Warhammer 40000: Darktide Interview: Combat, Classes, Co-op, Loot and More

Our Warhammer 40K: Darktide interview with Head of Design Victor Magnuson about different aspects of the game.

Warhammer 40000: Vermintide 2 can be considered a critical and a commercial success. Both fans and critics admired the game a lot. Since the game was a hit, it was natural for Fatshark to consider a new game in the series. So back in 2020, Fatshark announced Warhammer 40000: Darktide as a successor to Vermintide 2. The game was originally scheduled to release in 2021 however, due to COVID-19, the game’s release was pushed back into 2022.

Now, in 2022, Fatshark has confirmed that Warhammer 40K: Darktide will release on September 13 for PC and Xbox Series X|S. It will also be a Day One Game Pass Release just like Vermintide 2. Darktide is expected to enhance the overall Vermintide 2 experience for the players while keeping the core experience intact. To know, more about the game, we sat down with Head of Design, Victor Magnuson to discuss different topics about Warhammer 40K: Darktide.

Q: When considering the immense lore behind the Warhammer games, will Darktide welcome newcomers or players who have skipped recent games?

We are taking the same approach to the lore as we did with the Vermintide series, our goal has always been to make sure that our games are approachable by newcomers and veterans alike. For newcomers it should be a cool new world that they can dive into and we make sure that no real pre-existing knowledge is required, and for the Veterans we make sure to steep everything in as much lore and details as possible to make sure they feel recognised and call things out as they see them. Our objective has always been to portray these worlds as if they were a real place. Hopefully Darktide can be a springboard into the expansive lore of Warhammer 40.000 just as Vermintide has been for many players for the fantasy setting.

Q: What can we expect when we step inside the Hive City for the first time?

The crazy thing about hive cities is the insane scale they operate in, we are talking about a city that can span the width of a continent and bury deep down below the surface of the planet and reach out into the atmosphere at the same time. Most people living in one of these cities very likely have never ever seen anything of the outside world. It was quite a challenge to depict something that is so far from any reality that we know of today is sort of like being inside a space station but on the planet surface where both above and below the players there is this never ending mesh of structures that make up the inner workings of this truly massive city.

Q: Darktide will feature a character creator. Can you outline how deep customizations will go?

We have created quite a deep character customization system in Darktide both from a narrative and a cosmetic point of view. Players will both be able to choose the backstory of their character as well as how they look and speak. The customization options range from picking a body type to selecting what tattoos or scars your character has. All to be able to create a character that fits what your fantasy would look like. We also allow you to select from a preset of voices and each choice will actually give a completely different selection of voice lines.

Q: Your previous games had five character classes. Can you confirm if Darktide will receive a fifth class as well?

We elected to go in a different direction in Darktide (compared to Vermintide) and provide the player with 4 different archetypes or classes to choose from and customize to their own liking instead of going down the route of predefined characters as in Vermintide. Through progression you will further be able to customize your class to play as you want within the limits of what is available to that chosen archetype. One of the benefits of our new system is that it opens up for us to add more archetypes down the line as the game service goes on, something that was difficult in Vermintide. But when the game releases there will be a Veteran, Ogryn, Zealot and Psyker to choose from.

Q: Let’s talk about your plans to continue expanding the storyline through a live service approach. What can we expect from every weekly update?

There will be bigger and smaller beats depending on the timeframe but something that we are really excited about is the ability to weave narrative into smaller updates such as a weekend event where we will tie even something as trivial as a double xp weekend into a narrative context and with approach relay a sense of a living ongoing world where things happen in the hive that you as a player should react to. There will also be bigger narrative beats such as new missions and new areas of the Hive that we release on a regular basis.

We have built a lot of systems that will allow us to do both big and small updates that should all add to a sense of an ongoing narrative. But the details of those are a bit too early to go into.

Q: Regarding the loot system. Is it the same as Vermintide? Will we be spending time to re-roll our stats again?

Darktide features a similar but re-designed loot system from Vermintide you will still be getting new weapons in the way of loot drops however we have changed the delivery mechanisms a bit from Vermintide.

The biggest difference from Vermintide is the addition of some shop mechanics which will allow players that due randomness will be able to purchase a weapon they really want for credits that they acquire by completing missions. In this way players that are unlucky and do not get that weapon they most desire from the loot system can simply save up some credits and purchase it from the weapon store.

There is also a crafting system that will allow players to finetune the stats and traits attached to their weapons to be able to create the weapon of their dreams. The crafting system will allow players to move a trait from one weapon to another and in that way even further customize the weapon they want.

Q: The game only features online co-op, yes? Did you guys consider bringing couch or split-screen co-op for the game? A lot of players still love to play split-screen, don’t they?

The game is online co-op only. We have of course considered making a split screen mode but there is quite frankly just so much going on at any given time that being able to play it two players on the same machine would not result in an enjoyable experience both from a gameplay perspective as well as a performance perspective.

Q: How can we differentiate Darktide from Vermintide 2 apart from being set in two different worlds? What can fans expect?

Darktide is in very many ways a translation of Vermintide into the Warhammer 40.000 universe and with that translation a heavier emphasis on ranged combat is a natural progression. We have spent quite a bit of time to really invest into our ranged combat to ensure that it is as satisfying as our well known melee combat.
Darktide has also been developed with the knowledge that our games live for a very long time and players will want us to create interesting updates to the game at a steady pace. This approach has gone into every aspect of the design of the game from how we create our missions to how our characters and classes are created even down to how we designed our VO system has this in mind so we will be able to add new lines down the line and they will blend into the existing dialogue in a natural way.

Q: Warhammer 40,000: Darktide is also coming to gamepass Day 1. How has your experience with Microsoft’s service? Is it worth it to forfeit some retail sales for the service?

The biggest benefit of being a part of Gamepass is the sheer amount of players that it exposes our game to and for a game that is reliant on a living player base to be truly successful this is a huge gain.

Q: What resolution and FPS the game is going to run on Xbox Series X/S?

On Series X, the game will run at 4k 60fps. As for Xbox Series S, It will be 1080p/1440p 60fps.

Saqib is a managing editor at segmentnext.com who has halted regime changes, curbed demonic invasions, and averted at least one cosmic omnicide from the confines of his gaming chair. When not whipping his writers into ...