Mordhau (video game)
|Engine||Unreal Engine 4|
|Release||April 29, 2019|
|Genre(s)||Fighting, Hack 'n slash|
Mordhau is a multiplayer medieval hack 'n slash video game developed by Slovenian independent studio Triternion, with a prominent aspect of skill-based competitive play and customization. It features a combat system emphasizing hand-to-hand combat, loosely based on historical techniques such as feints, redirection, and alternative use of weapons. Other features include ranged weapons, siege engines and mounted combat. The game was released on April 29, 2019 on Steam.
In Mordhau, players engage in hand-to-hand combat with medieval weapons such as swords, spears, shields, hammers, bows, siege weapons and more. When in close-quarters combat, players can defeat their opponents by utilizing techniques like directional strikes, stabbing, kicking, dodging, blocking, and parrying while watching their health and stamina bars. Players may also ride horses in battle. The game can be played in either first person perspective or third person perspective.
Outside of gameplay, the player can edit and create mercenaries for most game modes. When creating or editing, the player can change their mercenary's body type, face, and voice for cosmetic purposes. Editing things like armor, weapons, and perks cost in-game points. Depending on what type of armor the player has it can affect the movement speed of the player like how wearing heavier armor will make the player move slower and cost more points, while there are only 3 levels of armor there are also cosmetic variations for armor. All weapons point values are roughly determined by the size of weapon as a light dagger wouldn’t be as costly as a heavy hammer. The perk system will grant the mercenary various passive abilities at the cost of points, the point value will scale higher up based off how ideally useful the perks are, an exception though, would be the peasant perk. It is the most expensive perk and restricts weapons and armor to equipment a peasant would have access to.
In this game mode, up to 48 players will form into two teams. Each team starts with 1000 points, and competes with the other team to earn more points by fighting each other, capturing opposing territory and completing the team's objectives. For every enemy defeated, the other team loses a point. Capturing central or enemy territory will reduce the opposing team's points. However, completing the team's objective will instantly end the game in favor of whichever team completed their objective.
In this game mode, up to 48 players will form into two teams, with one team acting as attackers and the other as defenders. The defenders must protect key objectives while the attackers must complete them to advance further. Once objectives are captured, the defenders must fall back to defend the next objective. The game is on a timer, which increases when the attackers secure an objective. The defenders win if the timer runs down to zero, while the attackers win if all objectives are completed within that time.
In this game mode, 64 players will compete against each other in a free-for-all match. When a player is defeated, they will lose the game and not spawn again. The last player standing will be the winner. At the start of the game, all players will spawn without weapons or armor. They must seek out chests containing equipment in order to increase their chance of survival. To avoid stalemates, a ring surrounds the entire map, and will slowly shrink to bring the players closer to each other.
In this game mode, a small team of players will be pitted against waves of computer-controlled enemies that will get increasingly harder each wave. Players will start with no weapons or armor, and their health will not regenerate normally. To regenerate health and earn weapons, the player must defeat the enemies and survive the round. Defeating an enemy will award the player a quarter of their health and currency. Completing a wave will refill the players health and award currency. Currency is used to purchase weapons and armor. All purchasable equipment is scattered all over the map, needing the player to have extensive knowledge of places like item locations.
This game is in the form of a team deathmatch; however, when a player is defeated, they will not spawn for the rest of the round. The last team standing will win the round. and play will continue until one team has won 7 rounds.
This game mode has everyone fight against each other with no teams or in a free-for-all. The first player to score the target amount of kills will win the game. Many Deathmatch servers are duel-only servers, where two players must emote at each other to initiate a duel, the emote used most often is the Flourish emote which is a basic sword twirl. 
This game mode is similar to deathmatch, except that the player will form two even teams and will compete for the most kills of players on the other team.
Marko Grgurovič, a Slovene PhD student of computer science at the University of Primorska, began development of Mordhau alone. With no experience in game development, Grgurovič had begun building a prototype in Unity called Project Slasher. After working on Project Slasher with another person for two years, the team decided to remake the entire project, as it was not up to their standards. During the next three years, Grgurovič was joined by other programmers, graphic designers, and animators from all over the world, many of whom enjoyed playing video games like Chivalry: Medieval Warfare and wanted to make something similar. This led to them founding the company Triternion, and producing first versions. In this time period, the development team switched from using Unity to Unreal Engine, and renamed the project to Mordhau.
In March 2017, the company launched the Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for development, which achieved its basic goal in less than 24 hours. The game was finally released on 29 April 2019.
Mordhau became an immediate success, selling 200,000 copies in less than a week, then exceeding 500,000 copies sold by 7 May. It reached the top of the Steam sales charts. Triternion apologized after its servers couldn't sustain the massive influx of players. About a month after its release, Mordhau had sold 1 million copies; to celebrate, the developers released a new map alongside new weapons and cosmetics.
Mordhau has a score of 81 on Metacritic based on 21 critic reviews. Prior to official release, Mordhau received praise from early reviewers for its fighting system, the chaotic but fun gameplay, and its graphics.
Reviewers enjoyed the game's intricate fighting system. James Swinbanks of GameSpot called it a "strategic, punishing and ultimately satisfying" video game. Destructoid's Patrick Hancock found it "exciting to find efficient and unique combos" that led to players developing their own unique play style. IGN's Samuel Horti enjoyed the "feeling of constant skill progression" as he gradually learnt the game's mechanics through experience and video tutorials. Javy Gwaltney of Game Informer shared this feeling, saying that "every increment of improvement is rewarded with spectacular displays of violence". However, GameSpot and IGN also shared the belief that the game's in-game tutorial could have done a better job of explaining the game's mechanics to new players. Swinbanks wrote that Mordhau did not provide adequate feedback to strikes, which made the game feel like a "slow, merciless grind of death after death" as you learned how to play. Horti wished that the game's tutorial would help him "learn by playing instead of turning to YouTube guides". T.J. Hafer from PC Gamer worried that the game's complexity might alienate players who wanted to play a supporting role in battle, stating that Mordhau "doesn’t support that playstyle especially well".
In a July 2019, article in PC Gamer, Samuel Horti described Mordhau's player base as having toxicity problems, claiming that many players who use homophobic, racist or sexist language in the game or on Mordhau's forums were not adequately punished by Triternion. He criticized Triternion's hands-off approach to word filtering and player banning in order to avoid claims of censorship. Horti also criticized Triternion's proposed approach to handling female and non-Caucasian characters in upcoming expansions. He quoted a Triternion artist who, when asked about character diversity, stated that the developers would "give [the players] the option to enable and disable different things". When prompted by PC Gamer for clarification, a Mordhau developer confirmed the stance, saying "it depends how [the Mordhau] community is in the future". A Mordhau moderator's post on Mordhau's Steam community forums dated April 2019 stated that the developers "might add a simple client-side toggle" for players concerned about character realism.
Subsequently, Triternion released a statement on Twitter, denying that they had considered adding the option for players to disable characters based on their ethnicity. On July 3, the company reaffirmed via a post on their own forums that they were not going to add those options, saying that "our official stance is that these toggle options are out of the question". Triternion elaborated that the idea was briefly discussed and ultimately discarded, but that the employees that PC Gamer interviewed were not aware of the final decision. The controversy was picked up by many major gaming sites.
- Plunkett, Luke (March 29, 2016). "Mordhau is the latest attempt to try and get first-person melee controls working properly in a video game". kotaku.com. Retrieved January 24, 2017.
- Link, Andreas (December 21, 2015). "Mordhau: Mittelalterlicher Ego-Slasher mit Schwertkampf-Simulation". pcgameshardware.de. Retrieved January 24, 2017.
- Schmidt, Dieter (December 21, 2015). "Mordhau: Erste Spielszenen des mittelalterlichen Kampfspiels". 4players.de. Retrieved January 24, 2017.
- Gach, Ethan (2019-04-30). "Mordhau Is A Clunky Game For Swordplay Nerds That I Can't Put Down". Kotaku. Retrieved 2019-05-04.
- "Mordhau Windows game - Indie DB". Indie DB. 3 April 2017. Archived from the original on 2 Feb 2017. Retrieved 18 Oct 2017.
- MORDHAU (2016-03-29), MORDHAU Devblog - #2 Melee Combat, retrieved 2019-06-28
- MORDHAU (2016-07-28), MORDHAU Devblog - #3 Customization, retrieved 2019-06-29
- Toms, Ollie (2019-06-21). "Mordhau game modes – explanations and tips for Frontline, Skirmish, Horde, and Duel Servers". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved 2019-07-01.
- "Mordhau". Kickstarter. 2017-03-08. Retrieved 2019-07-02.
- Horti, Samuel (2019-06-20). "How Mordhau went from janky community project to the biggest melee brawler on PC". PC Gamer. Retrieved 2019-07-02.
- Paprocki, Matt (2019-05-24). "Triternion's Mordhau And How International Cooperation Created The Indie Hit". Forbes. Retrieved 2019-07-02.
- "The move to Unreal Engine 4". mordhau.com. Retrieved 2019-07-02.
- Donnelly, Joe (2017-03-10). "Mordhau is a medieval multiplayer brawler with 64-player sieges". PC Gamer. Retrieved 2019-07-02.
- Patricio, Edana (2017-03-13). "'Mordhau': Why the game has been successfully crowdfunded in less than a day". International Business Times AU. Retrieved 2019-07-02.
- Tomšič, Matic (2019-05-02). "Izjemen uspeh Slovenca: postal je glavni v največji trgovini na svetu" [Exceptional success of a Slovene: he became chief in the largest market on the planet]. Siol.net (in Slovenian). Retrieved 2019-05-04.
- Boudreau, Ian (2019-05-07). "Mordhau has sold 500,000 copies in its first week". PC Gamer. Retrieved 2019-05-08.
- Wales, Matt (2019-05-02). "Developer of Medieval multiplayer melee slasher Mordhau apologises after unexpectedly strong launch hobbles servers". Eurogamer. Retrieved 2019-05-04.
- "Mordhau Celebrates 1 Million Copies Sold With New Map". ScreenRant. 2019-06-08. Retrieved 2019-06-20.
- "MORDHAU for PC Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2020-03-10.
- Swinbanks, James (2019-06-23). "Mordhau Review - Medieval Times". GameSpot. Retrieved 2019-07-02.
- Hancock, Patrick (2019-06-01). "Review: Mordhau". Destructoid. Retrieved 2019-07-02.
- Horti, Samuel (2019-05-23). "Mordhau Review". IGN. Retrieved 2019-07-02.
- Gwaltney, Javy (2019-06-28). "Mordhau Review – A Well-Struck Blow". Game Informer. Retrieved 2019-07-02.
- Hafer, T. J. (2019-05-17). "Mordhau review". PC Gamer. Retrieved 2019-07-02.
- Horti, Samuel (2019-07-01). "Rampant racism and toxicity are driving players away from Mordhau". PC Gamer. Retrieved 2019-07-03.
- Orland, Kyle (2019-07-02). "Mordhau developer denies it was planning a "toggle" for diversity". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2019-07-03.
- Hall, Charlie (2019-07-02). "Mordhau's plans for women and people of color are confusing everyone". Polygon. Retrieved 2019-07-03.
- Thapliyal, Substitute (2019-07-02). "Mordhau's Developers Walk Back a Proposed Toggle Enabling Players to Turn off Nonwhite Characters". Paste Magazine. Retrieved 2019-07-03.
- Hall, Charlie (2 July 2019). "Mordhau's plans for women and people of color are confusing everyone". Polygon. Retrieved 20 February 2020.
- Kim, Matt (3 July 2019). "Mordhau's Community, Developers Facing Messy Situation Involving Racism, Sexism - IGN". IGN. Retrieved 20 February 2020.
- Smith, Graham (3 July 2019). "Mordhau devs deny plan for toggle to hide women and non-white characters, after telling people of that exact plan". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved 20 February 2020.
- D'Anastasio, Cecilia (3 July 2019). "Mordhau Developers Address Controversy, Saying They Won't Add Gender Or Race Filters". Kotaku. Retrieved 20 February 2020.
- Saed, Sherif (2 July 2019). "Mordhau developers backtrack following contradictory statements about ethnicity toggle". VG247. Retrieved 20 February 2020.