Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines Interview

Article Index

Eschalon: Book II

Developer:Troika Games
Release Date:2004-11-18
  • Action,Role-Playing
Platforms: Theme: Perspective:
  • First-Person,Third-Person
Buy this Game: Amazon ebay
Although Tim Bradstreet created a handful of artwork for Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines, I doubt many would disagree that the promotional pieces depicting "Jeanette" are the most eye-catching. To achieve the perfect look for the artwork, Activision contracted Erin Layne, a professional model who not only possesses sinister good looks, but also a very strong role-playing background.  Recently, I was fortunate enough to fire off a batch of questions about her involvement with Vampire: Bloodlines, her modeling career, and her RPG interests. My questions and her answers to follow:

GB: To start off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started in the modeling industry and how long you've been involved with it?

Erin: My mom's a photographer...I grew up having my picture taken. She'd always drag me into the studio for test shoots with a new lens or camera. I'd hear a lot of 'you should model' comments from friends and family, too...and living in L.A., when these elements come together, you inevitably wind up in the industry on some level. I didn't begin to seriously pursue modeling and expand on my portfolio until recently, however...within the last couple of years.

GB: How did you become aware of a modeling job for Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines? Was it something you were actively pursuing or did it find you?

Erin: I came across the opportunity fortuitously, during a random conversation with Activision's PR guy, Shane DeFreest. After some geeky chat about the World of Darkness, he found my picture page and instantly made the connection, forwarding my image to the Bloodlines production people.

GB: What was your reaction when you realized you were going to portray a Malkavian vampire? Did you have you to do some research into the Malkavian clan to help get the right look, or were you already pretty familiar with the V:tM setting?

Erin: No research on the Malkavian clan required. I was familiar with them through my own experiences with Vampire, and the first PC game. Dev_Null rocks. *Grin.* I studied the concept art for Jeanette to get a better feel for her, and the right look as far as the costume went. But other than that, I'd say it came naturally...heh.

GB: What was it like working with Tim Bradstreet? How would you compare him to other artists you've worked with?

Erin: Fun. Easy. Comfortable. Tim's like a gaming buddy...geeky, friendly and quick with sarcastic wit. His work environment is casual, and his wife and dogs are great. Was sorry I missed jumping on the giant trampoline in the back yard.

Often, other artists and photographers will have a very formal setup in their studios...some seem to take themselves too seriously, which only adds tension to any shoot.

GB: Can you give us an idea of the work that goes into doing a shoot like the one for Bloodlines? Is it a multi-day process?

Erin: The shoot with Tim took one day. We were probably on the road down to San Diego and back longer than we were actually at his place. Time in front of the camera was roughly half an hour or so...which allowed us to capture as many poses and moods as necessary, cover all the bases.

GB: There are two main poses for Jeanette - one for the box cover and one for the promotional items (posters, t-shirts, etc). How did these poses differ and what sort of mood were you asked to convey for each?

Erin: The pose for the box cover is the key art Activision chose early on. It has something of an alluring and mysterious mood to it. For the poster, I wasn't asked to convey anything in particular, but in the end, the image that was chosen was something even darker and fairly sinister, which Bradstreet's style seems best suited to. Definitely the wicked side of Jeanette.

GB: Was the decision for Jeanette's final "look" up to Tim alone? Or was it a collaboration of people that decided on which artwork to use? Were you able to provide some input into the final decision as well?

Erin: I was able to see the photographs, but did not have any say. Tim forwarded the images to Activision, who decided which they wanted to use, and Tim took over from there.

GB: Have you had a chance to try Bloodlines yet? If so, what were your impressions of the in-game version of Jeanette? She's an... interesting character, to say the least ;).

Erin: I have not! Bad, bad, bad...I know. I'm on a Mac, still without a PC at my disposal. It's very frustrating. A friend tells me he's in the process of building one for me, though. Won't turn that down!

GB: I understand that you have quite a bit of experience with role-playing games. How long have you been interested in RPGs and have you had a chance to try out the tabletop version of White Wolf's Vampire: the Masquerade?

Erin: I've been role-playing for roughly as long as I've been online...nearly ten years. While I have dabbled in tabletop Vampire and a few other choice games, the majority of my RP experience has been with webchat and MU* forums on the internet. More storytelling, less die-rolling.

GB: How about other tabletop RPGs like Werewolf: the Apocalypse, Shadowrun, or Dungeons & Dragons?

Erin: Yes. All of those. Heheh. As well as Call of Cthulhu, Star Wars...

I play Werewolf online, currently (well, when I find the time...which is rare nowadays...). GarouMUSH.

GB: Do you ever find time to play any PC or console games (RPG or otherwise)? If so, any favorites you'd like to elaborate on?

Erin: Mmm...I have my favorites, but rarely have time to dedicate to video games anymore. In the past few years, American McGee's Alice, Diablo II and Vampire: the Masquerade - Redemption swallowed hours and hours of my life. On the consoles, the Silent Hill games have won my heart in their own twisted way--I'm currently foraging through Silent Hill IV: The Room, by myself. Bit by bit. Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem also made me very happy... I'm sorry to learn they decided not to make the sequel. If there's ever a film adaptation, I simply MUST be Alex! ;}

GB: Do you typically look for modeling work in any type of setting, or do you actively seek gothic-oriented projects?

Erin: I'll accept almost any type of modeling work if it's paid, as long as it's tasteful...and I'm not currently posing nude. I can easily change my look so that it's more mainstream. But my interest lies with the 'alternative' side of the industry, where collaborations are much darker and edgier...that's always been my taste, and I'm certain it always will be.

GB: Any upcoming modeling jobs you can tell us about? Would you be interested in doing more work in the video game industry if the opportunity presented itself?

Erin: I've been busy with several different photo-shoots over the past couple months, and have a number of others coming up. I've been modeling regularly for Lip Service, which just so happens to be my favorite clothing company (nice how that works). I've always got my paws in one endeavor or another, and am constantly collaborating with photographers and other models who are expanding their own portfolios. It's ongoing. Nothing currently quite as big as the Bloodlines thing, but even that seems never-ending in the way other projects and opportunities spring from it.

We'd like to issue our thanks to Erin for taking the time to answer our questions! To learn more about her (and to check out even more of her modeling pictures), stop by her Yahoo! Group when you get a chance.