Future of Blood
Article discussing the future potential of the Blood series.
Many have asked for Monolith Productions, the original developers of the series, over the years to create the game and there has been some recorded hints of interest from within the company at various points; however, no real advancement on the project has ever been shown. Some major factors that have prohibited a Blood III are the mainstream commercial failure of Blood II: The Chosen and that the intellectual property of the Blood series eventually became owned by Atari and not Monolith Productions, thus making the game a potential legal problem. The vast majority of people who worked on the games have also long departed from Monolith, with even long time designer Craig Hubbard leaving in 2013.
"Plain and simple, I will not do another Blood game unless the concept is worth doing. I have too many other game ideas I am in love with to do Blood simply for the sake of doing it. Another designer at Monolith could easily pick up the series from me just like I picked it up from Nick. I will say, though, some concepts for Blood 3 are sitting on my hard drive at work, but it is a very different animal than the first two games. I also have an idea for another, non-first-person shooter title in the Blood world."
--James Wilson III, May 1998
"Currently there is no Blood 3 in production, and no plans to start one up, so no, I won't be working on it. If we were to make a Blood 3 I doubt I'd be on it. After 2 full Blood products and 2 add-ons I think Blood is done with me."
--James Wilson III, January 1999
"Monolith Studios has not been idle since the release of its latest two first-person shooters, Shogo and Blood II. Speaking with a fan site, the company detailed some of its future plans for the Blood franchise. A patch for Blood II is still being worked on, primarily aimed at addressing the multiplayer issues, the patch will also address some single player issues. Gamers can look for it in about a week. Meanwhile work progresses apace on the Blood 2 expansion pack. Expected to ship in February, Monolith is still working on this project and hopes to have it in beta within two to three weeks. And in the same interview with fan site Planet Blood, Monolith programmer Brian Goble mentioned that he was working on not only Blood 2 projects but also some stuff for Blood 3, indicating that Monolith has at least begun some preliminary work on a potential sequel. "
--Monoliths Wants More Blood, January 8, 1999 - IGN
"GT Interactive (now Infogrames) owns the rights to the Blood series. Please contact Infogrames regarding this. Monolith is now working on games for Fox Interactive."
--Monolith Productions, January 2001
"Monolith currently has no plans to revive the Blood franchise, but you never know what could happen in the future!"
--Monolith Productions, March 2007
"As much as I would love to play (or develop) another chapter of Blood, it's unlikely that there will be a Blood 3. Not to be too philosophical, but whatever fates crossed or stars aligned that allowed our little team to craft Blood have long since moved on. Each of us has gone our separate ways to make good and even great games."
--Nick Newhard, April 2008
"Folks have written to me before re a Blood 3. I don't have any info for you. Couple years ago, I passed on requests to Monolith but now that they're owned by Warner Bros in L.A., I don't know who makes decisions. I'm just an actor; i.e., no clout, nothing! Below is company info. Don't send e-mail, CALL them and ask to speak to some producer or something; not just the receptionist. Maybe they'd give you some info. I can't. Too bad, could use the work!"
--Stephan Weyte, May 2010
"Despite the bittersweet regret for all the things we didn't manage to get into [the original Blood], I'm definitely proud of the game. And if anyone wants to fund Blood 3, then count me in!"
--Peter Freese, 2014
"We love all those games [Shogo, Blood and F.E.A.R.]. There are still many original developers here from those days. But...we are moving forward into new horizons of player-driven storytelling. That's really where our collective hearts lie at the moment. Maybe someday we'll come home to these haunted shores. (Haunted at least for FEAR and Condemend.) But not in the short-term."
--Monolith Productions, September 21, 2018
"After Caleb destroyed Tchernobog, The One That Binds, at the end of Blood he returned to Earth with the goal of taking control of the Cabal as their leader, a position he feels is rightfully his. The Cabal consider Caleb and the other Chosen to be betrayers of the cause, and so wanted nothing but Caleb's death. This, of course, spurned a constant conflict between Caleb and the Cabal that has lasted 100 years, with Caleb unable to take over the Cabal by himself, and the Cabal failing in its efforts to destroy Caleb. During this 100 years Caleb quickly realizes that he can't take over the Cabal by himself, so sets about finding a way to bring back the other 3 Chosen to help him... The Chosen then form a shaky alliance and agree to go after the Cabal."
--James Wilson III, February 1998
The Blood community continues to keep the idea of a Blood III alive and continually debate its possibilities or what they would wish it to be like. It is also not uncommon on Blood community forums to hear rumours about a new sequel to Blood or any sort of modern official Blood project. There is a Steam Group created to help promote the concept of a Blood III, using the picture above, called "We Want Blood III!".
Plot-wise, many think that Blood III would likely follow along the common hints of the Blood II: The Chosen back-story (as well as the stated plot of the cancelled Blood II: Revelations) about Caleb and the Chosen's wish for world conquest, possibly by taking control of the Cabal and Caleb officially ascending as the seventeenth incarnation of Tchernobog, or maybe even by the Chosen creating their own army. If made by Monolith, it would presumably be done using a more modern version of LithTech, such as "Juptier EX", and as such would resemble the F.E.A.R. series or the more recent Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor technologically.
- A potential expansion pack for Blood II entitled Blood II: Revelations was under production by Tequila Software which would have served as a sequel of sorts, although it was sadly never completed due to the unwillingness of the game's original publisher GT Interactive after the poor sales of Blood II.
- The single-player MAIM fan add-on project for Blood II was intended to follow up with the power struggles following the collapse of the Cabal.
- Planet Blood staffer Lithium pitched a Blood III based on the engine used in Soldier of Fortune on June 5, 2000; he even went as far as to try and contact Raven Software and Infogrames about it, having claimed to have drafted a slate of concept art and a full design document.
- A video was released on September 10, 2007 by piaediting purporting to be a "Blood 3" total conversion for ZDoom.
- There was once a project called Blood 3: Reborn by Arch Game Studios that was trying to make sequel to Blood II, but it was shut down in 2004 because of criticism and pressure from Monolith Productions. The screenshots appear to be based on the Irrlicht Engine.
- Blood: The Reckoning is a project started by a Bloodite known as Caleb88/This Promises to Be Fun to create a new sequel to Blood II, releasing several technology demonstrations (using a self-built engine using OpenGL and written in Delphi) and promotional art images in early 2012 and 2013. Caleb88 resumed work on the project again in late 2014, releasing a fresh engine demonstration as well as a new weapon concept. In 2017 he demonstrated a method for creating game dynamic sprites using 3D models.
- Project Bloody Murder is a project by Russian Blood Community member Aurora; it is a sequel to Blood II which primarily uses themes from the original Blood, as well as those of post-apocalypse and world war. Its plot is centred around a full-scale global war between the Cabal, led by the Chosen, and the "World Government", led by the Mad Scientist who has been given the proper name of "Dr. Pretorious". It has an abandoned technical demo based on the FPS Creator engine, and is in the process of transitioning to the Unity3D engine. The first post was from April 8, 2013 and the latest is from April 25, 2015.
Some people have also suggested making a fan made sequel to Blood II: The Chosen (particularly noting the idea of a game "made by the fans for the fans"), however no such project has achieved any great accomplishment. The Blood Wiki founders themselves played around with some ideas upon this basis with User:Drudge Master in early 2008 for example under the title of Blood III: The Reckoning, which is not to be confused for the actually prototyped project by Caleb88.
Some fan works are set after the events of Blood II: The Chosen such as the fan comic Tales of Blood: Everyday Life, the fan fiction pieces The Chosen in the Haunted Mansion, How Much Time Has Passed, and The Chosen Versus the Mad Scientists.
The fan fiction More Blood in the Arena Eternal and the fan comic Caleb versus Lobo have also been suggested as being set after Blood II: The Chosen. There are also some fan artwork, made by Dark Caleb and +DeaD+ that show a desire to promote the idea of a Blood III; as well as the box art image by MechanicalFirefly. At this time, no released fan games have been made set after the events of Blood II.
"Hi. I'm Stephan Weyte who voiced 'Caleb' in Blood I&II. I've heard you guys might be trying to re-up the Blood franchise. Good luck! If so, please give me a thought, eh?"
--Stephan Weyte on Devolver Digital
Independent of creating a further addition to the Blood series, some groups have also tried to acquire the Blood rights for other purposes, most notably Jason Hall who publicly announced that he wanted to make a remake of the original game in 2012 after musing upon the concept for several years. Devolver Digital also looked into what would have been involved in purchasing the Blood rights a year later in 2013, following the successful release of their published remake of Shadow Warrior by Flying Wild Hog. Neither group was successful in their attempts, however, with Hall unable to solicit Atari's backing and Devolver complaining of an exorbitant licensing price.
Interceptor Entertainment, who developed the 2013 remake of Rise of the Triad and the attempted Duke Nukem 3D: Reloaded, have also stated that they would be quite interested in developing a similar effort for Blood should the rights ever land their way.
"We would love to do a Blood remake. If you can buy us the license, we’re willing to chew through it [laughs]. Unfortunately, Blood has nothing to do with 3D Realms or Gearbox or Interceptor. That is in the land with Jace Hall and Warner Bros and a lot of other people. That’s pretty publicly known. But yeah, Blood is one of our most beloved franchises ever. If we were to get the chance to do a remake, we would grab that chance immediately. We would drop everything else and do a Blood game if we got the chance to."
--Frederik Schreiber, March 4, 2014
Samuel "Kaiser" Villarreal, developer of Doom 64 Ex, Powerslave Ex and now Turok Ex, as well as a contributor to Strife: Veteran Edition by employer Night Dive Studios, also mused upon working on an updated version of Blood. Night Dive had also previously looked into reviving Monolith's No One Lives Forever, among many other classic titles such as the System Shock series.
"I am not sure if there’s any other shooters I plan on remaking. I’ve been tempted to look into Blood but I am quite wary of the many toes that I could potentially be stepping on. Particularly Atari’s toes."
--Samuel "Kaiser" Villarreal, May 4, 2015
Stephen Kick, founder and CEO of Night Dive, later elaborated further on this ambition in an 2016 interview.
"Duke Nukem and Shadow Warrior are phenomenal Build Engine games but I think you could argue that Blood was the best. So it’s strange that it would be the last game to get a proper remaster. The rights situation is muddy but it’s definitely on Night Dive’s wishlist – I imagine that if we ever did get the opportunity Blood would get a lot of love from our team. A new entry in the series would be an exciting project, I know Jace Hall has expressed interest in making a new Blood and having some of the original Monolith crew involved would be even more exciting.."
--Stephen Kick, April 16, 2016
Regardless of the formal legal situation, various attempts at non-commercial fan remakes have also been attempted on various engines, most notably Transfusion, ZBlood and BloodCM. In May 2017 a reverse engineered source port was released by Alexander "M210" Makarov (creator of BloodCM) under the title of BloodGDX, the first such effort to reach a stable state. This was joined by NBlood, a port based on EDuke32, on February 12, 2019.
"Blood stood up extremely well over time and we are taking care to preserve all the qualities that made the game so special... It really only needs minor updates to provide a better user experience for contemporary audiences. By using some of the functions of Nightdive’s KEX engine, we’ll be able to provide compatibility with today’s video standards, with DirectX and Vulkan support. Similarly, we’ll provide compatibility with the current audio standards. We’ll add support for modern networks, Steamworks, and GOG Galaxy to bring this original game to more players. As part of this, we will preserve the accuracy of the game behavior. While these upgrades are relatively minor, we are confident that they will provide fans with a better, current generation gameplay experience."
--Daniel Grayshon, producer at Night Dive Studios
A remastered version of Blood, developed by Night Dive Studios under license from Atari, was announced on December 7, 2018. The port is planned to support modern graphics libraries such as DirectX and Vulkan (as opposed to the original only having partial Glide support via an alpha patch), as well as multiplayer networks such as Steamworks and GOG Galaxy. The remaster will be based on reverse engineering rather than the original source code (implying no original source code release is likely; the new code could be though), built atop of Samuel "Kaiser" Villarreal's Kex Engine from his earlier unofficial Blood EX effort; he is also being assisted by James "Quasar" Haley and Edward "Edward850" Richardson on the project. Kaiser has confirmed on Twitter that the engine will support all Blood custom maps. The engine will even allow proper modding, with scripting possible in a way not present in the original DOS executable.
"Yup, I am working on it. I was actually working on it on my spare time since 2015... Reverse engineered. I've been disassembling the game for several years and have a more or less clear outline of how everything works. Its somewhat pressuring as I am looking to go over the disassembly multiple times to make sure everything is perfect... Some things like the slipperiness is going to remain as it was intentionally designed to do that, but none of the engine's collision detection is going to be used. Though the new collision code will produce nearly exact same results; just less glitchy results... None of the original assets will be modified. This includes levels (despite my temptations)... Modding will definitely be possible in BloodEX... There will be mod support. The idea is that you put your mod into a folder along with any modded .ART files or INI files you include and you should be able to load a mod from there. Additionally BloodEX will allow you to define your own enemies and scripted AI logic. Additionally you'll be able to define your own custom actors and scripted AI logic..."
--Samuel "Kaiser" Villarreal
"We're very happy for our friends @NightdiveStudio! They'll carry the torch with distinction, we have no doubt. Can't wait to play!"
Atari only retains the distribution rights to the Blood series, and so is only able to authorize this effort due to provisions that allowed for the upgrading of the game.
"Atari, however, owns the digital distribution rights for the original game, which came out in 1997. The terms of its ownership includes limited provisions for updating the game. Atari chief operating officer Todd Shallbetter emailed Polygon with the following statement: “We are not changing the game. We have distribution rights and this version is just being updated and optimized for modern operating systems and hardware.”"
--How do two companies own the rights to Blood?, Polygon (December 12, 2018)
- Atari Press Release
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