Die for Valhalla! is right around the corner and to find out more about this interesting looking experience, we sat down with developer Monster Couch to dig up the proverbial dirt.
Xt: For our readers, can you tell us what Die for Valhalla! is all about?
MC: Die for Valhalla! is a great way to bring viking violence to your couch. Grab a friend (or two, or three) and go help Vikings save their world. In the game you are a Valkyrie, a norse spirit of war and you can take control of Vikings and other things to use them to your advantage. In just a few dry words: you go right, hack&slash things, watch funny/weird cutscenes and upgrade your character between levels. There is, of course, more.
Xt: Blending Norse Mythology and Lovecraftian mythos is an interesting idea. How did this concept come about?
MC: We wanted to make a game where your characters die a lot, where, in a way, dying is just part of the process. Your character dies but the game continues, Viking’s life is cheap, you can always possess another one as long as you take good care of the Valkyrie.
Then, as a bonus, norse mythology already has this concept of monsters from “the outside” invading the world. We just took it a few steps further. It’s a perfect match for a game that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Xt: On average, how long do you anticipate the game will take to complete?
MC: 6-7 hours for the “Normal” mode. Perfect run through “Hardcore” will take less, but well, good luck with that!
Xt: How difficult do you rate Die for Valhalla! to be?
MC: It’s easy enough so that you can grab your spouse and play together, as things are designed so that stronger player can “carry” the team. But! If you have a group of seasoned gamers then the Hardcore mode might fit your taste, you will have to take care of each other because if one of the Valkyries die, you all lose. Normal is normal and hardcore is hardcore, I wish I had a better answer.
Xt: The game supports solo-play and local play, with up to four players in total. Can you explain more about that?
MC: It’s probably what you already expect from a beat ’em up kind of a game. Solo mode is slightly more challenging because second player gives you more (as in any) opportunities to flank enemies. When playing solo you will have to find more creative ways to kill some of the monsters but tools to do that are out there.
Xt: What sort of tools can players expect to utilize on their journey?
MC: Vikings! We think of a Viking as of your weapon, when you want a different weapon you grab another Viking. Then there is the scenery: barrels, bushes, traps, pales, mushrooms, etc. and each of the objects can be possessed and used.
Xt: Can you tell us more about the skills that players can choose from when leveling up their Valkyrie?
MC: Some are just stat bonuses, but most of them give you bonuses when you do something specific. Like receiving a short buff each time you send a Viking away or kill marked enemies in certain order. Some of them apply to the leveling screen itself, like runes can start giving you more bonuses based on runes around them, or give you a wider selection of skills for future level ups. Then there are also the skills that expand your possession ability to enemies, which can lead to interesting situations.
Xt: The game dishes up two story modes; Beat ‘Em Up and Rogue-Lite. Can you describe the differences between each?
MC: One is when you want to play with someone who is not great at games, and one is for when you want to play with someone who is. We have now renamed them in-game to Normal and Hardcore to give a more clear idea to people who are not used to gamesy terms. I think rogue-lite was a nice descriptor for something that is not only difficult and unforgiving but also treacherous at times (with the potions you have to learn) so we kept it in the body of the description for hardcore mode.
Xt: Die for Valhalla! has been well recognized for its design, diversity and depth. What’s been your team’s biggest takeaway so far, as far as feedback is concerned?
MC: There are some people who wish Die for Valhalla! was more of a classic, slower-paced beat ’em up where it’s easy to stun-lock an enemy and that’s just not the game we have set out to make. Once someone grabs a gamepad they are often surprised how much fun they have playing. It’s very difficult to show the “game feel” on screenshots and even in a trailer.
Xt: Do you plan to support this game post-launch?
MC: Yes we do! We have three routes we would want to expand the game. New worlds and stuff for the base campaign is one. Second is making a mini-campaign that tells a story more focused on making sure a particular Viking has survived. Third is expanding the deathmatch and adding more modes better suited for short one-off party sessions. We are already working on a new world and we’ll see how that goes. Speaking frankly, it depends a lot on how well the game does financially because we have families to feed.
Xt: If you had to pick, what’s your favorite aspect of the game?
MC: I love the competition and stealing potions from each other. We have this mechanic that if you have a potion and an enemy kills you, the bonus is lost. But! If another player kills you, and there is no direct friendly fire in the game so you have to be creative, the potion drops from you. Just target someone who takes such things well.
Xt: Thank you for your time, do you have any closing words to share?
MC: Just give it a try and let me know what you think at stomt.com/valhalla
Once again, thanks a heap for your time. Readers, if Die for Valhalla! has caught your interest, know that the game’s launch is currently set for May 30th.