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Dontnod talks player immersion and gameplay in Vampyr - Release date announced

Vampyr dontnod.jpg

Yesterday, Dontnod released the final episode in their Vampyr webseries, and I couldn't be more excited to play the game. We also finally have a release date - Vampyr will release worldwide on June 5 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. The previous date was set for November 2017, but it was delayed because of a technical issue.

Let's recap what we've talked about so far; 

The last episode focuses on the two most important mechanics in any Dontnod game; immersion through storytelling and gameplay. The studio is perhaps most known for the quality of their storytelling, given the success of the Life Is Strange series. In Vampyr, they aim to match that standard in the gameplay, and if the dev diaries are anything to go by, then they're nailing it.

In "Stories from the dark," Narrative Director Stéphane Beauverger states that Dontnod's unique approach to storytelling is "a bit like theatre." That line really struck home for me; it's one of the best descriptions of video game immersion I've ever heard. The different dynamics and relationship between the actor, the stage and set, and the audience in live theatre can resemble what we experience when playing a video game - and that's exactly what Dontnod hope to achieve with Vampyr.

Unlike in other forms of entertainment, like film, there is an energy that flows from the stage to the audience; the one feeds off the other (no pun intended), and if I understand correctly, then it's that dynamic Dontnod wants to capture in Vampyr. “What does it mean to stage a scene where the audience is the main character?” explains Game Director Philippe Moreau. "What I am interested in as a game director, are atmospheric, immersive games, in which players truly embody their characters."

The second most important thing after immersion is gameplay - “it’s the relationship with the controller, which is crucial.” adds Moreau. Dontnod's philosophy to approach game development as theatre; where every NPC, every action, and every "prop" form part of that which draws the player who is both audience and main character deeper into the story, has me very excited.

I loved Life Is Strange, and they absolutely deserved every award for storytelling, but I felt at times that the gameplay wasn't as immersive. I dare say that Vampyr might just be their best game to date with equally good parts storytelling and gameplay.

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"it’s the relationship with the controller, which is crucial"

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