|Publisher(s)||Focus Home Interactive|
|Engine||Unreal Engine 4|
|Release date(s)||November 2017|
- "Take Blood. Save a life."
Vampyr (stylized VAMPYR) is a multiplatform role-playing video game developed by DONTNOD Entertainment and Focus Home Interactive. Set after the First World War, Vamypr follows the story of doctor who becomes a vampire after he is bitten by a patient thought to have the Spanish Flu. Vamypr is scheduled for a November 2017 release for the PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
- "Acclaimed game-development studio Dontnod and publisher Focus Home Interactive are pleased to officially announce their partnership for the development of Vampyr, a new role-playing game powered by Unreal Engine 4 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. The studio behind Remember Me and Life is Strange unveils here a concept trailer for Vampyr, which sets the mood and universe of this new license, which promises to offer a unique, deeply immersive role-playing experience steeped in vampire mythology. Vampyr is set in early 20th century Britain as the country is gripped by the lethal Spanish flu and the streets of London are crippled by disease, violence and fear. In a disorganized and ghostly city, those foolish, desperate, or unlucky enough to walk the streets lay prey to Britain’s most elusive predators: the vampires. Emerging from the chaos, a tormented figure awakens. You are Jonathan E. Reid, a high-ranking military surgeon transformed into a vampire upon his return home from the frontline."
- —Press Release
- Jonathan E. Reid - Reid is a former medical surgeon who became a vampire. In the midst of the Spanish Flu, Reid lives in England and must choose whether or not to feed on the people he meets or befriends.
Jonathan Reid is a man returned home from the War. A high ranking surgeon, Reid implements new blood transfusion techniques to save lives. One night, Jonathan Reid regains consciousness in a mass gave. The memories of his life and who he is remain in intact, but, he realizes he's been transformed into a vampire. He has no recollection of how he came to be in the grave or how he was transformed.
When he attempts to return to a normal life, Reid quickly learns that he needs the blood of others to survive. As a doctor, sworn to save lives and heal people, Reid is faced with a damning reality of having to Kill to survive if he is to last long enough to uncover the mystery behind his turning.
Vampyr is a role-playing video game, not unlike DONTNOD's previous endeavors, Remember Me and Life Is Strange. The gameplay of Vampyr focuses on both player choice and morality. The "Y" in the name of the game represents the moral choices the player will make when controlling Reid. As a doctor, Reid "feels the need to heal people", however, the nature of vamprism compels Raid to consume blood. The tagline the game, "Take Blood, Save a Life", plays on the moral duality of the game's story.
Players will be able to traverse the streets of an early 20th century London and interact with "a multitude of characters with their own identities and importance". The structure of the gameplay is set up around "missions" given by the citizens Reid interacts with.
However, the player will be constantly reminded of Reid's need for blood. Players will have to choose which characters will be their prey and which characters to spare. Reid can establish relationships with the characters he meets for his feeding strategy, and "seduce them, change their daily habits, or make sure they end up alone in a dark street".
Killing a character means they cannot return and the consequences will play into the environment that Reid inhabits. Feeding on human blood will not just keep Reid “alive”, it will also unlock new vampiric powers for the player to use. Vampyr also features combat that occurs in real time. Combat varies, from melee combat, to ranged shooting mechanics and the supernatural vampire powers. Enemy types in the game vary from human to vampire to other supernatural creatures. Reid will also encounter vampire hunters who will attack him with situation weaponry, tools and traps.
Reid's health status and "energy" power his supernatural abilities. They are considered one and the same. Using powers will drain your own blood, giving Reid an edge in battle but also leaving him weaker. The player will have to find a way to feed during combat to restore your strength. Vampyr also offers a deep crafting system. Find and loot materials and components from the corpses of your victims, or during exploration, in order to craft and improve tools, melee and ranged weapons, as well as special ammunition and coating to exploit the weaknesses of your enemies.
Art director Grégory Szucs stated that the paintings of Phil Hale influenced the art style, also for the purpose of atmosphere. The art style and visuals would be impacted by lighting and post-processes running on the Unreal Engine 4.
November 2014, DONTNOD Entertainment announced it was searching for developers on the French jobs website, emploi.afjv.com. The chosen criteria was "an experienced game/level designer with a strong RPG/ARPG background to work on a new project for the consoles".
November 29, 2014, shortly after the announcement of Life Is Strange, gaming website, Gamespot.com announced that DONTNOD was collaborating with another publisher to create an RPG for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. January 20, 2015, DONTNOD officially announced their collaboration with Focus Home Interactive and the title of their next game, VAMPYR.
June 18, 2015, during 2015 Electronic Entertainment Expo, DONTNOD and Focus Home Interactive re-announced Vampyr. Focus Home Entertainment released a concept trailing using animated concept stills meant to represent the game, still in in the early stages of its development, alongside the name of the protagonist (John E. Reid) and a 2017 release date. The official website and social media websites were also launched.
February 2016, DONTNOD Entertainment began presenting the Pre-Alpha build of the game. During an event hosted by Focus Home Interactive, the pre-alpha demo presented was used to illustrate the supernatural skill set of the player character, his ability to leap great distances and control the "weak minded", and the overall environment of the game itself.
In at least one scenario during the demo, the city of White Chapel was set aflame as a consequence of player actions resulting the attack of too many people. Game director, Philippe Moreau, and Stéphane Beauverger placed emphasis on the fact death and murder was an important factor in Vampyr. "[...]it's not glamorous, says Beauverger. It's aggressive, with players killing quickly and with power suited to a damned being." The developer explained that it was their intention to tell an adult story with Vampyr and knew that the game would be rated M for Mature audiences.
June 8, 2017, Focus Home Interactive released a three minute "E3 Trailer" for Vampyr. Additionally, the game was announced for a November 2017 release with pre-orders and pre-order incentives ready for all platforms.
Theme and Setting
Narrative director, Stéphane Beauverger, described the story of Vampyr as "gothic". It would be a romanticized tale vampires without the element of romance, abstaining from established themes as seen in popular franchises like Stephanie Meyer's Twilight. As a story centered around that of a vampire, Vampyr would maintain dark, despair-filled and melancholy themes.
Vampyr is set in the 1800s, Whitechapel, England, following the First World War. Originally, DONTNOD considered placing the game's setting in 1950s America, during the "golden era" of American History. "Everybody was happy," Beauverger explained, "It was interesting to add some misery, some despair in this bright world."
However, by the time the they began considering potential weapons for the player character, the idea of placing it in 1950s America was soon scrapped. Looking back, DONTNOD settled on the year 1918, their interest piqued by the circumstances created by the repercussions of the First World War: Social unrest and the effects of pandemic.
Beauverger described the circumstances created by the First World War as "the end of the old empire[s]" and the beginning of a "brand new era". "Really, mankind is in the same situation as the vampire. You have so much power. What will you do with it? That's why the hero is on the verge of falling down, and so is mankind." The story of Vampyr centralizes on a tale of survival and morality, invoking established fiction such as Bram Stoker's Dracula, and Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles.
"A vampire is a doom creature," Beauverger says. "It's a human who has been condemned to live eternally, but he has to take lives, to kill, to survive. It's very interesting for us because it's one of the very rare creatures who is conscious of what he's doing." The focus of Vampyr is the evolution of Jonathan Reid's character as a vampire, which is reflected in both the narrative and the RPG elements of the game (skill tree upgrades and combat with other hunters and vampires).
His nature as a vampire is presented in a straightforward manner in gameplay, which directly impacts the narrative. Players will have the choice to make Reid feed on characters, or not feed at all. Game director, Philippe Moreau, states that players will never forced to feed on anyone. He says, "You can decide to feed on nobody, or to kill everyone. It's your experience. [...]The death of a citizen will impact, in a meaningful way, the game's world. It will change the story". How players choose to deal with killing will directly impact the environment of the story.
According to DONTNOD, the art direction of the game was aiming for a realism, but with Impressionist and sculpted look. "The stylised art is something you'll see in the game, in the cutscenes," Explained Moreau. "What you've seen in the demo is still work in progress, too – we are aiming for a realistic approach in many ways, like lighting, but we have an impressionistic twist to things.
During the Pre-Alpha demo presentation, DONTNOD admitted that the character models were still rough, but that they were not aiming for a art style like Dishonored. "We're going to keep all the proportions of our characters anatomically correct, but emphasise this chiselled, sculpted look to faces. From a distance, the game might look perfectly photo real; but get closer, and you'll see that we've got our own signature in our reality."
With regard to the presentation of the city, DONTNOOD stated that they were looking represent various districts of England. Philippe Moreau explained that the development team researched the areas of Whitechapel and took photography of the environment for reference. "I find it very rewarding to work on a place that's real, somewhere you can go in your own life." Moreau added that that the environments would be designed using "some artistic license", but would maintain its Georgian and Victorian architecture.
- DONTNOD reportedly established a second development team to work on the game to work on Vampyr and future projects.
- According to DONTNOD, Vampyr is an estimated fifteen to thirty hours long, however, its length will be determined by individual play styles.
- There are fifty or more non-playable characters that players can interact with. Like Life Is Strange, their fates are determined based on player choice.
- While Vampyr can be played according to the player, developer Stéphane Beauverger hopes to tempt players to make darker choices in their playthroughs.
Behind the Scenes
Early Concept Art
- ↑ "The spelling is owed to a Hungarian man who was accused of being a vampire in the 1700s. This is the first public documentation of the phenomenon, and therefore we chose to go for the Hungarian spelling."