White Wolf is keeping a tight lid on any video game-related announcements they intend to make at The Grand Masquerade, but that didn't stop me from quizzing community developer Shane DeFreest about their World of Darkness plans. Since most of my questions had to be skipped over to avoid spoiling anything too early, I threw in a few about Bloodlines and Redemption for good measure:
GB: Prior to your time at Maverick, you worked with us as the Vampire: Bloodlines community manager at Activision. What was the general mood at Activision and what sort of a relationship did you have with Troika prior to Bloodlines shipping versus post-release?
Shane: It's interesting because Bloodlines is what got me back into working in the video game business. I had moved to LA from San Francisco to work in Hollywood and had not done anything in the gaming for close to three years. Again irony strikes and it was my buddy Grant Collier whom I was rooming with at the time and he was just getting his new studio (Infinity Ward) off the ground at Activision and he said they needed a community person for Bloodlines and because of my history with Vampire it seemed like a good work from home gig. Well that was it and back down the rabbit hole I went. As for the mood at Activision at the time, I like to say Bloodlines was a game well before its time. If you look at games like Oblivion or Fallout 3 the idea of a first person RPG seems normal these days but back then I think people did not know what to make of it. Don't get me wrong, the people there who were passionate about the project were very passionate and to their credit did the best they could given the circumstances. Hiring Tim Bradstreet, engaging the White Wolf community all of those things were the right things to do I just think that the game as great as it was just was a little too much ahead of its time for a publisher that really excels in more mainstream products. As for Troika, my experience with Leonard, Tim and their team was always very good. They are all very talented guys and from what I understand most of them have gone on to find good work at other companies.