Blood Vessels — Then, Now, and What’s Next
A special Dev Diary with our Project Lead, Arbiter Rex
This week we’re launching Blood Vessels and I couldn’t be more excited to unleash it into the world.
It’s a strange project, one made of love and experimental ambition. With all the hard work we’ve put into this project, from concept to development, now culminating on the upcoming Mint Day October 26th, I’d like to take a minute and talk about how we got here.
Blood Vessels was born — bloody and screaming — at the start of 2022, as we ideated on our next new project.
Things were pretty chaotic after the pandemic started in 2020 and a lot of the Kongregate crew were trying to stay connected by any means we could. Whether that was through Zoom and Discord, without in-person meet ups we had to get creative in order to stay connected.
Blood Vessels was an idea that seemed to come out of our thoughts about how to close that distance between Kongregate teams and employees. We were looking at ways to break out of our own normal ways of doing things and create something that combined our love of social gaming with immersive storytelling in a new and interactive way.
We wanted to make something unique. Something for us.
One thing led to another and we formed an internal team, codenamed Electric Visions. Electric Visions is a project team whose approach is guided by a single principle: Let’s try something radically different from our comfort zone.
Our parent company Kongregate is known primarily for its web games, its popular CCGs, and of course its mobile games. What we wanted to make didn’t really fit there.
Kongregate also has a long history of supporting indie developers and backing projects that might be a little out of the norm. We absolutely fit there.
The project is intended to be a little more DIY. A little more experimental. A little more out-of-the-ordinary. For lack of a better term, we wanted to be a little more “punk rock”.
Blood Vessels — with all its weird science fiction, alternative history, vampire-themed fantasy, and unique aesthetic — is definitely that.
The project has got a little bit of tabletop roleplaying — which we all love. It’s got a little bit of narrative sandbox storytelling game, which we also love. It’s got direct ownership, where the player not only plays a character in the game, but they also own that character. Which is something we really love. With that, our players — not us — get to decide the fate of our game and the stories told within it.
Blood Vessels is a game where the players can truly embody their characters and — with their decisions — change the shape of 1890s Chicago to create a new history.
A game where the players make big decisions needs a big community. That community would be the most important factor for the game to succeed, and they would help us to start building the tools that made sense to support where those communities live.
For us, this meant Discord. We started to think of different ways we could use this community tool to do more than just act as a chat server that could connect our community.
What if your vampire was your ticket to the larger Blood Vessels world?
With our custom bots — developed with those needs in mind — the gameplay of Blood Vessels will allow players — our vampires — to engage with our story and use their characters as game pieces.
But that’s not the end of it. The narrative gameplay in Discord is just the tip of the fang. Blood Vessels vampires have a suite of traits, and we want to use it all in future gameplay as well.
Right now, we are working on creating an explorable Chicago World’s Fair with different rooms and scenarios to explore. We’ve got mutations and hunger utility on the way for all vampires. We want to explore more horror-themed mechanics and how they can fit into the game. We want to ask weird questions and find strange answers.
What’s it like when a vampire isn’t hunting or fighting? What if vampires took over an entire neighborhood? What if the factions of vampires went to war with each other?
These are just some of the morsels we want to bring to the world of Blood Vessels, post-launch.
In short, we want to keep making things that have never been made before.
With your help, we’ll do just that.