V Rising was a surprise release in the month of May. The game got released in early access and it quickly gained the popularity and became one of the most played games just after its release. The game also saw more than 100k concurrent players on Steam at one time. Since the early access release, the developer has been busy in updating and fixing the game. They have big plans for the game though and in an interview with Segmentnext, Stunlock Studios was able to share some details about V Rising and their future plans.
Q: Firstly, congratulations on hitting 1 million in sales in the first week alone. It felt like V Rising was announced one day and then took over Steam the next. How surprised were you to see that big of a response?
Stunlock: Thanks so much! I can say we were certainly surprised by the volume of the response, which isn’t to say we didn’t have faith in our game doing well or that we weren’t putting in a lot of marketing efforts leading up to the launch. Setting the stage for release was an essential part of our launch strategy, we just didn’t expect it to be quite THIS well-received, but… I mean, who could have? You never know how players are going to react to something you put out there, no matter how much smaller-scale feedback you get, no matter how much you love it, you never know how other people are going to connect to this project that you love. Seeing everyone jump on it and love it as we do has been an unforgettable experience, and we’re incredibly thankful for it.
Q: Going from arena brawlers to an action role-playing survival game, how did that transition come about? In the same vein, V Rising looks to have gone into development just when Tencent bought major shares in 2019. Was that something that further helped you spread your creative wings?
Stunlock: After Battlerite, the team looked back on their game history, three highly competitive PvP games, and just felt like they were ready to take on something new. We decided to take the experience with action combat and bring it to a project with a larger, more ambitious scope and new challenges to face as a studio. I wasn’t personally around in 2019, but I do know that the help of an investor certainly lets you focus more of your attention on fulfilling your creative needs instead of your financial ones.
Q: How exactly are you planning to expand crafting, which some players already find to be time-consuming? Are you considering cutting down on some of that grind?
Stunlock: Well, I’d say a lot of players very much enjoy the crafting aspect of the game. For many, it’s a cool-down period that they enjoy between the outings, or maybe they even enjoy the cool-down period MORE than they enjoy the outings. There are systems for everyone, like our servant system that lets you offload a significant portion of your gathering efforts onto your gathered and converted human thralls. We also have server settings that serve to let you tailor your experience to be more to your liking. If you are not fond of gathering, you can just make a server with 5x resource gathering speed.
Q: Just for fans, can you hint one new biome that you’re looking forward to adding in the game?
Stunlock: Let’s just say they’ve already got a little taste, and there’s more to come.
Q: We have seen a lot of indie games land on consoles after enjoying a successful release on Steam. Is that something you’re interested in for V Rising?
Stunlock: Right now, we’re pretty solidly focused on the PC experience. This is already a massively ambitious project for us as it is, so we’re taking this stuff one step at a time. That said, further, down the line, we will look into the possibilities of bringing the game to other platforms.
Q: Do you agree that with the success of V Rising, you have a franchise on your hands to pursue in the future?
Stunlock: V Rising and the world of Vardoran definitely have a lot of potential for future projects, but we’re just getting started with our Early Access launch of this game! V Rising has our full attention now up until release, and we’ve already got so much we want to do that the expansion of the game will keep us busy for a good long time. Where we go after that is a topic down the road.
Q: Any plans to release the game for Steam Deck? Have you guys gone for the verification yet?
Nothing just yet that I know of. I know there’s a very dedicated community trying to get it to work there, and it would be nice to get it going for them. We have many things to focus on right now though it’s hard to say when or if it will become a high priority.
Q: Can players expect different game modes like a specific PvP arena for V Rising?
Stunlock: In a way, private servers allow players to make a lot of these game modes for themselves. If they get popular enough, maybe it will become prudent to offer them more support in a way they can’t do themselves! It’s a fun idea but hard to promise any specific features at this time. We aren’t quite into our first month since the release, and we’ve been very focused on getting the game into a comfortable state with better quality of life features and bug fixing.
Q: So a lot of players must have rented dedicated servers from your partner G-Portal, right? Can you share any stats ( a rough percentage) of how many players chose to rent a server?
Stunlock: Players rent dedicated servers from a wide range of places and even host them themselves! I can say that there are quite a few private servers. It may even surprise you to find that they far outnumber the official ones. On G-Portal alone, we have over 30,000 private servers being hosted for V Rising matched up against only 1,045 Official Stunlock servers.
Q: So live service games like V Rising sometimes struggle with player retention. Some players are already worried about the longevity of the game. How do you plan to keep player retention up to the mark?
Stunlock: We don’t consider V Rising as a game that needs a large population to continue to be fun, and it really just isn’t a live service game in that sense. Servers are relatively small, and the preferred experience on many of them is just a private PvE run-through. We are a survival game, a very resilient genre, much like the name suggests.
People have said the most amazing things about our little vampire project, and it warms our cold, undead hearts to hear it, but at the same time, we do not feel beholden to keeping every single person playing indefinitely. That said, we do work towards a final product with improved longevity and new ways to experience Vardoran, and we will do our very best to make sure people come back for our updates. We aim to make the full release of V Rising an evolution of the game, and there will be some super exciting additions coming. We’re also looking forward to seeing players continue making new servers with crazier and more fascinating rule sets, who will design alongside us and make wonderful little communities.
Seems like Stunlock has a clear vision for the game and when we inquired about the plans of a release window, they replied:
We have a clear vision for the future of V Rising that we’re going to be working for, and we have a good idea of how long we’ll need to do it. With that being said, we’d still like to be a little flexible with that time to ensure we put out the best version of the game we can, so we won’t be announcing any estimated timelines for full release just yet.
So clearly, they are trying to be cautious here. And it’s pretty natural as development plans can change depending on different variables. We just want to that when the game eventually releases, it’s complete vision that developers want players to experience.