Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide
The End Times - Vermintide
|Director(s)||Anders De Geer|
|Genre(s)||First-person shooter, action|
Warhammer: The End Times – Vermintide is a 2015 first-person survival cooperative video game developed and published by Fatshark. The game is set in the Warhammer Fantasy universe. The game is multiplayer-only, and its structure is similar to Valve's Left 4 Dead series. Set in the End Times, players can team up with three other players to fight against the Skaven, a race of rodent-like monstrous creatures, in the city of Ubersreik. At the end of each match, the players are given the opportunity to roll dice, which determine the weapons they will receive as reward.
The development of the game began in early 2013 in Fatshark, after the company came to an agreement with Games Workshop. Games Workshop also collaborated with them to ensure the game is faithful to the Warhammer franchise. The game was self-published as they wanted to maximize their creative freedom. It was labelled by PC Gamer as the best game of Penny Arcade Expo. It was released for Microsoft Windows on October 23, 2015 and was released for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on October 4, 2016.
The game received generally positive reviews upon release. Critics liked the game's gameplay, progression system, visuals and map design, while criticizing the game's balancing issues and occasionally technical issues. The game was supported by both paid and free downloadable content and sold 300,000 copies within a month and over 2,000,000 copies by the end of 2017. A sequel titled Warhammer: Vermintide 2 was released for Windows on March 8, 2018.
Warhammer: End Times - Vermintide is a co-op-focused first-person shooter action video game set within the Warhammer universe. Set in the End Times, players can team up with three other players to fight against the Skaven, a race of rodent-like monstrous creatures, in the city of Ubersreik. Players can choose from five different heroes — Victor Saltzpyre (Witch Hunter), Markus Kruber (Empire Soldier), Bardin Goreksson (Dwarf Ranger), Kerillian (Wood Elf Waywatcher) and Sienna Fuegonasus (Bright Wizard). The five heroes have different skills. Some are more efficient in performing ranged attacks such as using firearms and arrows or casting magic, while some are more capable in using melee weapons like swords. At the end of each level, players will be awarded loot, such as trinkets and weapons. They also gain experience points to unlock weapons and are given the chance to roll dice. The dice players roll will determine the new gadgets they will receive. Different characters have different loot, and at high difficulty, the amount of loot rewarded is greater.
The game's design is similar to that of Left 4 Dead, in which players are tasked to fight off hordes of enemies in order to progress from one side of a level to another. There are several types of Skaven featured in the game. The most common type can be easily killed but they often come in a large swarm as to overwhelm players. The more elite ones include Skaven that are protected with heavy armor, Skaven that are equipped with toxic bombs, and even the massive Rat Ogre. The artificial intelligence featured in the game is dynamic, with hostile enemies spawning randomly. This mechanic is known as the "conflict director". The game also features a real-time narrative, which slowly unfolds as players progress through levels. Each character has their own personality and attitude towards the major events in the game.
Warhammer: End Times - Vermintide was developed by Fatshark, who had previously developed War of the Roses. According to Fatshark, the team had wanted to make a Warhammer game since they played Warhammer Fantasy Battle in 2004, but they lacked the team to do so. The studio was originally very small, but its size grew shortly afterwards after the closure of Amuze, in which a lot of its employees joined Fatshark. After the company's expansion, the team decided to approach Games Workshop for the Warhammer license in 2013, and their offer was accepted. Production of the game began in the beginning of that year.
According to Fatshark, having Games Workshop as a coordinator for their project was a "dream come true" for them. In order to be faithful to the franchise, the two companies worked closely together so as to ensure that their creative visions would not contradict with each other, and to confirm that the game had a "Warhammer feel". They also decided to self-publish the game, so that they can maximize their creative freedom. Vermintide was also the first game where the entire team at Fatshark worked together, and it enjoyed a much longer pre-production and production period than their previous projects.
Also, there are so many of them, which makes them the perfect enemy for a co-op game. We feel like it’s really important that you’re up against impossible odds at all times so you really need to cooperate
— Victor Magnuson, gameplay designer of Vermintide
The company had experimented with games like Escape Dead Island and Krater, and realized that among all the genres, the team are most capable in developing multiplayer games with co-operative gameplay, and they decided to specialize in it. Vermintide's main focus is co-op, and most gameplay features are built to enhance the experience and its replayability. According to the team, it is a game about surviving the apocalypse in the End Times. Therefore, they incorporated elements from Left 4 Dead in which players must work together to achieve success. Loot is given to players only when the main quests are completed. The team made this choice because they thought they should not award players for their mistakes. Enemies are designed to spawn in vast number, as the team thought that such large quantity can help these enemies to become the "perfect enemy for a co-op game". However, despite being co-op focused, players cannot play as typical fantasy characters like healers. Therefore, Fatshark decided to name these characters "heroes" instead of "classes".
The game's gameplay is a combination of melee gameplay and gunplay, which the team thought can craft a "visceral" experience for players. In order to prevent players from rushing through levels and pick on every enemy, they included enemies that should be evaded, such as some of the Elite units, and gameplay segments where players should carry out stealth. They hoped that through this approach, players can think and plan their moves accordingly and ultimately work together to prevent getting killed, as well as temporarily breaking the flow of actions.
The game was announced on February 5, 2015 with the release of an announcement trailer. The game was released for Microsoft Windows on October 23, 2015. The game is also set to release for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in the fourth quarter of 2016.
On December 3, Fatshark released the first content update titled Sigmar's Blessing for free to all owners of Vermintide. The update added 40 new weapons in a new tier called Veteran, as well as the Shrine of Solace which acts as a new way for players to spend their Salvage Tokens and gain weapons. Patch 1.1.5 was released on January 26, 2016, and added the ability to re-roll traits as well as upgrade their percentage to activate. Both of these uses the Salvage Tokens as their currency.
Patch 1.2, titled Last Stand, was released on March 7, 2016. It added a new endgame mode sharing the title of the update, Last Stand, in which the players battle an unending tide of vermin. As time goes on, the waves of enemies become bigger and stronger, increasing the difficulty. The players are rewarded by picking up Badges which spawn after certain waves around the level. The game mode was released for free along with one compatible level, titled Town Meeting. Town Meeting takes place in an area named Von Jungfreudsplayz which players have visited in a previous level.
Additional DLC was released over time, eventually totaling 12 new missions and 6 new weapons. The first released in March 2017, titled Schluesselschloss. It added 1 new map compatible with the Last Stand game mode. The second, titled Drachenfels, was released May 2016, and added 3 new missions and 2 new weapons. It was followed by Karak Azgaraz in December 2016, which added another 3 missions and 2 weapons. The fourth paid DLC, Stromdorf, added another 2 missions, 1 weapon, and 1 boss (Chieftain Krench) in May 2017. The fifth and final paid DLC, Death on the Reik, also added 2 missions and 1 weapon and was released in December 2017. The final mission for the game, titled Waylaid, was released in a free update in February 2018. The mission bridges the gap between the first and second games; the heroes end up captured at the end of it by the Skaven, setting the stage for their breakout and subsequent campaign in the sequel.
|PC Gamer (US)||90/100|
PC Gamer played the game at PAX Prime 2015 and awarded it the "Best game of PAX", stating that "What’s surprising about Vermintide, and absolutely central to its appeal, is how fresh it feels despite its deep similarities to Left 4 Dead." Upon release, the game was met with positive responses.
The game's co-operative nature received acclaim. Ian Birnbaum from PC Gamer called it the best co-operative multiplayer game to date since Left 4 Dead 2. He added that players staying together is essential, saying that it has successfully encouraged players to co-operate with each other. Dan Whitehead called the game "a thrilling twist on Left 4 Dead's co-operative action" but he is disappointed that the studio had not taken further risks to shape the game's identity. Joe Parlock from Destructoid echoed similar thoughts, noting the game's similarity with the Left 4 Dead franchise. Rob Zacny thought that the game was competent, but he thought that the game was not executed well, saying that it does not achieve the same height as the Left 4 Dead series does. He also added that the game lacks tension. A review in the Metro said the game "shamelessly copies the more specialised enemies from Left 4 Dead" and wished more had been done to differentiate the enemies from their Left 4 Dead counterparts.
The game's gameplay was praised. Birnbaum thought that the combat system is simpler than Fatshark's previous game, but he added that the game's simplicity is one of its strengths, as it enhances the "solidity" of the combat system. He also thought that all the characters featured in the game are unique, and none of them are boring. Parlock also praised the five classes, writing that their power feel very balanced. He also liked the game's combat, which he thought was involved, albeit simple. Whitehead thought that the game is satisfying and very fun to play. The progression system was also praised by him, as he considered that it has successfully given players motivation to play the game. Zacny also praised the progression system, saying that it encourages players to try some of the game's more difficult missions and segments. Scott Butterworth from GameSpot also admired the progression system, saying that it adds twists to the co-operative formula. However, he noted that characters in the game move too slow when compared to the fast action featured.
However, the game was criticized for its balancing issues. Whitehead noted that some of its maps are frustratingly difficult, and that the upgrades featured in the game do not correspond with the gadgets players own. Both Whitehead and Parlock noted that the game suffered from occasional bugs and glitches as well as other kinds of technical problems. Butterworth disliked the game's artificial intelligence, calling it unreliable.
It has sold over 300,000 copies as of November 11, 2015. Fatshark also announced that the game will be supported by multiple downloadable content, with the first one being Sigmar’s Blessing, which adds new loot. It was released on December 3, 2015. On April 1, 2016, Fatshark announced that the game's sales surpassed 500,000 units.
- Vermintide sells 2 million copies. December 2017.
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