As part of its Q3 interim report, publisher Paradox Interactive has offered an update on the beleaguered Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2, saying it’s “happy with the progress” being made by the game’s still unknown new developer, but that it won’t be in a position to provide an updated release date for “quite some time”.
Back in October, Paradox CEO Fredrik Wester admitted the publisher had almost scrapped Bloodlines 2 completely after its incredibly troubled development, which has seen the project hit with multiple delays and other controversies since its announcement back in 2019 – a sequence of events that ultimately lead to original developer Hardsuit Labs being removed from the project earlier this year.
Wester also confirmed Bloodlines 2 was now in the hands of a “very reputable and talented” new developer and that the studio had “high hopes” the title would “be a good game that meets our players’ desires.” One thing Wester did not share, however, was the new developer’s name, and Paradox has now confirmed that secrecy will remain in place for the foreseeable future.
In a live Q&A that followed the release of Paradox’s Q3 interim report (as spotted by PC Gamer), CFO Alexander Bricca explained, “We prefer to give the studio a situation where they can focus fully on the game development and not having to address fans reaching out to them. So therefore we have so far not disclosed the name of the studio and we are very happy to keep it that way for still some time.”
Despite the secrecy, Paradox says the new developer is “doing quite well and we are happy with the progress of the project now”. Unsurprisingly, however, the turmoil surrounding the development of Bloodlines 2 has had a dramatic impact on its launch timeline. Whereas Paradox was initially aiming to ship the game this year before booting Hardsuit off the project, it now says there is “still quite some time before we can start to talk about release dates.”
Away from the troubled development of Bloodlines 2, 2021 has been a challenging year for Paradox in other ways. In September, the publisher found itself mired in controversy when it was accused of fostering a culture of bullying and gender discrimination after a union-led employee survey revealed almost half of the 133 participating staff had experienced “mistreatment”, with the issues said to be “worst for women”.
Although Paradox pledged to conduct a “thorough audit” of its processes following the report, eyebrows were raised a week later when Wester publicly admitted to an incident of “inappropriate behaviour” towards another employee during a company wide conference in 2018. “This was something I immediately and sincerely apologised for in-person the following Monday in a process reviewed by HR,” Wester wrote.
Further damning allegations aimed at the studio surfaced earlier this month, when Swedish daily newspaper Svenska Dagbladet detailed a “culture of silence” within the company – a sentiment shared by Paradox employees Eurogamer has spoken to. In response to the report, Paradox said it had now hired an external and independent auditor to investigate its company culture, beginning with its employees based in Sweden.