One of my biggest disappointments with the game is that we get nothing in-game that's reminiscent of
The amount of desperation in that trailer encapsulates exactly what the Empire and Warhammer Fantasy were about. We're seeing a true last stand–the healthy and the strong are either elsewhere dealing with the shit storms all over or they've already been killed at the frontlines of this invasion. All that's left are the wounded, sick and elderly, facing certain death yet they fight bravely in the trailer.
I get why Fatshark only includes NPCs in the hub or as disembodied voices in the levels, but it would be really great if we could someday get a level (or more) where the U5 fight alongside the men and women of the Empire.
Even if they're made so weak that they die easily and aren't very effective, that in itself can be valuable for the player experience.
Halo is a different game in a different genre, but part of its game design would be fully applicable to Vermintide. I remember in Halo 1-3, I made a lot of effort to keep the marine NPC allies alive. If one survived to the end of the level (rare), I'd genuinely feel really great about it; yes it's just a 3D model being driven by limited code, but it really made me feel connected to Master Chief's purpose and character.
The marines, whether they survived or not, were visceral, tangible extensions of Master Chief's mission. The game smartly never makes NPC survival a necessity, yet there's still something emotional in entering a mission with a whole decked out squadron of marines and leaving the mission by yourself. These marines, most knowing that they'll die, enter battle with the sole goal of maximizing Master Chief's chances of success. And you feel the weight of Master Chief's burden when he succeeds, but the squad doesn't.
And if you are able to save any NPCs, you get nothing for it. No medal, no reward, no special story deviations. But there's still a sense of accomplishment, because as efficient of a killing machine Master Chief is, he's not soulless or emotionless. Saving the NPCs had a sense of satisfaction that helped bring Master Chief's mission–saving humanity from a religiously extreme coalition of aliens–from a place of abstract science fiction to a level that felt entirely relatable and human.
This isn't just a man who will sacrifice himself to save humanity. He will go through hell and goddammit pull anyone with him through if he can help it.
Vermintide's levels are beautiful, but they're all post-apocalyptic. With the exception of Fort Brackensbrüche, we see no in-game representation of the city's actual struggle. So as we progress through the game and later you see Helmgart totally destroyed and shattered in two, you're just disconnected from the whole thing. It looks great, but with no in-game faces to put to those who died it's hard to feel why this is actually the end of times, something that the trailer linked earlier depicts really well.
This is probably too big of an effort to just put in a DLC, but I think the community should push for more alive level design for a potential Vermintide 3.
© Post "It’s definitely too early to start talking about this now, but I really hope that the next Vermintide involves tangible NPCs in the levels." for game Warhammer: Vermintide.
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