Fatshark CEO Martin Wahlund talks Warhammer: End Times - Vermintide - Interview


We were huge fans of Warhammer: End Times - Vermintide here at Chalgyr's Game Room, with a score of 8/10 and multiple Play Time videos as well. We had a chance to ask Martin Wahlund, CEO of Fatshark, some questions that had been on our mind since playing the game.

Chalgyr's Game Room:
What are the team's big goals for the next year?
Martin Wahlund:
With the success of Vermintide, one of our major goals for 2016 is to continue working with Vermintide. On top of that, we working away for the console release of Vermintide. It is a super exciting step for the game and the Fatshark team.

Chalgyr's Game Room:
When you set out to make Vermintide was this always your first idea? What inspired the use of traditional Warhammer?
Martin:
Being passionate fans of the Warhammer Fantasy IP, we’ve always wanted to create a Warhammer game that both stayed true to the beautifully dark atmosphere of the world and showed it off from a first person  perspective. To be able to walk along the gothic streets of a city in the Empire or to slash into the enemy with one’s axe were things we ourselves were craving from a Warhammer video game.

But the spark behind this idea was actually created back in 2003, when several of the members of the Vermintide team worked together on Headhunter Redemption. We played a lot of Warhammer Fantasy Battle during the little spare time we had  and always talked about how cool it would be to build a Warhammer game.

Almost ten years later, many of the members of that Warhammer group worked for Fatshark. Game Director Anders De Geer asked CEO Martin Wahlund if he could approach Games Workshop and talk about the license. After a couple of emails, Anders and Martin went over to Nottingham to talk about their vision for Vermintide. Games Workshop really liked the idea. The original plan was to bring in VC funding for the project, but when Fatshark sold their engine company Bitsquid to Autodesk in 2014, we were given the opportunity to self-fund the game we had always dreamt of making.


Chalgyr's Game Room:
Have you had any considerations to creating a 40k equivalent to Vermintide?
Martin:
It might definitely be something for us in the future, since both the gameplay style and the atmosphere would work great with the Warhammer 40k world as well. But it is not something we are looking into at the moment.

Chalgyr's Game Room:
With the first DLC releasing for the PC what is the team's plan for the next year?
Martin:
We are working on some exciting new things for the game, and are on top of that constantly optimizing the game and listening to the community for feedback and ideas. We plan on continuing to work closely with both Games Workshop and our dedicated community to ensure that the game continues into evolve and adapt to its playerbase.

Chalgyr's Game Room:
With naming being an interesting beast all on its own, how did Schluesselschloss ever come to be?
Martin:
Schluesselschloss is actually a well known location from the adventure “The Art of Waaagh”. It’s an interesting location due to its strategic position in the Grey Mountains, being guarding basically the only good pass through the mountains to Ubersreik. With a really interesting environmental setting that has a lot of history and lore behind it, it felt like the perfect place to have one of our DLCs. On top of that, it became an internal joke that no one pronounced the location the same way, and despite the difficult spelling, the name sort of stuck.

Chalgyr's Game Room:
On the subject of the new DLC what was your behind the awesome rational of letting others play it for free if one of their friends had it?
Martin:
Cooperation is one of the core pillars of Vermintide and has always been since the earliest stages of production. We therefore decided early on that if we were to create DLC content, we would need to figure out a way to not split the community up in the process. Allowing players to join the game of someone who owned the DLC therefore felt like a great way of solving this issue, and ensuring that every aspect of Vermintide has co-op in focus.


Chalgyr's Game Room:
What was the inspiration behind a solid 4-Player Coop experience regardless of playing either alone or with actual other players?
Martin:
We felt that the best way to approach a 4 player co-op game was to design every element of the game, be it pick ups, trinkets or enemies, with collaboration in mind. Good communication is required to make it through the game, and this comes from deciding who should get a specific pick up, which trinkets will benefit everyone the most or how to tackle a particularly challenging enemy, like the Rat Ogre.

Chalgyr's Game Room:
Have their been any considerations to adding a new character to the mix or allowing for players to play from the Vermin's point of view for a different experience?
Martin:
Fatshark is a relatively small team and we are focusing all of our efforts on making a really great co-op game. To ensure that Vermintide becomes an awesome Warhammer co-op game, we have not dedicated resources to making a PvP mode. Fatshark will continue to support Vermintide after release and the we will see what the future will bring!

Chalgyr's Game Room:
Have there been any challenges that the team have experienced that you would be willing to share?
Martin:
This is the first time we have been able to publish our own game with a budget that felt fitting for the size and scope of our plans. Having the freedom that comes with self publishing was both liberating and terrifying. While we were considerable more in control of our schedule and had more creative freedom, we were also haunted by the prospect that if the end result wasn't well received, it would be entirely our fault.

Our biggest take away was therefore that a little extra time can do a great deal for the quality, but give a project too much time and you risk working on it forever.

Chalgyr's Game Room:
With all of the new hype around Virtual Reality going around, would some of these fans possibly be able to look forward to charging through the hordes with a headset instead of a monitor?
Martin:
We are watching the VR development with much interest, so who knows what the future might hold on that front.

Chalgyr's Game Room:
Last but not least, what games have you been playing of late?
Martin:
Lately beside Vermintide I have been playing a lot of Diablo 3 and XCOM 2. I get back to Diablo 3.


We really want to thank Martin for his time and wish him and the entire Fatshark team the best with their future projects. We're excited to see what they will cook up next!

Article by Pierre-Yves
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