It’s hard to believe that it’s been four years since Fatshark introduced the world to Warhammer: Vermintide 2 for PC, before bringing the game to consoles. In that time, players have come to enjoy the Left 4 Dead 2-style shoot-em-up, taking down hordes of rats with super-powered weapons.
It continues to be a hit today, namely due to solid ports of the game for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. So, where does Vermintide go from here? We chat with game designer Markus Olsen to get an idea of what’s next!
First off, congratulations on four years of Warhammer: Vermintide 2. How has the journey been for you guys overall?
At launch we had been working hard for quite a while getting the game to where we wanted it to be. We were very happy with the reception of the game, and streaming, having grown so much bigger, made it easier for us to get more visibility. We have been trying a lot of different things for content releases and getting better at it over time. Today, after a few years of growing the company, we have several teams dedicated to making high quality content for Vermintide 2.
Did you think the game would continue to be successful after all this time, finding a niche group within the Warhammer community (and even outside of it)?
Personally, I have been most surprised by the amount of hours players put into the game once it has caught their attention. The level of detail in our community feedback is a testament to the game’s depth and their passion. For new releases, we always want to deliver the best possible mix, both to please the community and to get even more new players into the game. One of our core pillars in development was replayability, forcing us to consider what levels and mechanics would be experienced after hundreds of hours. We managed to reach a surprising amount of people who weren’t initially interested in Warhammer but still turned out to love the game and that makes me extra happy.
The arrival of Vermintide 2 on consoles did really well, too. How tough was it to bring the experience to consoles?
For consoles, I mostly had my finger in the interfacing part. We adapted that to make the experience of playing with a joypad as smooth as possible. The other big parts were optimization which also helps the game overall, even for PC users.
We’ve seen a lot of expansions since the original game’s release. Were there any particular favorites that stood out, or do they all offer something special to you?
I have a lot of love for the earlier DLC, and the career DLC makes a lot of sense from my point of view because they bring a lot of new gameplay value. Maps that take the story forward I also enjoy a lot. Winds of Magic and Chaos Wastes, being two really big ones, have so much they bring to the table and they’re both very different from the main campaign experience.
What was probably the toughest part of putting together a sequel like Vermintide 2, compared to how the first game came together? Was there anything you would’ve done differently in development?
Vermintide had given us a great base to start from, and we had a good idea of what to give a bit more time for Vermintide 2. I guess one of the challenges was not going too much into any rabbit hole. Meaning some areas were already good and didn’t need much innovation to stay fresh. Instead, try to keep a high level perspective of the experience as a whole. That’s always important to avoid having areas of the game feel underdeveloped. We did okay, but we could probably have done even better in retrospect.
Quick question: does Vermintide 2 work on Steam Deck? Asking for a friend, hehe. Did you guys test it at all?
We’re looking into the Steam Deck, that’s all I can give you for now.
One thing we really admire is how the characters differ so much, yet seem so perfectly balanced. How did that particular part of the game end up working so well?
On a high level they all do the same basic things, Careers and weapons become a bigger factor in how characters perform or behave. There are still outliers we continue to chase down, but generally we’re happy with where the game is in terms of balance. I will give credit to all our writers, voice actors, and animators who really bring out the character that players get to enjoy to make them feel different.
So, what’s next for the Warhammer: Vermintide universe? Will you continue building upon Vermintide 2’s world or is there a chance we could see a third chapter down the road?
The plan is to keep building on Vermintide 2 for a foreseeable future.