Friday, February 13, 2015

Born of Blood

There are mysteries which men can only guess at, which age by age they may solve only in part.

- Professor Van Helsing

Halloween has come and gone, but Bloodborne is still on the way.  Unlike From Software's previous outings which were dark fantasy melting pots, game director Hidetaka Miyazaki has chosen to draw inspiration from the gothic horror genre this time around.  I have no doubt he has versed himself in stories like the Werewolf of Paris, the Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Frankenstein, in addition to the Savage Tales of Solomon Kane.  The book I read in preparation for the release of Bloodborne through was none other than Bram Stoker's most famous work, Dracula

It's surprising just how much this classic novel reads like the literary equivalent of a found footage flick.  The entire text is made up of correspondence letters, newspaper clippings, ship's logs, medical reports, memorandums, messages sent by telegraph, wax cylinder audio recordings made on phonographs, plus lots of journal and diary entries by no less than five different individuals.  The result is a patchwork narrative that leaves the nature of vampires shrouded in mystery.  Look no further than the TV Tropes page "Our Vampires are Different" for a comprehensive look at the incredible variety of sometimes contradictory abilities and vulnerabilities these undead posses.  In part this lack of codification is what makes Dracula such an intriguing story; it all plays out kind of like a game of chess except the way pieces move and where they are located on the board isn't always clear.  I've never come across a game that captures this aspect of the story very well.  Then again, when the most faithful video game adaptation of the property is an Atari Lynx exclusive that only covers the first couple chapters of the book...

So, getting back to Bloodborne, I think it's a safe bet to assume the player is going to fight "nosferatu" of some form, and might be one him/herself (or possibly a "dhampyr," if you want to get really technical with the terminology).  Regardless of that, I look forward to seeing what take the designer of Demon's Souls and Dark Souls has when it comes to vampires.  Here's hoping we get to experience something special, and not in a they-sparkle-in-the-sunlight kind of way.

The tomb in the day-time, and when wreathed with fresh flowers, had looked grim and gruesome enough; but now some days afterwards, when the flowers hung lank and dead, their whites turning to rust and their greens to browns; when the spider and the beetle had resumed their accustomed dominance; when time-discoloured stone, and dust-encrusted mortar, and rusty, dank iron and tarnished brass, and clouded silver-plating gave back the feeble glimmer of a candle, the effect was more miserable and sordid than could have been imagined.

- Dr. Steward

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