Vampyr is the upcoming narrative-driven action-RPG by developer DONTNOD, who are most known for developing Life is Strange. This new game is quite a divergence from their most popular game, however, as the teenage angst of Life is Strange is replaced with life-or-death moral dilemmas and vampiric combat. Various details about the new game were discussed in a recent Twitch stream, in which the game’s director explained some of the mechanics.
In Vampyr, the player doesn’t receive experience points for defeating enemies, as is traditional in RPGs. Instead, XP is earned by killing human civilians and sucking their blood. Due to this mechanic, the game’s director explains that the question of the game isn’t so much “Do I kill or not kill?” but more “Who do I kill?” However, he also stated that it is possible to finish the whole game without killing any civilians, but that doing so will be much more difficult, as your level will be much lower than enemies and you won’t have access to the vampiric combat abilities that come with gaining XP.
The player will have the ability to see various statistics of each of the game’s 60 citizens, including the quality of their blood, what diseases they have and how much XP you can receive for killing them. The lower a citizen’s blood quality is, the less XP they will give you, and diseases will lower a person’s blood quality. Due to this, the player may be inclined to help treat a character’s disease, only to back-stab them and end up killing them for their increased XP. The amount of XP you can gain from a character is also dependent on how much you know about the character. The more environmental and dialogue hints you gather on a character, the more XP they can give you. These hints can also open up more dialogue options with them, which can lead the player down different narrative paths. Every character plays a role in the game’s larger story, so killing any of them will change the social workings of their district.
Hints aren’t the only thing you can find by exploring your environment, however. By taking your time and looking around, you will also find crafting materials. These materials can be used to craft medicine or syringes, as well as customizing your weapons. Vampyr allows players to use one-handed, two-handed and off-handed weapons, as well as firearms, in addition to your vampiric abilities. Sometimes you’ll only have enough materials to improve your weapons in one area; for example, you might have to choose whether you want your gun to dish out more damage or if you want to reduce the amount of time it takes to reload it.
Another way to find hints in Vampyr is by killing citizens. When you kill a character, you absorb all their memories, which may give you hints on other characters. Despite the fact that you can receive hints and XP for killing citizens, you may not necessarily want to go on a full-on killing spree. This is because as you kill more characters and other characters go untreated for their diseases, the status of the district that they live in will fall. If a district’s status lowers enough, the district will collapse, which will result in the player being blocked off from any hints or side quests that may have been available there. You will still be able to finish the game if you let all four districts collapse, but you will receive the “ending you deserve.”
A few other details given include that Vampyr is a AA-game, so it’s not as large as a AAA-game, but the independence allows room for potentially more creativity and freedom from the developers. The game’s director also states that most combat situations can be avoided, but there are a few mandatory battles, such as with bosses. The development team also has a “very specific answer” to where vampires come from and why there’s a vampire epidemic.
Vampyr is set to release on June 5 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.