Northgard is a splendid RTS about rearing a clan of vikings in a punishing climate that makes every decision matter. But you've read my review, and you already know all that. Northgard is a fantastic game in the present, but what does its future hold? I spoke to CEO of Shiro Games and Northgard dev Sebastien Vidal about what we'll see in the next update, competitive play, and expansion plans for further down the line.
RPS: Now that the game’s out, how often are you planning on releasing free updates?
Sebastien Vidal: Our plan for updates is to have regular patches with balancing, fixes as well as some content every couple of months. We have to let the dust settle and get some feedback first (mainly about multiplayer meta and campaign feedback) but we're planning a first update for late April.
RPS: With the campaign done and dusted, what’s your priority? Will we see new clans, buildings, or maps?
Sebastien: Yes! We're also currently working on much bigger updates that would bring new gameplay systems and more variety to the game. It is too early to get into details, but our goal is to have something ready next summer. We're also looking into adding a new clan in the next few months.
RPS: How about new victory types?
Sebastien: New victory types could be interesting. The ones that are map based (like the Gates of Helheim or the Sword of Odin) are relatively easy to add and we have a couple of ideas for those. Victory conditions like Lore or Domination are systems based and would only come with a significant update that would add new gameplay layers (we have one of those planned).
RPS: The Boar clan recently got a significant shake up. Can we expect any more major rebalancing patches?
Sebastien: Definitely! We're following the multiplayer meta very closely, as well as the single and multiplayer performance of all clans. Player habits and familiarity with game, as well as upcoming clans and gameplay features make it an important goal for us to keep each clan up to date. This can take the form of minor tweaks or major overhauls.
RPS: Combat in Northgard is quite simple, with only three basic unit types. Is combat something you’d like to expand on, or are you keen to keep it minimalist?
Sebastien: We might expand on the combat system in the future, but this is not a priority at the moment (althought we do have a few tweaks coming). Combat in Northgard is important, but not more than other gameplay systems and we want to maintain the balance we have right now.
RPS: Is competitive play something you’re planning on supporting more in the future, with a spectator mode or matchmaking?
Sebastien: Competitive play is an interesting topic in Northgard. The fact that the maps are procedurally generated means true balance is hard to reach. We've toyed with manually designed (and balanced) maps for competitive play, but scouting and exploring would obviously get a lot less meaningful. Another way would be to change the map generation to allow for slices of map that are random but duplicated so that each players has access to the same resources. But that requires a lot of work on the generation tool (that needs to be extremely finely tuned). All that being said, our first update late April will add a ELO system, leaderboards and cosmetic unlocks for multiplayer and singleplayer achievements.
RPS: Are you toying with any ideas for paid DLC, or expansions?
Sebastien: Yes we are. Our plan is to have major updates/expansions more or less every four months. This is subject to change, but we'd like to make the expansions available for free and add specific clans that take advantage of the new systems in each expansion as a paid DLC. Again, it is a bit early to talk about specifics regarding the free expansions, but they will generally include new gameplay systems, new game modes, or expand on the campaign.
RPS: Thanks for your time.