“The world is a very different place,” says Clooney. “One of the reasons we went to Seattle for Bloodlines 2 is there’s a lot of conflict in Seattle that is a microcosm of a lot of conflict that’s going on all over the place. It just felt like a good place to start to ground it; the conflict between tradition and progress, conflict between money and artistic endeavours. A lot of those conflicts are happening right now and they’re very real. It seems like the perfect place to dig into something that feels very modern in terms of the conflict and also very timeless; grounding it in 2020 but also very much a descendent of what the original game was.”
While the demo of the early stages of the game I saw hinted at conflict and the politics of warring clans, Clooney says it’s central to Bloodlines 2 that the writers (who include Brian Mitsoda, narrative designer on the original game) are actively taking a political stance in this sequel, with its themes of art versus commerce and technological advances versus tradition.
“One of the reasons why that particular conflict attracted us so much was because it’s an inherently political conversation but it’s one of the few ones where it’s hard to… there are valid approaches. The world has to move forward, right?” says Clooney.
“Technological progress is a big deal and people are going to make money doing it. But what’s the cost? One of the things we really wanted to do was narrow in on a major conflict that can truly, reasonably be seen from both sides. As much as I loved being in Seattle in the 90s, and I’ve lived most of my life in Seattle, but at the same time I make video games for a living. I am not innocent of the tech boom.
“It is a political game but I think it’s one of those few opportunities that gives us the chance to let people make their own political statement in a way that’s not cheap. I don’t believe you can look at both sides of a political argument without understanding both sides. It’s easy to say this is good and this is bad. But it’s definitely taking some political stances on what we think are right and wrong. In terms of the main conflict what is interesting is it’s one of those truly balanced issues.”