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Vampire: The Masquerade sequel to use Half-Life 2 engine

Arcanum developer Troika is handling Bloodlines.

Activision tells us that the next game to take advantage of Valve Software's impressive-looking Source engine will be a follow-up to Nihilistic's disappointing Vampire: The Masquerade - Redemption (arguably the game responsible for the whole colon-hyphen titling farce).

Developed by Troika Games (they of Arcanum fame/obscurity), Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines is an action RPG which will see players control a fledgling vampire trying to find its place amongst one of seven vampire clans, each with distinctive strengths and abilities (superhuman strength, speed, invisibility, mind control, etc), as part of what's described as "a sophisticated character development system" in "an open, non-linear realm" by Activision's Larry Goldberg.

As with its predecessor, Bloodlines' abilities and major vampire factions will be drawn from White Wolf Publishing's pen-and-paper role-playing game, but players will also get their hands on a range of conventional weapons (hopefully as part of a better system than BloodRayne's) including sniper rifles, machine guns, flamethrowers and some less conventional stuff like stake guns for dealing with rival vampires. Other enemies will include vampire hunters, as you might imagine, werewolves and ghouls.

Valve's Gabe Newell is obviously pleased to see his company's new technology in Troika's hands. "With Vampire, Troika is proving Source can reach beyond the world of FPS games," he said. "The character system, rendering abilities, and contextual AI features of Source, combined with the veteran RPG design talent at Troika, is a great representation of the innovation we hope to enable with this technology."

White Wolf's Chris McDonough seems equally pleased with Troika. "They are among the elite few companies capable of taking our property into the world of first-person action gaming while still maintaining the story, setting, characters, and role-playing aspects of the game," he said."

Bloodlines is due out next year, and we're not sure if it will appear at E3. Then again, Activision's E3 line-up remains something of an enigma.