As a developer Dontnod were not really that well known, at least until the smash hit Life is Strange released, that game offered a sense of choice, the ramifications were preconceived, but with Vampyr, they are taking that sense of choice to a whole new level.
While the game was at the show, it was only presented in a manner that is considered Behind Closed Doors, which lets the developers show off the game in however they want, in this instance, we got to see a slice of the game, where the player character Dr Jonathan Reid offers to assist the hospital where he works with tracking down a patient who has fled, after a very gruesome scene was discovered. Of course, the good doctor is a vampire and he has some skills that can help him locate someone who wants to remain hidden.
While the game was not hands on for us, it was being controlled by one the developers and the cool thing was, as the game world changes and shapes to what choices you make, what we were shown might never happen to any other press or business person who was shown the game. We knew that the patient had fled and likely went back to the docks, where he has a halfway house for people that need some extra help, so that is where we were headed. However, before we could make our way to the docks, the streets were being patrolled by the Guard of Priwen and while they seem like they might be good people, they have no interests in helping anyone but themselves.
As we explored the world, we found a man who was out searching for his son, who had joined the aforementioned group, but the good doctor manages to convince the man to return home. While that might not seem like a big deal, what it did was give us more information about the man, who does not live in the surrounding districts, we were able to learn about him and some details about his son. The game is all about choices, taking the life of someone without knowing anything about this is something that you can do, if you want, but if you do, your actions could see the district to which they call home, fall into despair and slump further down into ruin. But it’s not about what that person can do for the district or the world, it’s about that person as well, if they are sick, you take their life to improve your vampiric skills might not actually help you too much.
The reason why you need to understand this is quite simple, the way you level is all done by taking life, with each life you take you will earn xp, depending on the standing of that person in the community, their health and other factors, you might need to kill 5 different people to get enough xp for one level, or killing the right person might get you two levels worth of experience. As you level up, you unlock new abilities and can then spending your newly acquired xp on new skills in a range of options. However, the more vampiric skills you unlock, the more of the monster you become and as you swore an oath to not harm innocents and save lives, it forces you to really examine each choice.
The funny thing about all your choices that you can make, if you target a singular district too much, you can draw extra attention from not only the people that live there, making them scared to venture out at night, but also the other creatures and even human guards that can hurt you, the ones we saw were the Skals, a lower-class Vampire. But that is not even the worst of it, if you damage a district too much, people will flee it and it becomes worthless for your expansion, but a hive of activity for the other groups to call home. Though should the humans abandon that district, you will lose access to resources, information, quests and much more, so you want to be careful about just whom you choose to dine on.
However even with all that said, there are endings present to the game that you can get if you don’t kill a single person, the game is really going to be about your choices, far greater than any game before it. Does it live up to its potential, well until I go hands on, it is hard to say, however I am very interested in discovering how my choices will impact my game compared to others and with the games release coming this November, I won’t have to wait long.