Indie developer, Dontnod Entertainment, grabbed everyone’s attention last year with their popular episodic game, Life is Strange. Set in the state of Oregon during late autumn, we played as Max Caufield. Max was quiet, optimistic and doe-eyed, and pursuing her passion for photography at the elite Blackwell Academy. Max also discovered that she could (plot twist!) rewind time. The result was a wildly atmospheric adventure game that was heavily based on the concept of the butterfly effect. Life is Strange also had an impressive tracklist of indie artists to further evoke the tranquil mood of changing leaves and the cooler weather throughout the game. Now, Dontnod is working hard on their next project entitled Vampyr. The game is set in London in the wake of World War I, and the manicured grounds of Blackwell, the concept of rewinding time, and the soothing tunes of Syd Matters coming through Max’s headphones are nowhere to be found. Here is everything we know about Vampyr so far.
Vampyr is categorized as a role-playing action game, with a heavy emphasis on exploration and investigation. It is the story of Jonathan Reid in 1918 London. He is is a veteran of the Great War and a surgeon. He is a scientist (a rational man, naturally) and heavily skeptical of the supernatural. Unfortunately for Jonathan, he is also a new vampire and, as you’d expect, he is not taking his transformation well. The crux of the story deals with Jonathan grappling with the person he once was, with his need to feed on a human’s blood in order to survive now.
How Jonathan goes about all of this is entirely put in the player’s hands. It is up to you to interact with the people of London, moving through the streets and uncovering clues about potential victims. Much like we saw in Life is Strange, we can also expect the player’s choices in Vampyr to have a major impact on the story as a whole. Interacting with the London citizens will not only progress the narrative, but it will also shed light on the current condition of London itself. Each kill has its own set of consequences, and Vampyr’s Game Director, Philippe Moreau promises that you will see and feel those consequences. In a post on PlayStation.Blog, Moreau states, “They’ll have an effect on the story, often immediately, and in the long-run. The game has a moral thread running through it, as you are faced with the tough decision of choosing who is “innocent” and should therefore be spared in these bleak London streets.
The combat in the game also strays far from what we have experienced in Life is Strange, where it was essentially non-existent. Vampyr relies on the ability to master a variety of weapons, including creating makeshift weapons in order to take down human and mythical enemies.
Another level of intrigue for the game obviously rests in the time period. This is an era when the streets of the London are weakening under the spread of the Spanish Influenza; a time when England is experiencing a vast number of social and political changes. It is a gray and stark world, and in order to accurately capture the mood and authenticity of the early 20th century, Dontnod has not only done the necessary research on the Spanish Flu, but also the medical and scientific enlightenment of this period. Moreau also writes, “This grim vision of London is presented in hundreds of historical documents and visual accounts of the flu, each darker than those before it. But for the streets, architecture and feeling of London, there are many factual but also fictional references that are fantastic visual reference pieces.”
Though Dontnod is still a fairly young company (founded in 2008), duplicating the success and critical acclaim of Life is Strange, while potentially surpassing it, is not impossible. With the right touches and possibly less cheesy dialogue, Dontnod can also win us over with Jonathan Reid’s story as well.
Vampyr is expected to be released in 2017 for PC, PlayStation 4, and the Xbox One. You can watch the trailer below, and stay tuned to The Nerd Stash for upcoming news.
Tori is a writer and gamer originally from Vault 111, but now she resides in Chicago. She has an MFA in creative writing-fiction, runs primarily on coffee, and is an expert on AMC’s The Walking Dead. Follow her on Twitter @torithatnerd.