War of the Vikings Preview: Customization, women and foreign tongues
At PDXCon 14, I was able to go hands-on in a 8 vs. 8 multiplayer session in War of the Vikings. I had the chance to familiarize myself with the nuanced combat of the game, and to also get some time with the character customization.
For those scratching their heads, War of the Vikings is a spiritual sequel of sorts to War of the Roses, but now at the forefront is an ongoing battle between the Vikings and the Saxons. The dev team made some awesome advancements in the game through its Early Access lifecycle.
A truly impressive feature to me was the Icelandic and Olde English voiceovers, which allow you to always hear your enemy shouting in another language, even though you hear English for your own team. After hearing this, it wasn't surprising to me that the team has spent some extensive time studying and learning about Vikings and their era.
One of the more surprising additions will be female characters, though the explanation was rather simple. In that time, women had a choice to make. Some would be content with being wives and tending to their warrior husbands, while others intended to pick up the sword and fight beside their male warriors. Since War of the Vikings thrives on a realistic depiction of the Viking era, you can forget about armor that shows off a lot of skin. Since women warriors were something of a rarity, there wasn't armor made specifically for their bodies, so they had to repurpose a male Viking's armor. It's bold to include females in such a brutal setting, but considering that they're going for authenticity, I applaud them for it.
This guy is ready to sink that hatchet into your skull
Though female warriors weren't yet available in the build we got to play, I did get some extensive time with the character cusomization menu. It wasn't overly complicated, and allowed for some quick changes to your armor as well as primary and secondary weapons. It's important to note that there was no 'best' weapon that a player could buy, and instead, all of them were just visually different from one another. Basically, the visually stunning weapons will separate the veterans from new players. You'll be able to tell that someone has put some considerable amount of time into the game if they're decked out with an adorned sword, and gorgeous armor. Of course players can also be strategic about this and keep their starting gear on indefinitely, making others think they're new to the game.
The game is currently scheduled for official release in March, though players can hop in right now if they purchase it on Steam Early Access. Once the game does come out, it will come in three separate tiers. The first is just the base game, while the second, Blood Eagle Edition, will come with some extensive bonus content such as a soundtrack, art book and some special items. The meatiest of the three is the Valhalla Edition, which will retail for $150, and will include all the previously mentioned content, as well as all future planned content for free, which could include items not pertaining to the game itself, but the franchise. An example we were given, although told there was no such thing planned, was a War of the Vikings movie.