The much hyped action RPG Vampyr is steaming ahead with production and after a minor setback, is ready for a Spring 2018 release. Developers Dontnod (Life Is Strange) have released the third instalment of their developer diary series, where they cover behind the scenes and updates in development. The new video Episode 3 – Human After All covers NPCs and the dev’s decision to give each one a fully fleshed-out character.
The game is set in 1918 London, during Spanish flu pandemic. As a recently turned vampire, you walk the streets of London by night and encounter a wide variety of characters, each with their own reasons for walking the streets at night, which you have the ability to kill and feed on.
The game’s director Philllip Moreau explains the team’s decision to create detailed characterisations, giving each person you encounter an identity of their own:
“We didn’t want any generic NPCs like in many RPGs, where they only exist to give a quest or say a few words and return to their ‘life’. We knew each citizen needed their own identity so each time the vampire chooses one to sacrifice, it has real meaning, it has consequences.”
Narrative designer Stephane Beauverger also explains the effort in building a cast of individuals in order to give an authentic portrayal of London and society at that time. He went on to explain that not only will it force players to really think twice before killing someone, but also show the impact of their death on other characters.
Your decision of who to sacrifice will effect the world around you as well as the story. When you do kill someone you get to hear their last thoughts, often poignant and sad, to really hammer home that you are in fact taking a life.
“We didn’t want to put the player in a situation where they consider citizens as nameless blood bags, but rather, as living entities confronting the predator that just took their life, questioning him in their final moments about the meaning of this murder – because it is a murder.”
In most games NCPs rarely feel like real people, and Dontnod’s move to make even the most minor character a fully realised person is an exciting change. As a game where you’re almost expected to kill and feed off of people without a care, you’ll have to put a lot of thought into the act, finding a balance between need and guilt.
Vampyr has already gotten a lot of hype and we’re just as excited for the for the game’s release. Updates like this show the studio’s willingness to be different and do their own thing, which can only be a good thing.