Stunlock Studio’s Jeremy Berson on the ultra-popular V Rising

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V Rising

Vampires are nocturnal creatures and their true potential becomes fully realized during dark hours of stark stillness. That being said, the time is 03:12AM. After sinking our teeth in V Rising, and spending several days nights on end building numerous castles, converting humans, and waging endless wars with vampiric abilities and shapeshifting, it’s increasingly hard not to look at the conversation with Jeremy Berson as another surreal experience. 

Jeremy is the Community Manager for Stunlock Studios . When we kindly asked him for a short chat about their game – V Rising, we were pleasantly surprised by his willingness to answer all of our questions. While working on our review and additional engaging coverage, we’d like to share some of the conversation we had with Jeremy.

Thank you so much! We’ve been ecstatic with the initial reception of the game, and the hugely positive response has been a source of drive for us. V Rising is our most successful game so far, and it’s super rewarding to have so many people identify with your vision and support your creative project.

For those who have been living under a rock for the past couple of years, V Rising was released in May 2022 and it instantly managed to impress numerous gamers with its unique, gorgeous graphics and complex survival mechanics set in a meticulously designed world full of intriguing vampire lore. V Rising completely shook up the survival genre and managed to satisfy a legion of thirsty gamers, to the point where the game now has nearly 90% positive reviews.

Considering that the current market is oversaturated with survival games, we asked what makes V Rising stand out from other similar games ? Jeremy explained to us that their game “completely flips the survival genre on its head in terms of themes, making you the thing that stalks the night instead of the thing that is being stalked.”

Typically, in survival games you’re working your way up the food chain from a defensive perspective, but V Rising very much takes an offensive perspective. You are the predator, you are hunting for blood to grow your power. It lets us focus on the action combat that I think we as a studio are very proud of our ability to deliver on, which I think is also fairly unique in its depth in this genre, and in many ways puts us in line with a top-notch ARPG as much as a survival title.

It felt right to try and nudge the conversation in a different direction and to ask if there was a certain mechanic that they wanted to introduce into the game, but for some reason they decided against it.

There have been quite a few, actually! Sometimes things get cut because they don’t feel right when we try them out, sometimes they’re just put on the back burner because we only have so much time. I think a good example of the former is the initial way castle raiding worked. You used to use explosive boxes to breach castle walls, but it didn’t quite fit the vampire aesthetic and was a bit too spontaneous, it didn’t feel perfect. We introduced the concept of summoning golems to siege other Vampire’s castles because it felt more magical, and more premeditated. It just fits the fantasy much better.

While on the topic of fantasy worlds, we simply had to ask what inspired the team to come up with the worlds in V Rising, as well as the numerous survival mechanics. Jeremy explained to us that V Rising is a game that is completely inspired by the gothic horror that derives not only from movies but also from numerous famous books.

The world itself involved taking a lot from Swedish nature as well. Our artists even took some time to go out and get inspiration from the forests nearby. The survival aspects of the game all draw from trying to give our players that feeling of being a Vampire in a hostile world, like the constant push to keep your blood filled and the scorching presence of the sun overhead.

In terms of memorable moments, there are a few, and they’re all usually centered around seeing players experiencing something for the first time. This is one I haven’t thought about in a while, back from the very first beta test before we had gone into Early Access release over two years ago now. We hadn’t revealed to anyone yet that shapeshifting was in the game, and the first testers crossed the Ferocious Bear V Blood and had an incredibly difficult time taking it down. It was a heroic battle. At the end after they drained its blood and got its power, the reaction was priceless. All turning into bears, running in a group off into the sunset shouting: “We’re bears, boys! We’re bears!”

We happily explained that there is a large number of talented developers in Macedonia as well and we kindly asked for a tip or two, some nudged of wisdom that might guide them on their journey to success:

Make a game you want to play, but don’t forget that you are creating an experience for others! Choose a theme that ignites passion within your team, treat your game characters like pop stars, and create a universe that expresses identity. After finding the vision you truly feel for, focus on actually producing something. It won’t be perfect, and you’ll want to noodle away on it forever, but at the end of the day, you need to let yourself finish your work.

Toward the end of our conversation, we also wanted to ask about future plans for the game. As you probably know, V Rising is out of early access, but that doesn’t mean that Stunlock Studios is going to stop there.

We hope to deliver at least one more update! It’s hard to discuss much with so much of our focus on being this Early Access release, we’ve really put our heart and soul into it. I’d say enjoy the crazy experience you’re about to get before looking too far ahead! There will be more time to talk about that later on. There’s even the PlayStation 5 release to look out for!

Yeah! Our most heartfelt thanks to those who have been following us from our first announcement until now. There are so many familiar names that have hung around, and seeing them come back again and again is truly heartwarming. Thank you so much to the many collaborators we’ve had along the way, it’s been a dream to work alongside such talented people that have helped us promote our game and believed in us. Also a very warm welcome to all of our new Vampires that we’ve picked up along the way! So many people have invested so much of their personal time building amazing little communities around our game. And of course thanks to you for talking to us now, your questions were lovely.

V Rising is out of early access. Make sure you check it here !

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