Developer of Windows PC action game War of the Roses, Fatshark, announced the game's spiritual successor today: War of the Vikings.
Unlike War of the Roses, War of the Vikings is a multiplayer-only experience and focuses on the close-quarter combat of the Viking Age, set in Saxon-controlled England.
Speaking to Polygon, executive producer Gordon Van Dyke said that while the game uses the same close-quarter combat tech as its predecessor, the gameplay is inherently different because of the game's source material. Where War of the Roses was set in 15th century England — a time when swords, shields and armor were relatively advanced and soldiers fought with codes and rules — War of the Vikings embraces the era's lack of rules.
"Nobody would attack somebody's monasteries, but the vikings didn't care."
"During the time of War of the Roses, it was more about precision — they had handbooks, they had training and lessons. A lot of things were written out and there were rules to that sport. It was almost like the Geneva Convention of the time," Van Dyke said. "But at this time, there was none of that. It was pure aggression. It was viking culture versus other cultures, and they were very pragmatic, devious and cunning. They would use other people's cultures and rules and standards against them, like attacking monasteries in England. Nobody would attack somebody's monasteries, but the vikings didn't care."
The technology that was available during the time also changes up the way combat works. The vikings didn't have access to advanced armor or metals. Axes were used to break people's wooden shields — soldiers would hack and chop and slash to try to break through those defenses. According to Van Dyke, metal was brittle and snapped easily, which means soldiers couldn't have those long, parried-out scenarios. "We've factored that into our experience," he said.
Van Dyke said when the development team decided to set its game in the Viking Era, it was careful to research the truths and myths of the culture to allow the facts to inform the game design. The team also looked to feedback it had gathered from War of the Roses.
"Lots of our players wanted us to increase accessibility. Some people felt it took a little too long to get into the game. We wanted it to be easy to play the basic elements of the game, but to also increase the depth by adding more mechanics to the system in layers," he said. "This way, a lot of new players can just jump in and play, but those who want to master the skill can practice and their skill will show through."