Hello, my name is Liz Starr, I am one of the Producers at Hardsuit Labs, and I have the dream job of working on Bloodlines 2. I am very happy to bring you this dev diary about Hardsuit Labs and the story behind our fantastic team.
Hardsuit Labs began in 2015 with Andy Kipling, Russell Nelson, and a team of about 20 people. We had all worked at another studio together before. When that place went out of business, Andy and Russ – then a Production Director and Tech Director – decided to ask a few of their former teammates to help start something new. Back then, we thought that it’d take maybe five years of bringing older games to newer formats for this band of veterans to gain enough reputation to pitch a full game production.
Two years later, Ka’ai Cluney, our Creative Director, burst into Andy’s office with an idea he and his friend Brian Mitsoda had come up with. Ka’ai is one of those people who seems to have been everywhere and done everything; from design at id Software and Monolith to building roofs in Alaska. He had worked with Brian (of Troika and Vampire: the Masquerade - Bloodlines fame) before. Together, they came up with a concept that lured Brian out of his own indie studio, into our team.
More importantly, it convinced Andy and Russ to go all in and to start pitching that full game project three years earlier than we’d have guessed.
When I discovered that what we were pitching was Bloodlines 2, I was beyond excited. Not only because Paradox has released some games that I give much of my free time to, but also because I am a huge World of Darkness fan. I wish I could tell my LARPing younger Ventrue self that she would one day be working on this game.
Turns out I wasn’t the only one: One of the wonderful things about World of Darkness and Hardsuit Labs is that we have a lot of fans in the team. There’ve been off-hours Vampire tabletop games in the conference room since before the project properly started. Those who were new to the IP were gently introduced to the fandom and have also embraced it.
Nowadays, Hardsuit Labs is a good mix of seasoned veterans and recently bloodied developers of many different backgrounds. One example of strengthening this mix is Cara Ellison, who joined us early last year. Cara's known to some for her work as a journalist (at Rock Paper Shotgun et. al), to others for her work on Dishonored 2... and to even fewer for her testing on GTA4. We value our diversity of experience and the diversity of us as individuals; we know this brings more perspective to our work and company culture, and ultimately creates better games.
For Bloodlines 2, this team is putting all its passion and motivation behind the narrative of Brian and Cara. We can’t wait for you to sink your teeth into it!