With eight million copies sold, the Viking survival game Valheim is one of this year’s great success stories in the games industry. This is the story of how it all started and where it’s going from here. Meet Iron Gate studio founder Henrik Törnqvist, community manager Lisa Kolfjord and publisher Sebastian Badylak of Coffee Stain Studios.
Content warning: This video contains discussions about mental health and suicide. Jace Varlet is a popular community manager at Coffee Stain Studios, reaching thousands each week in his streams. But once the camera is off, another reality awaits. Jace suffers from bipolar II disorder, a chronic mental illness, characterized by periods of severe depression and hypomania.
Once again we sent game historian Martin Lindell into the secret vault, where Embracer Group’s growing game collection is stored. This time he found something really rare – a tabletop arcade machine called Adventure Vision, from 1982.
Koch Media became part of Embracer Group in 2018, and everything has been grand. There’s just one tiny problem that seems hard to resolve. How do you pronounce Koch? CEO Klemens Kundratitz knows all the ways to say it, and what not to say.
”It’s a mixture of excitement and horror”, says Lisa Kolfjord. Late last year she was hired as a 3D artist and community manager by a small indie studio, developing their first game. The game was called Valheim. When it was released in February, Valheim became a huge hit, with millions of players. As the person in charge of such a big player community, Lisa Kolfjord’s working life has changed. A lot.
What do you do when you are a brilliant game developer who just wants to make the games of your dreams, but really don’t want to have to deal with the business side of things? Well, you could do what Mattias Kylén did.
Deep down in a secret vault, Embracer Group’s growing game collection is stored at the moment. But we have early access, and game historian Martin Lindell has picked out a selection of classics from the archive, to show us. We’ll soon be back with more stories from the collection.
Developing a game is hard under the best of circumstances, but how do you cope when a pandemic strikes unexpectedly? Producer Michele Caletti knows all about it.
Nathalie, Hannah and Anna grew up as nerdy girls, not really finding their place in the world. Not until they realized that making games was actually a job. And that they were good at it.
Include, share and encourage. It’s not that complicated to be a middle aged senior game developer and still be a nice person online. Henrik Jonsson even received an award for his demeanor, and he has some simple advice.
Per-Arne Lundberg wanted to help students start their own game studios. The idea was to take care of all the boring stuff for them, and let them focus on the creative part. It started small, but today it has blossomed into Amplifier Game Invest.
Kicki Wallje Lund left home when she was fifteen. Her parents told her she would never make it on her own. That was 50 years ago and Kick-Ass Kicki is still proving them wrong, every day.
He sold his first video games from his parents’ house in the ’80s. In the ’90s he started Austrias first video games company. Then he met a most annoying Swedish businessman. Twice.
Normally, Michael Paeck, executive producer at THQ Nordic in Vienna, travels at least ten days a month. It’s a natural consequence of him working with five game studios in four different countries. With the outbreak of Covid-19, this all changed. All five of the studios have solved their specific working situations in different ways. For example, one of the studios created a virtual office on Discord, complete with work stations and a kitchen to hang out in.
When the pandemic struck ”the Silicon Prairie” in the American Midwest, Deep Silver Volition managed to adapt quickly. The first obstacle was practical – arranging for the studio’s 200 employees to work from home. It soon became clear to James Torbit, General Manager at the studio, that there were also big challenges of a more human nature.
Early in 2020 Milan, Italy, was the epicentre of Covid-19 pandemic. In the middle of all this, racing game studio Milestone, had to deal with a new reality. The studio’s CEO Luisa Bixio had to not only handle the shipping of two nearly finished games, but also manage a shift to working from home, for all of their 250 employees. The first such shift in the company’s long history. And just as things seemed to ease up in early autumn, the second wave hit Milan hard.
Lenore Gilbert, CEO of Rainbow Studios in Phoenix, was heading to Milan on a routine business trip. Or so she thought. What she experienced there gave her and her studio a head start when the pandemic hit the US a few weeks later. They are now even launching a new game.
In March 2020, Covid-19 was spreading throughout England. In Nottingham, everyone at Deep Silver Dambuster Studios was forced to start working from home. Studio head Rob Matthews did something he, until recently, never imagined having to do: he went shopping for web cameras for all his co-workers.