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Dontnod about the consequences of taking a life in Vampyr


Vampyr is shaping up to be a very different beast than the traditional narrative we're accustomed to in literature, film, and gaming. The focus is almost always on the immortal human with extraordinary powers who is first and foremost a predator, especially when explored in video games. The most notable of these being Konami's Castlevania series.

In Dontnod's Vampyr, you play as a monster that is acutely self-aware; especially given the fact that as a physician you've taken the Hippocratic Oath, and you've dedicated your life to helping people. To highlight this internal conflict in the protagonist, Dontnod filled the world with "meaningful" NPC's. Meaning, the player will get drawn into their lives, and when killed, it has real consequences in how the story unfolds. According to a new webisode from the studio, Game Director Phillipe Moreau discusses the unique NPCs and how the death of one of them will represent the ultimate dying human experience. 

"We didn't want any generic NPCs like many RPGs where they only exist to give a quest or say a few words and return to their 'life," explains Game Director Phillipe Moreau. "We knew each citizen needed their own identity, so each time the vampire choose one to sacrifice, it has real meaning, it has consequences."

Moreau goes on to explain that each time you murder an NPC, that you'll be confronted with the fact that you are ending a human life. To give depth to the backstories of each NPC, Dontnod focused on two factors;

  1. Why is this NPC out on the street at night: In 1918 London it was extremely dangerous to be out on the streets at night. Murders were reported every night, the Spanish flu was rampant in the city, and the streets were filled with many desperate people because of the war that just ended. Against this looming danger, Dontnod created a very specific motive why the relevant NPC would then roam the streets at night.
  2. Creating an authentic London: In Vampyr you'll meet people from different demographics, and each one will have his or her place in society.

You'll be confronted with questions like, "What gap in society will it leave if I kill this person?" or "What will happen to his or her loved ones if they die tonight?" Players will have to consider each murder carefully. "The death of your target will impact the story, the day-to-day life of everyone living around them" continues Moreau.

Another interesting feature in Vampyr and something that greatly plays on the empathy the protagonist feels towards his victims is that every time you take a life, you'll hear those person's final thoughts. If you've encountered other NPC's in the story tied to your victim, then you'll even hear more of those last few desperate thoughts.

"You didn't just get a reward of XP, you witnessed the ultimate reflections of a dying human," explains Dontnod. It's a very powerful thing to experience, and I hope they pull this off. As I understand it, the focus will be more on the fact that you've committed murder, than that you are doing what it takes to survive.

Vampyr releases later this year for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

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"You didn't just get a reward of XP, you witnessed the ultimate reflections of a dying human"

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