V Rising Dev Reacts To Huge Early Hit: “I Don’t Think Anyone Expected It To Be That Big”
It’s hard to explain a vampire-themed competitive open-world survival action-RPG. That’s why for Stunlock Studios, developers of V Rising, the priority was to get people playing as soon as possible.
Since launching via Steam Early Access on May 17 in a particularly complete state, V Rising has grown in popularity day by day. It hit nearly 50,000 players within hours of its release, and as of May 23, has reached a 24-hour peak of over 150,000. For context, more people have played V Rising today than the Steam versions of Grand Theft Auto V or Elden Ring.
“I absolutely didn’t expect so many people,” Stunlock community manager Jeremy Fielding said just as V Rising hit 80,000 players and sold 500,000 copies in total. “I don’t think anyone expected him to be that big.”
V Rising begins with the player, as a fully customizable vampire, waking up from a century-long slumber, very weak and in need of blood. But what starts out as a survival action game in the vein of Diablo quickly turns into a fully open world adventure with base building, not to mention co-op and multiplayer. As a result, it’s a sprawling multi-genre beast that grabs huge swathes of the modern MMO landscape and reuses them.
Stunlock has been working on V Rising for about three years but only revealed it in May 2021 – and few people seemed to pay attention. “The build-up was slow,” Fielding said with a laugh. “A very small company with a brand new IP address? It took a long time for a lot of people to start noticing this.
That changed as soon as they got to play V Rising. “We really started getting a lot of attention when we got into the closed beta, when people really had a chance to get their hands on the game,” Fielding said. “I think that’s when they started paying attention, which makes sense.
“People just want to play. When you hear about the concept, it’s really hard to grasp what it is,” Fielding continued. “We have a pretty unique game that’s kind of hard to explain – we say dark fantasy vampire survival action RPG – and when you say there’s a million different things your brain can do with it. I think it doesn’t really transform until you see it or feel it.
Screens – V Rising
V Rising has slowly but surely built a strong community since the beta was released, with some of its most dedicated members even answering questions from new players while Fielding helps out the other tens of thousands.
“These people are happy to be here and happy to stand up for us, to speak on our behalf and to spread information for us because we have made a good place for them,” he said. “I am super grateful to our entire community right now. I know that sounds super cheesy, but it really makes things so much easier.
Staying in touch with and listening to the community is one of the ways Stunlock plans to move V Rising forward. Fielding said he and his team have already been asked why the game is in early access, as it seems pretty comprehensive, but given its wide range of genres and mechanics, getting V Rising played is almost a necessary step. towards a full launch. .
“We know there are a million base systems in the game that can all expand in infinite directions,” Fielding said. “We leave it a bit open because we see how people interact with our systems because players will do anything. Especially if you give them an open world game, the way they play will always be different from what you you expect. So we plan to accommodate that.
Stunlock already has some projects. Notably, he wants to expand and improve the end game of V Rising: “But there are so many other ways to work on that,” Fielding said. “The design philosophy of the game is that every system in the game should affect every other system, so we want to observe, adapt, and fill in the scope going forward.”
Working on these new systems may require a bit of a wait though, as Fielding says, “Right now, we’re just making sure everything runs smoothly.” V Rising’s launch day was a rollercoaster as a small delay added additional stress to the team. before they can finally release their game.
“The combination of people both disappointed and incredibly excited creates quite a turbulent atmosphere,” Fielding said. “It was this amazing round of people being incredibly upset and frustrated, and then the game goes live, it suddenly gets a lot quieter, and then ten, 20 minutes later people start raving about the game. It’s an amazing feeling to see people love something you’ve worked so hard into.
The team spent the next few hours sharing their concurrent player numbers, with everyone rushing to post the latest milestone. “It was a super exciting night,” Fielding said. “I was in the battle station, just trying to make sure everything was going well, but a lot of people in the studio were able to relax and watch. They were watching the streams and everyone was cheering every time we crossed a cap. We had it on a big TV.
Luckily, Stunlock has over-prepared when it comes to servers, thanks to its previous game Battlerite also being an unexpected hit and therefore having early connectivity issues. “Even so, we still have too much,” Fielding said, “but we don’t expect it to be a problem.”
V Rising also allows players to host their own servers, which has obviously contributed to player load, as Fielding points out that, surprisingly, most of its servers are player-run. All of this carries over to the variety of V Rising, “because I think one of the most interesting things about our games is the flexibility of our servers and the different ways we offer people to modify their experience to enjoy it. ‘appropriate,'” Fielding said.
This is another area he plans to observe, so Stunlock can see exactly what players want and build the rest of their game around that. The developer isn’t ready to talk about when these updates will arrive, in part because he doesn’t really know what they are. are Again. It’s worth remembering that despite so much and so many players now being invested in the future of V Rising, the game has only been in Early Access for a few days.
Stunlock is committed to V Rising for the long term, however. “There are a lot of really cool little things in the game that I think more needs to be done, and we plan to do that,” Fielding said. “I think when we get to the full version, people will really realize what our intention is to make this a fully fleshed out experience. And then after that, there are so many things we can still do.
“It’s so cool in the genre. There are many ways to expand your systems and improve them. It’s just an amazing long term vision that we can do.
Ryan Dinsdale is an IGN freelancer who sometimes remembers tweeting @thelastdinsdale. He’ll be talking about The Witcher all day.