At this year’s GDC, I got the chance to preview the latest game in the Warhammer franchise. Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide is being developed by Fatshark and promises to bring 4 player co-op action with a fantasy twist to the PS4. During my preview the developers were unabashed by the fact that they were heavily influenced by Valve’s zombie apocalypse hit Left 4 Dead, and are attempting to bring that quality and style of experience into a realm that is populated by knights and wizards, rather than high school coaches and riverboat gamblers. Although the preview was brief, I did notice that the combat was very fulfilling, each of the four classes that were displayed has a built in melee and ranged attack. The empire soldier that I played as had a massive sledgehammer for crushing Skaven, the rat-like people that are threatening to overwhelm the world within Vermintide, and a mini-gun style rifle for dispatching them at range.
Players were also able to play as the stealthy Waywatcher, a wood elf that has many similarities with the rogue class of many RPG’s. There are two other classes that weren’t playable, but were talked about during the demo. The Witch Hunter relies on a fencing foil for close range work, and the Bright Wizard uses fire as her weapon of choice. There is also a fifth class that has yet to be announced.
The story of Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide, is that while in the middle of a war with savage northmen, the Empire of Sigmar falls under the shadow of the Horned Rat who unleashes horde’s of Skaven (Rat Soldiers) into the town of Ubersreik, with the bulk of Sigmar’s other forces otherwise occupied, a team of heroes must venture into Ubersreik and stem the tide of the subterranean invasion.
Although many of the accessibility features of this game were not on display because of it’s pre-alpha stage, the developer’s at Fatshark assured me that they intended on having full subtitles as well as many other accessibility features. What I can say is this, the combat in Vermintide was satisfying, the team based mechanic meant that when I died, somebody was there to resurrect me, which made the game very forgiving for my fine-motor disability, and although it is heavily influenced by Valve’s mega-hit, Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide seems to give a fresh take on four player co-op action.