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Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong Gameplay Looks Like a Neck-Snapping Good Time

Vampire: The Masquerade - Swansong Gameplay Looks Like a Neck-Snapping Good Time
Image credit: Nacon

Nacon has released a new gameplay trailer for the forthcoming Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong, which, to go by the trailer, is mostly about murdering police officers.

I’m joking. Sort of.

For those who just came in, Vampire is the flagship line in the shared universe of the World of Darkness, an urban fantasy setting that began with a series of tabletop roleplaying games in the ’90s. In the “WoD,” just about every monster you’ve ever heard of is real, and quietly pulling strings behind the scenes to remain hidden from greater human society.

In vampires’ case, they’ve been around just about forever despite centuries of power struggles and conflicts between sects, clans, and individuals. One of the largest sects is the Camarilla, which brutally enforces a policy within its territory called the Masquerade, which employs information control, institutional influence, brainwashing, and occasional good old-fashioned violence to keep vampires’ existence under wraps.

In Swansong, by the Cyanide Studios-affiliated French developer Big Bad Wolf, you play as three different vampire enforcers within the Camarilla-held city of Boston. Galeb is a member of the aristocratic clan Ventrue, so he’s a power suit with fangs; Emem comes from the artistically-focused clan Toreador; and Leysha is one of the lunatics from the Malkavian clan.

All three have been tasked by Hazel Iversen, the new ruler of Boston’s vampire society, to investigate a recent attack against the Camarilla. The last thing Iversen needs at the moment is a murder spree in her territory, so it’s your job to figure out who did it and why, then deal with the problem and hush it up without breaking the Masquerade.

The resulting game is a choice-based narrative RPG that leans heavily into Vampire‘s traditional horror elements. You’re not the hero in Vampire under any circumstances, and that carries forward into Swansong; you’ll be asked to make a series of difficult choices throughout the game, and have the ability to leave a lot of trauma and destruction in your wake.

Each of the three characters you control has natural areas of expertise that match their clan’s traditional abilities, such as brainwashing, stealth, disguises, or social manipulations. Galeb is generally a blunt object (as evidenced by all these cop necks he’s snapping in the trailer), while Leysha is meant for infiltration and Emem has a broad network of social contacts and a talent for diplomacy. You also have access to their character sheets, however, so you can customize each character’s stats to suit your preferred or targeted approaches.

All three need a steady supply of human blood to power their abilities, however, so you’ll need to keep yourself fed while simultaneously making sure nobody notices you feeding or the bodies you may have to leave behind. If you get too hungry, your vampiric Beast may start to come to the fore, which will affect the options you have for dealing with any given issue.

Swansong will be released on May 19 for PlayStation 4&5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and the Epic Games Store.

Thomas Wilde Avatar

Written by Thomas Wilde

Thomas Wilde has been working off and on in the video game press for 20 years, starting as a strategy guide author before branching out to criticism and reporting. He likes survival horror, weird platformers, twitchy '90s-style shooters, and the occasional JRPG.

He has won World War II three dozen separate times. You're welcome.

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