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Valnir Rok: An Interview with Game Director Sebastian Rahmel

Garrett Fuller Posted:
Interviews 0

Survival games continue to become the new playground of MMOs. Valnir Rok takes a great approach capturing life during the Viking era. You’ll have to battle it out, feed yourselves, and work to grow your reputation. Sebastian sat down with us to talk over the historical and mythical aspects of the game which brings this popular era to life. 

MMORPG: Vikings are great in any game, what sets the Vikings in Valnir Rok apart? How did the history of these famous people come into play when building the game?

Sebastian Rahmel: Actually, I love history. Since I was a little kid I loved stories of people in ancient and medieval times. I probably read almost any good historical novel about medieval times. I have a cabinet full of literature and specialists books about the era, especially ancient and early medieval stories about Germanic tribes, Celts and Vikings. I love the somewhat tragic sagas of old heroes like Siegfried, Beowulf or Arminius.

“Cattle die, kinsmen die; the self must also die. I know one thing which never dies: the reputation of each dead man.” (from Havamal, Edda)

Everything starts and ends with a story and we hope that players will experience their own story in our Valnir Rok.

MMORPG: urvival games are doing very well. Yet, their core mechanics have not evolved much, what sets up Valnir Rok to break out of the typical survival game concept?

SR: Well I guess there are many things that are different. One of our top features is that server owners can create their own story and quests. We believe on of the big appeals to our game is that story you can experience (written by author Giles Kristian) as well as creating your own story through these custom servers.

The crafting system is also a little different as you need to experiment and discover recipes; at first this could be a bit challenging, but is really fun once you know the logic. The combat system has more than one move, even combos and some tricks. It will also be improved further on as the game evolves in Early Access. We do not have a classic level system but we will have a specialization system and a religion system with special skills. Also, there will be a lot of community-functions like jobs and bounties.

MMORPG: You are adding quests into the game, also players can give each other quests. Can you explain this process?

SR: Actually we think that it is a lot easier to get into the game with quest and especially how the story ties to the quests in the game. Some quests are tragic, some are funny; in some you will have to make some decisions you might not like. Most quests will have a great impact on the relationship to the factions on the island and the gods as well.

Our quests are more an outline for the story of the game and to give users an idea on how to create their own quests.  The story and the quests have been written by bestselling novelist Giles Kristian and film director Phil Stevens. Giles Kristian has written 2 book series about the ancient Vikings. I was reading his books while developing the game, so it felt natural to ask him to write for us.

And like I said earlier, every server owner can create his own quests and storyline, so players can have a totally different experience depending on the server they are playing.

MMORPG: You have your clan, but can also seek outside factions as well. How many factions can a player pursue in the game?

SR: There will be 5 factions in the game:

Grything is a larger town on a cliff inhabited by Vikings, Jarl Erik lives here, who is an infamous and selfish ruler.

Svell is a former dwarven city in the north. Humans conquered the town and learned from the old dwarves to forge the best blades, but expelled the dwarves from their own city.

Aegas Ael is an Elven town mankind took over. They call themselves enlightened and are somewhat religious fanatics trying to destroy elven magic, but in actuality, they’re experimenting with it.

Himminslund is a holy grove where the Godis, the ancient priests, are trained and wisdom is gathered.

Wreckers are hidden on the island; you will find the camp of the wreckers that actually drew your ship to the shore to ambush it. So, will you get revenge?

MMORPG: What influence do the famous Viking gods have in the game? How do they benefit your character?

SR: We decided to come up with our own local gods: Yggjur, Kerska and Tjosul. These are the main gods of the Valnir Island.

  • Yggjur is the god of battle, power, death and ambition. He may give you power and strength.
  • Kerska is the goddess of hearth and home, agriculture, fertility, sex and love will help you to survive in the wilderness.
  • Tjosull the god of the forge, invention, trade and cunning will help you to build and craft.

The player will be able to achieve some special skills if he earns the favor of a god and also has a good relationship to the god. Every action you take in the game has an effect on the relationship to the gods.

There is also a creation myth written by Giles Kristian and Phil Stevens. The old gods are not missing completely but we focus on those local gods to make it less complicated.

MMORPG: In your trailer we see a player fighting a troll or giant. How much mythology has been put into the game?

SR: Actually, every mythical creature you find in the game like trolls, draugr (undead), werewolves or even dragons are found in the Norse mythology. So, we actually only took creatures from that mythology and gave our own fantasy style to each of these monsters.

MMORPG: What is your timeline? When will players can players get their hands on Valnir Rok?

SR: We plan to release the game as an Early Access title in September and want to improve the game as fast as possible. For example, a city building and management system is planned, a female character and lots of other features and improvements. We hope to finish the game sometime in early 2018.


Garrett Fuller

Garrett Fuller / Garrett Fuller has been playing MMOs since 1997 and writing about them since 2005. He joined MMORPG.com has a volunteer writer and now handles Industry Relations for the website. He has been gaming since 1979 when his cousin showed him a copy of Dungeons and Dragons. When not spending time with his family, Garrett also Larps and plays Airsoft in his spare time.