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Vermintide Developer Fatshark on Putting Fun First

Swedish studio dishes on the Warhammer universe ­– and socks at the office

For Fatshark, their origin story began in 2007. As a subcontractor for other studios, the hunger to be their own publishing studio never wavered. As Fatshark stayed on their grind and true to their core beliefs about what a gaming studio should be, their aspirations were realized. Today they’re the publisher of a critically acclaimed global game franchise.

The Stockholm-based development studio’s secret sauce? Never forgetting that games are supposed to be fun to play, oh – and socks.

“The only thing we need to consider is to make sure we do the best possible game that people love to play,” said Fatshark CEO Martin Wahlund. “There aren’t any prerequisites of knowledge about Warhammer or Vermintide to play. It should be something that you, as a player who loves interactive, visceral games with a lot of co-op elements and who likes playing with friends, should be able to pick up with a few friends and just play.”

Behind the scenes, the studio also knows how to have a good time. Aside from staff game-playing sessions and Fika – the Swedish version of a coffee break – employees have a uniquely footloose culture of leaving their shoes at the door and padding around the office in their socks.

It started as an effort to make the office feel like home and is now a defining part of Fatshark’s values. So intrinsic to their identity, the studio started producing its own line of eye-popping socks as official swag. Now, Fatshark socks have unexpectedly developed a fanbase of their own, with requests coming in from loyalists as well as CEOs’ of competing studios.

Fatshark’s appetite for fun is matched by its sharp instincts and ability to deliver high-quality gameplay experiences that push the envelope. It started out as a subcontractor for several AAA titles before turning into a self-publishing studio behind the third-person shooter Lead and Gold: Gangs of the Wild West. Today, the developer is best known for the Vermintide, the co-op combat franchise set in the Warhammer universe.

Aside from expanding the Vermintide universe with the popular sequel, the studio has continued to release new downloadable content, including Chaos Wastes, a major update that went live earlier this year. Knowledge-sharing with investors such as Tencent has also helped Fatshark up its game. The studio is currently working on Darktide, its first Warhammer installment set in the future. That’s set to hit shelves in Spring 2022.

While constantly evolving its repertoire, Fatshark has also stayed true to the elements that made its titles popular in the first place. Striking this balance has allowed the studio to not only maintain its fan base but also to grow it with every release. The key, Wahlund explained, is listening to those who actually play the games and taking their feedback to heart.

“After we ship a game, post-launch, it’s not our game anymore. It’s the gamers’ game because they invest their precious time into the game,” he said. “So, we need to make sure they have a good time.”

And about those socks, if you want to talk about the uniqueness that defines Fatshark look no further than their feet. As Fatshark’s CMO Michael Stout explains, “The socks started off as this sort of darling idea and now their semi-infamous, our swag is socks!”

In fact, the socks have become so synonymous with their brand that PR Manager Gunnar Johansson takes anywhere from 200-500 pairs with him anywhere he goes, “It’s funny, it’s quirky and true to who we are.”ㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤ

About Fatshark

Fatshark was originally founded by Martin Wahlund, Rikard Blomberg, Joakim Wahlström and Johan Jonker. The company started off as subcontractors and in 2010 published their first game – Lead and Gold with the help of Paradox Interactive. In 2009 Fatshark co-founded Bitsquid which was acquired by Autodesk in 2014. The money from the sale funded their very first self-published AAA game, Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide.

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