Sweden has become a leading country in the “tree-cutting game” industry.
Generally speaking, it is not uncommon for a game to remain at the top of the Steam Hot List for several weeks. For example, a suspected money laundering game (GTA) can be easily squeezed into the list with a frequent discount. However, like “Valheim” (Valheim), which has just started the demo experience stage, it has completed millions of sales and occupied the top position of online users in a short period of time. It is really hard to find a few of them over the years. A.
In the month since its launch in early February, “The Temple of Valor”, a role-playing game based on the Nordic Viking mythology with survival/construction/craftsmanship mechanisms, has achieved an amazing sales of 4 million copies. And with the data of the highest number of simultaneous online users of 500,000, it was ranked among the top five in the history of Steam.
Of course, people will be curious about this kind of game that has been reported twice-if you are a colleague, you can even feel jealous. Why does such a work that is similar to other survival games in terms of core gameplay and overall details stand out? What is its extraordinary charm? Whether at home or abroad, many in-depth analyses on this topic have also emerged.
The success of the game itself is certainly pleasing, but this work may not be so important in the eyes of us outsiders-or non-Swedes. But this game is almost completely independent of the identity of European and American game companies, but it has to be said that it is a goal that Swedish gamers have been working hard to achieve over the years.
A summary of the type of gameplay
Regardless of the work or the user base, survival games like “Temple of Valor” have already formed a considerable scale on Steam. This type of game usually randomly generates an open map with a large amount of interactive content based on data, and has a rich construction and production system. Because its rules emphasize the collection of materials, players often need to spend a lot of time hoarding resources, and the game is usually motivated by the environment modification function with a high degree of freedom.
In China, these games are generally called “sandboxes”, and some people directly call them “tree-cutting games.” Of these, the most representative one is naturally “My World”.
Although they are now a very popular genre, the promotion of sandbox games still has its limitations. Here I think it is related to the different game habits of everyone.
Although people have gradually become more accepting of weakly guided and open-structured game formats in recent years, most people still need a clear goal to play games. I remember that someone mentioned to me before that the reason why I was reluctant to try similar games such as “The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim” was because I was “don’t know what to do, where to go, and what to do first.” Persuaded by the confusion.
The process model is still the same compared to traditional open world games, and the sandbox, which is known for its loose and casual nature, is naturally more serious in this regard. Therefore, in the past two years, such tree-cutting games have also begun to focus on adding tasks to the process in order to draw players into the door in some easier-to-understand ways.
However, if you look closely, from “Ark: Survival Evolved” to “Conan Exiles”, the tasks of these games are basically “picking a firewood → making a pile of fire → building a house → cutting a monster”, etc. content. From a formal point of view, the so-called missions are just for novices to guide, and they are always just for the players to get started as soon as possible. The role of immersing in the story experience is minimal (the story of this kind of game is indeed very light).
The selection process of “The Temple of Valor” is similar to that of “Starbound”. They both guide players to familiarize themselves with the game mechanics while combining it with a staged plot. It’s just that the content of its story is simpler and rude.
With the opening of a somewhat deliberately misunderstood “chicken eating game”, you are led by a huge black bird to descend into the world of “The Temple of Valor”. A crow named “Fujin” (Huggie) becomes your guide. Whenever you accomplish something-rub a hammer with your hand or come to a new place, it will act as an explanation and A guide to the next goal.
After learning about the basic systems from logging to crafting, players brought tributes and equipment that barely made up to the altar to verify the results of repeated labor in the previous few hours. The main line of “The Hall of Valor” requires players to defeat several BOSS hidden in the map to complete the trial of the gods to enter the Hall of Valor. The purpose is simple and extremely simple, but you need a set of equipment that is enough to challenge the BOSS. This accumulation process is the key content of the entire game.
Like all similar games, hoarding materials and exploring construction are basically interactive and parallel. In addition, the character upgrade system of the game adopts the proficiency concept of “The Elder Scrolls”. From running and jumping to the use of various weapons, almost all actions will make you stronger and stronger. The repetitive work and the establishment/completion of small goals make it play with a strong atmosphere of “living” in the game world.
The pace of the game is relatively slow, and it takes a certain amount of time to immerse in it. I think the initial climax came from the first time you swung the antler pick-it turns out that this game, like Minecraft, can also change the terrain at will.
This surprised me very much, because although the game uses a coarse pixel picture style, at least the image structure is still more complicated, and technically it is definitely more difficult to implement than the MC square grid. And it also follows a set of credible laws of physics. When digging tunnels on rainy days, water will accumulate, and objects built will collapse due to the upper limit of load. The production team even prepared a hoe so that players can smooth the ground more easily.
All in all, purely from the basic structure, “Hall of Valor” is not very different from most tree-cutting games on the market. But if you play more of this type, you should be able to feel that this game is more refined than similar games, and the experience of almost all links has risen by at least one level. The ability to quickly gain public recognition is indispensable.
So don’t be too entangled about why this work is different in order to stand out, its biggest difference is actually “better”. On the premise that a certain type of design concept is relatively mature, each link should be made as better as possible. This simple idea is often the root of success.
The game has to be fun and it has to be able
Although from the current point of view, this work is still not as good as “Minecraft”, a flagship work that has been developed for many years, but if you want to interpret why it has become a popular work from the game content, I would like to use It is more appropriate to describe “The Temple of Heroes” as “”. And it obviously came prepared.
Friends who often play this kind of games should have the impression that almost all tree-cutting games that appear on Steam cannot avoid going through early access tests. This is obviously directly related to the scale of the game type-the content is multiple and the system is mixed, and its open structure also makes it extremely difficult to deal with issues such as bugs and optimization. Big companies dare not say that it can be easily controlled, not to mention that many teams that launch such games are also small independent studios.
Regardless of the current reputation of these games, most of them performed extremely badly in the early access stage. For example, the now-famous “Ark: Survival Evolved” or “Astral Frontier” are not good games in the early stages, regardless of their size or degree of sculpting. As the first user of “Conan Exiles”, I can also guarantee that it is not an exaggeration to sue it for fraud when this thing first came out.
Compared with these games that were leaking all over the body when they first came out, the “Hall of Valor”, which was also released in this form, has a fairly high degree of completion in terms of current content enrichment, system gameplay, and optimization. Really, compared to similar games that were considered polite as “half-hearted” after playing many releases, this kind of relatively complete posture at the beginning of the release is really precious.
The word-of-mouth gap between “It’s too early to buy now” and “It’s already very good to play now”, so that people who are curious about “The Temple of Valor” can enter the pit without any worries. After satisfying the point of playing safe, it is naturally easier for players to obtain the most critical source of fun in the later stage of tree-cutting games-the fascinating construction system.
Like most similar games, players can only create some simple thatched houses in the early days of “Hall of Valor”. But after unlocking the deep enough technology tree and figuring out the logic of the building template, the game seems to have opened the door to a new world. The vast majority of people who have been addicted in the month after the release are basically running to create an ideal home.
Although the limitation of the theme makes the game less industrial/technical choices, the building system of “Hall of Valor” is more rigorous than free. Before players use their imagination to create a lot of famous, first of all, they must not go against the laws of physics and the load-bearing mechanism too much. This kind of shackles and brainstorming design is also the main discussion direction of relevant foreign communities at present, and it has further attracted the participation of many game architects.
Of course, the credit of the game anchor for the game promotion cannot be ignored. Just like other hot games that quickly rushed to the Steam hotspot in a short period of time, many domestic and foreign anchors have also brought huge attention to the game and performance of this game. This is the best-selling experience with the previous experience, which is very close to the same type of “RUST” (RUST).
However, it is different from Corrosion, which focuses on PvP-even once threatened that it would never join the PvE mode. “Hall of Valor” does not have a mechanism that deliberately forces players to oppose each other. Just like Henrik T?rnqvist, one of the game producers, said that PvE has always been their main focus. Although more PvP content will be added according to player needs in the future, they will never become the core of the game.
This may also be another factor that this game can be favored by many people among countless tree-cutting games on Steam-after all, we know that most sandbox survival games are very focused on PvP, and you don’t want to play and force you. hit. With a server with a maximum of 10 people in “Hall of Valor”, there are very few conflicts between players (after all, you can also directly turn off PvP). However, it is probably limited by the size of the studio itself, and there is still no public service area for this work before the deadline.
Living alone is very happy, and a group of people live happily is the normal state of sandbox survival. If you have a group of friends who can play online on a regular basis, then the game experience that is already good should be upgraded to another level. This point is quite critical.
Combining the advantages of similar games, the relatively complete early test content determines the foundation for the success of “Hall of Valor”. And the flexible interaction between the community and users, of course, the active publicity of the anchor and the media is also very important. Behind this incident, Coffee Stain Studios AB (coffee grounds), the agent publisher of this work, contributed a lot.
After the sand sculpture game masterpiece “Simulation Goat” became a hit in 2014, Swedish game company Coffee Stain formulated a series of follow-up updates for this game. These weird DLC further established the popularity of the game, opened the market well and continued the vitality of IP, making it more than just an instantaneous explosion.
With the expansion of business, Coffee Stain has also begun to focus on agency issuance in recent years. Before “Hall of Valor”, they already had “Deep Rock Galactic” and other good reputations, and after the end of the early access stage, they also reached 2 million sales.
From all aspects, although it is a bit surprising that “Temple of Valor” is out of the circle, Coffee Stain’s insight is really good in both the distribution strategy and the selection of works. It’s not just good luck. In addition, as one of the more active markets in recent years, this game also represents a new phased achievement in the Swedish independent game industry.
The future will no longer be controlled by others
Speaking of the birth process of “The Temple of Heroes”, many aspects have a grass-roots temperament of mistakes. This is a common feature of many Swedish indie games in recent years. Many of them are from the establishment of projects that are somewhat out of interest, to the composition of development members, and to content stacking. The success here has some luck elements, but more is the accumulation of talent and sincerity.
The Swedish government’s treatment of the emerging industry of video games is similar to that of Poland, with a very positive attitude of support. As the industry continues to expand, many Swedish gamers will inevitably follow the old path of most emerging game countries-relying on the huge European and American markets for further growth.
To put it simply, in order to better attract investors and users, there is inevitably a tendency to “please” in terms of subject matter and style. This is why in recent years, a work that looks full of American muscles is actually behind Polish, Swedish and even Slavic developers.
The advantage is of course that this can indeed get more development opportunities. For example, Microsoft has spent huge sums of money to buy the Swedish national treasure game-“Minecraft”. And Bethesda also acquired MachineGames and gave them the German headquarters under id for development.
Among North American game companies, EA is considered the closest to the Swedes. As early as the end of 2004, they bought the Swedish development group DICE and obtained the “Battlefield” series. In recent years, EA has also invested in many game production teams from Sweden-from the recent “Need for Speed” to “A Way Out”, which became popular with the producer “Fxxk Oscar”, They are all developed by a Swedish studio.
However, the national dividend supported a group of outstanding developers, but in the end they were gradually absorbed into European and American companies because of the power of capital. This may not be the answer in the long run. Therefore, in recent years, more and more Swedish developers often choose to go out independently if they have the opportunity. What everyone is most familiar with here should be the re-organized THQ and its parent company Embracer Group AB. What the Swedish company has been most keen on in recent years has been to acquire a large number of small teams-most of them are located in Sweden.
On the other hand, a large number of Swedish game practitioners began to flock to the independent market. They often operate in small teams, and many of them are even developed from individual works. In recent years, independent Swedish developers have launched such masterpieces as “Hotline Miami” and “The Kingdom”. On the one hand, they can continue to expand the market while ensuring that they have a space in the entire industry that is not controlled by foreign capital.
Before founding “Hall of Valor”, producer Richard Svensson (Richard Svensson) originally worked at Pieces Interactive (the masterpiece “Magic 2”). He has been very fond of Vikings since a long time ago, and he usually favors games of this kind of theme, and he always hides some ideas for related themes in his heart.
The turning point came in 2018. When Sony launched a new chapter of “God of War” on PS4, the subject of Norse mythology was once again favored by mainstream vision. Svensson left the company immediately. Because he feels that the time is now ripe and it is time to make a game in his mind.
As mentioned earlier, sandbox survival games are huge in size and complex in architecture. Generally speaking, it will be easier for this kind of game that requires constant debugging with more people, but the interesting thing is that Iron Gate Studio, which developed “The Temple of Valor”, has only 5 people in the team until the early access is started.
This is very similar to Minecraft, which is also from Sweden and can be called the originator of tree-cutting games in the new era. Everyone should also know that at the beginning of this thing, Markus Alexej Persson (Markus Alexej Persson) made it alone.
At first, Svensson just took it as a proof of his preference for the subject of Nordic mythology, and did not have much ambition. But in the second year, when his colleague Henrik at Pieces also quit his job and got involved, his attitude towards the project became more serious.
As the development plan continues to expand, several other members, including the concept artist Robin Eyre of this work, have also joined it. So Svensson and Henrikte rented two offices and registered the team as a private company. Since then, “The Temple of Valor” has been transformed from a personal work purely out of interest to a more formal independent game.
As mentioned earlier, “The Hall of Valor” does not have any unusual and fresh design. In the creative process, Henrik and others did not shy away from learning from the experience of outstanding predecessors in magic. In fact, it is easy to see from the growth system and subject matter that “The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim” has a very important influence on this work. In addition, the production team also mentioned well-known games such as “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” and “Terraria”, which provided a lot of inspiration for the development of this game.
The enthusiasm of several people for this game is heating up, and the development process is fortunately not going wrong, and the progress is quite smooth. When they decided to publish the information in the community and compare it with similar works on the market, they felt confident in the quality of the game. According to the producer, this project must have great development potential.
I don’t know if it was intentional. When Henrik and others sought a distributor, they first chose Coffee Stain, which is also a Swedish company. Although they do have a lot of successful commercial and word-of-mouth works, they are still less competitive than experienced (and eager to try) North American companies.
I’m inconvenient to evaluate whether this idea is good or bad, but if a country wants to develop in the long term, it’s indeed a direction to retain its own talents and actively label “Made in Sweden” on popular IPs.
Author: medicine pod