Warhammer: Vermintide 2 has already seen great success since its launch on PC back in March of this year. The game sold over 500,000 copies only four days after launch, and had sold over 1 million copies a month later. Fatshark's cooperative action title has found a hungry audience.
It hasn't been an easy journey for the developer though. Several patches aimed at bug fixes and optimizations have sometimes introduced new bugs into the game. Vermintide 2 had a development roadmap, but that has since been removed from the official site. And players are still looking for new content for the game, especially in terms of new maps.
Despite those issues, Fatshark is expanding Warhammer: Vermintide 2 to a new audience. The game launched on Xbox One this week and is part of the Xbox Game Pass program, letting players pick it up if they're subscribed. There will also be a beta in the future for the upcoming PlayStation 4 version that players can sign up for, though a firm release window hasn't been given. All this is a lot for a relatively small development team.
USgamer spoke with Fatshark producer Robert Backstrom about Warhammer: Vermintide 2's launch on Xbox One and the future of the game on all platforms.
USgamer: How difficult has the process been of bringing the game from PC to Xbox One and PlayStation 4?
Fatshark producer Robert Backstrom: Some aspects of it was very challenging. Mostly on the tech side where the amount of content and our high set quality expectations on visuals and gameplay look and feel can be quite taxing on the hardware.
Also, if you are serious about porting a game you need to take great care when doing [user interface], hand control support and gameplay adaptions to make sure they are designed for the platform.
Is cross play something that will eventually come to Vermintide 2?
RB: It is nothing that we have in our current post-release plan. That being said—it would be cool to share progress between platforms and I would love to investigate that option further. Matchmaking between platforms is a totally different beast though.
Likewise, is mod support potentially on the table for the Xbox One version of the game?
RB: It is not in our current plan. But one of the cool things of being an indie is that we are more or less able to do whatever we feel like. If you ask for mod support and there is a way for us to get it out on the Xbox One platform and a way for us to get food on the table out of it, I am all up for it.
Were there any hard walls the team ran into, like making the game feel better on controllers?
RB: Performance is always a hurdle to negotiate when developing for consoles compared to the latest high-end PC rigs where corners can be cut. But it is healthy exercise where you end up a game that runs better on all platforms.
Vermintide 2 is Xbox One X enabled; can players expect the same from the upcoming PlayStation 4 version, with Pro support?
RB: Yes. We aim to show equal support to all platforms—in terms of amount of content, post-release schedules and quality
Does the team foresee any problem supporting all three platforms with patches and updates, given your smaller team size?
RB: It will be a challenge for sure, but we just need to be smart about things, continue to listen to the community feedback. The development of [Warhammer: Vermintide - End Times] taught us a ton of stuff.
How much leeway does your team have to play around with new looks and gear for the Warhammer characters?
RB: Warhammer is an [intellectual property] with many guardians, not the least amongst ourselves. Games Workshop are very keen on us getting everything right, but they tend to work with us rather than against us.
Patch 18.104.22.168 was the last heavy balance patch for Heroes. In terms of balancing character classes, which class-weapon combos do the team see as perhaps too strong at the moment?
RB: I am not a designer and would risk a harsh treatment in the next coffee break if I started to answer design questions. That being said, [Victor Saltzpyre's] rapier is freaking powerful with the right upgrades.
You've added more hats and daily quests, but when can players expect new maps for Vermintide 2?
RB: I can't promise when, but I can promise that it will happen.
And will there be an updated roadmap coming soon?
RB: I think that you will see a lot more activity going in our channels soon—part of this would be to share our future plans.
Vermintide 2 has already reached a million consumers, but you're expanding, while also trying to keep those existing players happy. Where do you feel Fatshark has excelled in this and where might the team need to improve?
RB: Listen carefully to the community and be humble to the task. But also make sure to believe in our design. Internet has the habit to amplify the opinions of a vocal minority and this can sometime make you trip.