We had the opportunity to attend a presentation of Vampyr, which was given by Philippe Moreau, Game Director over at Dontnod Entertainment, creators of Life is Strange. I was not given the opportunity to play Vampyr, but I saw some gameplay and Philippe gave a good amount of info on the game in general.
You play as a doctor, Jonathan Reid, who has recently become a vampire and must wrestle with what that means, all the while he tries to affect the city around him. Vampires aren’t commonplace in the world, and nobody knows about them other than the vampire hunters, who appear to be some of the main antagonists of the game.
Being a doctor, Vampyr is framed around Reid attempting to figure out what’s causing the Spanish Flu and heal as many people as possible, ultimately putting an end to the disease. Contrasting that, Reid’s new life as a vampire compels him to take the blood of citizens to keep going.
The choice to kill those citizens, which you don’t have to, seems to be one of Vampyr‘s key mechanics. In order to level up and unlock new abilities, you have to kill people, but killing people will obviously have consequences. For example, in the demo they killed a not so nice man, but it turned out he had a son who is now without a parent. Philippe hinted that the consequence, beyond the guilt of the dialogue, will show up later, implying that the child may appear in some way later.
You don’t just quickly choose someone to kill and do it, though you can if you want. A big part of the game is gathering detail on your targets. You can track them, talk to them, listen to them interact with other characters, and more to build up a dossier to inform your decision. That information will certainly tell you more about their character and personality, but may also drop some hints as to the potential consequences if you were to choose to kill them. Interestingly, you can even bring up quick info about NPCs, like their occupation, in a very similar fashion to how Watch Dogs let you take a look at people walking around quickly.
There are even more things to consider in your choices as you have the health of the various districts in London that will be affected by your actions. Crime will rise, buildings will become rundown, disease will be more rampant, and more in unhealthy districts. The health of the district can be decided by several choices you make, but chief among them seems to be how many citizens you kill within any given district. So, you can go on a murder spree, but expect it to have some lasting consequences in that part of town. Philippe even mentioned that certain people killed will show up in the newspapers the next day, detailing the murder.
Some combat, but not much was shown off. It is very fast-paced, but there is a certain deliberateness to it as well. You will not win by simply mashing buttons, as you will have to react to enemy swings and try to capitalize on what they are doing at any given moment, while comboing into the unexpected. Other than that, some spectacular vampire moves were shown off, where Reid can more or less just shred people to pieces.
All in all, Vampyr seems pretty interesting and the emphasis on player choice affecting both the large and small is very interesting. The fact that you can go through without killing a single person definitely adds another layer. The choice to participate in a lot of emergent stories, by juts listening to conversations or what have you as you go by, can be really interesting if done well. The overall story, where it will take you, and what it will require you to do to progress (i.e. kill someone) wasn’t shown off at this presentation.
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