry and teamplay, players will have to take on the Vampire Hunters in a different way compared to the Skals.
Vampyr will feature sixty-six citizens, each with their own stories and occupations. Whether you speak to nurses, journalists, doctors, creatures, police officers or even prostitutes, Dontnod have included a wide variety of people for Jonathan to interact with. You’ll be able to dig through their personal lives and discover their most intimate secrets using Jonathan’s vampire abilities, or you can do it the old-fashioned way, by reading newspapers and private diaries.
Speaking of decisions, Dontnod have stated they want players to feel responsible for their actions and deal with the consequences. An example of this comes from two citizens: Tom and Sabrina. Tom is a big, tough guy with a shady past. He doesn’t seem to be a bad guy as he intentionally leaves his bar open late for the general public. Sabrina is a perceptive waitress who helps Tom run his bar in a difficult part of town. Both Tom and Sabrina have secrets about the town and about each other, but keeping their mouths shut is part of the job. There will be a point in Vampyr where you can choose to feed on either of these characters. Feeding on Tom will mean Sabrina inherits the bar, and if you feed on Sabrina, Tom will begin to reveal information on his past and several people who attend his bar. Feeding on Sabrina also leads to Tom closing the bar, making life difficult for the surviving locals. You also have the option of feeding on both Tom and Sabrina, forcing the bar to close immediately.
I expect to see several tough choices like this throughout the game, and if Life is Strange is anything to go by, these choices will certainly mean life or death for some characters. Keep in mind that Vampyr is planned to have four different endings, including a special ending which can only be seen if you manage to finish the game without killing a single person. We’ve been told that this is a difficult task, but we are sure someone will end up doing it… so expect to see that ending on YouTube within a week of the game’s launch.
Vampyr is set to release during Q4 2017 for PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4.