Earlier this week I had the chance to speak to Henrik Törnqvist, co-founder of Iron Gate Studios, developer of co-op survival game Valheim. Joining us was Sebastian Badylak of Coffee Stain Publishing, publisher of Valheim and other games like Deep Rock Galactic and Satisfactory.
As well as telling me about Valheim's influences, which are more based in singleplayer RPGs like Zelda and Skyrim than traditional survival games, and giving me a few more details about Valheim's Early Access roadmap, we chatted about the sudden success of Valheim, which at the time of our discussion had just crossed the two million sales mark (and has since sold more than three million.)
"We had a feeling that it would sell pretty well, at least to sustain us, you know. But it being a million seller, and now two million seller, is something we could never have guessed," said Törnqvist.
"It's quite incredible, and very humbling also, I might add."
"I can echo that from Coffee Stain's perspective," said Badylak. "We were also fairly optimistic, or I would say very optimistic, in terms of how the game would perform. But this is above and beyond all of our wildest imaginations.
"It it's even to a point where we internally discussed that if someone had suggested we would sell two million copies within two weeks, we would have just laughed at that person and said, yeah, okay, you're apparently just trolling," Badylak continued. "But yeah, here we are. So, as Henrik said, pretty humbling, and quite overwhelming, also."
Badylak said one of his favorite pastimes since Valheim's launch is looking through the Valheim subreddit. "And I really want to thank all of the people who are posting such amazing, like... everything from really impressive structures that they've built, be it huge castles or just super-interesting interpretations of trolls. But also the tons and tons of tree deaths. And, like, videos of that happening. It's so much fun."
"I would like to thank everyone who bought the game," added Törnqvist. "It's very... it's mind-blowing. And really awesome."
With a development team of only five people, and now millions of people playing the game, I asked if Iron Gate was planning to expand to meet the demand of such a massive playerbase.
"We will hire some people, absolutely," said Törnqvist. "We are currently starting up that process. Yeah, there will be more people to handle everything, because we have reached our limit by now of everything we can do."