Last week, Hardsuit Labs and Paradox Interactive announced they would be delaying Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2, shooting for a 2021 release. Buried in that statement was a mention of “organizational changes that will help achieve this goal.” At the time, it looked like standard boilerplate. It appears some of those organizational changes have been executed with the firing of lead narrative designer Brian Mitsoda and creative director Ka’ai Cluney.
A statement on the Bloodlines 2 website (which is age-gated) has announced that the two men are no longer part of the company. It mentions that the decision was jointly made by Hardsuit Labs and Paradox, though it does not give any specific reason for their termination. The statement goes on to say that one Alexandre Mandryka has been named as “creative consultant” and will be taking on the duties of the creative director.
Given the current mood of the industry, it’s surprising that these two men were terminated without some mention of sexual misconduct being attached. However, it’s more surprising that the “face” of the game, Brian Mitsoda, would be fired without any sort of indication as to why, and nobody is more surprised at this fact than Mitsoda himself.
In a statement on Rock Paper Shotgun, Mitsoda indicates that he was completely blindsided by the move. “I was not part of the conversations that led to the decision to delay production, and to my knowledge, there were no delays caused by the Bloodlines 2 narrative development,” he wrote. “I am confident and proud of the work that I and my team put forward. When that work will be seen and what form it will take is unknown to me.” Given that Mitsoda was part of the team who created the original Bloodlines game at Troika, the move goes from “surprising” to “baffling.”
Much like Mitsoda, we’re all waiting to see what happens with the game when it finally releases sometime next year.