Vampyr: the vampires of Focus Home Interactive

It's been a while since in the world of media and entertainment i vampires they did not appear: many of you will certainly remember as the last ones of the Twilight saga that, although you may like it or not, completely distorts the essence of the gothic monster. Now instead we are faced with Vampyr, a title that, from a purely artistic-narrative point of view, seems to want bloodthirsty creatures to return to their origins by modernizing them, while avoiding removing their historical characteristics.

Let's start with the basics then: what is a vampire? The vampire was born as a figure during the romantic period, in which British writers adopted the tendency to create new images of terror that went in antithesis to the clerical world, placing them in contrast to the religious world. The two most important examples were the Frankenstein by Mary Shelley e Count Dracula by Bram Stocker. As we all know, artists rarely invent; they often tend to draw inspiration and take inspiration from something else, and this was precisely the case of Dracul, who was taken and re-drawn in all sorts of ways, from literature to painting, from theater to cinema. Going on in time though the vampire figure has changed over and over again, even in different ways: there have been cases in which these were simple humans with supernatural strength and characteristics such as pale skin and the repudiation of light, or real fantastic creatures with magical powers. 

Moving on to the title of Focus Home Interactive, what approach do you take with regard to the definition of the vampire in and of itself? We know for sure that Vampyr tries to recreate a dark atmosphere characteristic of British romanticism, since it is the genesis of its protagonist, plunging us into a gloomy, dark and macabre London, characterized by darkness, murder, blood and despair. We can't say that Vampyr both at the levels of theoretical cruelty of a Bloodborne, but it certainly comes very close to it, also because here the narrative arc is the fulcrum on which the work is based. In fact, we will live closely the stories of our protagonist, Dr. Jonathan Reid, an expert hematologist who, in 1918, gets infected thereby becoming a vampire. Here we immediately notice the first change made by the writers towards the classic vampire: the vampirism is a disease, is transmitted and not born directly in the form of a fair-skinned demon; also dr. Reid keeps his mind, preserving his human side, albeit with all the conditions of his illness.

We then come to another important feature, which is actually the pivot around which the entire narrative arc of the story revolves: vampirism can be cured or are you sentenced to life? We know in fact that the protagonist of Vampyr, desperate for this "curse", will try in every way to discover the secrets of the condition that afflicts him in order to understand if it is curable or not. We have already seen some other video games hypothesize that a vampire can oppose his condition, such as Skyrim, where it was possible to be treated within the fourth day of infection, before the mutation was complete; here, however, there is even talk of an antidote, of a definitive remedy, a "vaccination" that would allow Londoners to eradicate vampirism forever. Another important and well-highlighted detail is the possibility of choose whether to give in to our vampiric nature or not: while vampires if they do not feed on blood tend to weaken until death, this does not happen here, although of course feeding on the blood of others would greatly enhance us compared to our human strength. The choice to include the possibility of feeding only on one's own blood was interesting: it is probably a conceivable idea, if we think that we are talking about a doctor who has kept his human sense and who would not want to harm others because of his curse; consequently he tries to satisfy his thirst for blood through himself, to satisfy at least a minimum of this desire.

If there is an element that in Vampyr it will be totally modern for the vampire world, surely it is there presence of hunters. This partly recalls the classic stories and also Dracula himself, where the people of Transylvania reject the presence of the monster, but at the same time do not arm themselves to hunt it and rely solely on faith and the Church. Here it is as if this obstacle had been overcome: over time vampires have been better known and studied, therefore a branch of expert hunters has formed that is not afraid to face them and risk against them. Obviously this also reconciles very well with the historical setting of the plot: in those years the spirit of action emerged more and more in the citizens of the European states; it is therefore normal to think that vampires were also the target of shareholders and fighters.

We can't wait to hear what it has in store for us Vampyr: Focus Home Interactive has always done an excellent job in characterizing its world, creating meticulously studied narrative strands and reconciling everything with a functional and pleasant gameplay, which allows the player to feel involved in the story, as if accompanying Doctor Reid hand to hand during his adventures. Vampyr it will be released on June 5th 2018, so it is not so long; remember to keep the light on, they can attack when we least expect it.

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