GB: The second annual Grand Masquerade approaches. What can fans expect from this year's event, and what steps are you taking to ensure that it surpasses last year's experience?
Shane: Well last year’s inaugural event was a HUGE success on all fronts so we definitely have our work cut out for us this year. Being the 20th anniversary, the most significant change from last year’s event is that this year we are dead in the center of The French Quarter where last year we were right outside of it. We have two of the most beautiful historical hotels New Orleans has to offer that will provide us the backdrop for our event. The French Quarter will be all around the event, so that alone will add a completely unique theme and feel to what we are doing. The Grand Masquerade convention is thematically similar in many ways to other “franchise” conventions like Star Wars Celebration, BlizzCon, or our own EVE Fanfest. The main difference is that sets us apart from other events of a similar ilk is our environment. The New Orleans French Quarter is arguably the most popular and iconic location associated with vampire pop culture in the world. In the modern age, it’s arguable to have even eclipsed Transylvania as the most traveled to vampire-related destination. That history and pop culture mystique really sets the perfect stage to give The Grand Masquerade and its attendees a sense of being part of an age old legacy. We know it’s going to be great! For further details on the convention and schedule of events fans should definitely check out thegrandmasquerade.com.
GB: For this year's Grand Masquerade, you've introduced four different ticket types: Ancilla, Elder, Methuselah, and Antediluvian. Can you give us a quick run-down on the differences, and why it would be a good idea for hardcore fans to spring for the $350 Antediluvian ticket?
Shane: We decided to have different ticket packages with the intent of catering to different individuals’ personal interest levels. We thought a novel way to do that would be to classify then in line with the different age brackets found in vampire society. Some people just want to come to the event, play the games and call it a day. For them we have the Ancilla membership. For individuals who are equally interested in the parties and offsite evening events we have the Elder tickets. Then we jump up to the higher end packages, the Methuselah comes with a copy of the 20th Anniversary Edition book, a commemorative T-shirt and a photo at our World of Darkness photo book. For the truly decadent we have a very scant few Antediluvian tickets left. As of this writing I think we’re at about 15. These come with all of the benefits below plus your book is signed and you get invited to a special 20th Anniversary dinner with CCP before our large Saturday night Succubus Club party at midnight. With that package you really get treated like vampire royalty. But regardless which ticket package people choose to purchase they are going to have a great time. We have a lot of fun down in the big easy and we hope to see as many of our fans as possible from all over the world.
GB: We were shown a short cinematic teaser trailer for World of Darkness at last year's Grand Masquerade, and while it set the stage perfectly, it didn't provide any actual gameplay details. Will World of Darkness have a larger presence at this year's event? If so, what exactly will you be showing us, and how much detail are you going to be willing to divulge about the game's core mechanics?
Shane: I can’t really talk too much about the World of Darkness MMO other than to say we will be pulling the proverbial veil back a little bit more at The Grand Masquerade 2011. I’m not going to go into how or what form that might take but we are known for our eccentricities at times. We’re quite certain that like last year our most loyal fans will come away feeling that they were part of a something special and unique.
GB: Beyond what you'll be showing at this year's Grand Masquerade, when do you anticipate being able to promote World of Darkness on a regular basis with screenshots, trailers, interviews, and that sort of thing?
Shane: Again, beyond what we have already spoken about I really don’t have answers for you here. When we do get to that point whenever that might be GameBanshee will absolutely be on our short list of sites to contact :).
GB: While World of Darkness definitely has our attention, we'd love to see another non-MMO cRPG from White Wolf, as well. What are the odds that we'll eventually see something similar to Redemption or Bloodlines again down the road?
Shane: As someone who worked with Activison a bit on Redemption and was the Community Manager on Bloodlines few people would love to see another cRPG game than myself. Redemption was really the game that got me into playing computer games. But at this time nothing is being planned and the focus in the digital medium is squarely on World of Darkness. So at this time I really can’t say, anything is possible down the line. But it’s not going to be happening anytime soon, that much I can tell you.
Thanks for talking with us about the Vampire: The Masquerade 20th Anniversary and we hope to see you in New Orleans!