Dev Blog: Player Characters & VO
Warhammer 40,000: Darktide is a passion project made by a diverse group of skilled and dedicated people with a drive to bring our dream game to life.
This is the first of a series of dev blogs we’ll share over the next few months. We aim to offer you a more extensive look into the process, thoughts, and feelings behind Darktide’s game features.
We hope you enjoy the peek behind the scenes!
In this dev blog, representatives from our Narrative team take the stage to talk about player personalities and VO in Darktide.
Do you mind introducing yourselves?
MS: My name is Mårten Stormdal, I’m the Narrative Director here at Fatshark. My days mainly consist of working on both a low and a high level to try to steer all the different narrative features, systems and content to tell a coherent story. I have previously worked as a Designer, Producer and Game Director.
MW: I’m Matthew Ward, Creative Consultant on Darktide, which shakes out to be a mix of writing, lorekeeping, voice directing/casting and troubleshooting. I was previously a senior creative in the Games Workshop design studio. These days, when I’m not on Atoma, I’m an author and freelance consultant.
How are we approaching player personalities in Darktide? How do they differ from Vermintide 2?
MS: In Darktide, players get to customize their own characters. They can step right into the Warhammer 40,000 universe and join the fight against Chaos. Even so, we know our players love the interactions between the Ubersreik Five (we love them too!) so we’ve poured time and effort into creating a range of voice profiles for each character class so you can pick the personality that fits you best. We have hard bitten professional soldiers, devout crusaders, snarky outsiders and more. There’s something for everyone.
Greg Jones & Greg Jones
Tom Dussek (with the voices of Sophie Wilkinson, Emma Ballantine & Clare Corbett)
Clare Corbett (with the voice of Zehra Jane)
Why did we decide on this approach to Darktide’s player characters as opposed to the predefined ones of Vermintide 2?
MS: It’s about helping players become part of the world – that sense of immersion that elevates any game. Personally, I can spend hours in character customization, and that sense of not just playing any character but your character is really powerful. It also helps lend that sense of scale that works so well in the Warhammer 40,000 setting. Every single player is fighting for Atoma’s survival - an army of thousands upon thousands taking the war to Chaos!
Emma Ballantine (with the voice of Toby Longworth)
James Alexander (with the voices of Neil McCaul & Aaron Neil)
How do we go about maintaining the much-loved personalities and character banter that we had in Vermintide 2?
MS: It’s all here! It’s something we’ve had in mind from the start, through writing, casting and direction. In fact, given the sheer range of voice profiles in the game – we probably can’t tell you the precise number that will be live at launch, but it’s plenty – and the quantity of voice lines (it’s a lot – we hate hearing the same lines again and again when we’re gaming) players will find plenty to fall in love with.
What have we done to bring forth the quirkiness of these player personalities in our voice-over work?
MW: For each of our player classes (which I’m probably not allowed to talk about so shhhh) we took a long look at the core archetypes and not only what made them gel with Warhammer 40,000’s rich setting but what would make for fun team interactions – who likes who, who tolerates who, who hates who and so on. Some of that changes once you get the actors in the booth and they start breathing life into the scripts, but it only gets better from there.
Tashinga Bepete (with the voices of Alex Jordan & Emma Ballantine)
Will Darktide have any party banter? What can we expect?
MW: Oh yes! I mean, we love writing and recording it, players love hearing it (to say nothing of how it really brings the setting to life) – it was always at the top of the list for me. As to what players can expect? Everything they’ve come to love about Vermintide, but even more. There are thousands upon thousands of banter lines in Darktide.
Relationships between player characters - do they exist?
MW: While the characters are player-created, they all belong to particular archetypes – not only in terms of how they fight, but how they perceive the world. It’s like in Vermintide … Victor’s a quirky example of a Witch Hunter, but he’s still a Witch Hunter. The same is true here. Some of our archetypes work as a well-oiled team while others … well, not so much.
Devon Anderson (with the voices of Emma Ballantine & Alex Jordan)
Any challenges you’ve faced with this project?
MW: The main challenge throughout has been keeping our character voices as distinct as possible. We get to cheat a lot because our wonderful actors do a lot of the heavy lifting, but I always want to give them plenty to work with. We’ve a couple tricks we deploy along the way, honed on years of Vermintide, and the end result speaks for itself.
Any closing words for the players?
MW: It’s been really hard not talking about this - both for us, and for our cast. We can’t wait for our ragged band of Rejects to get unleashed on the world. We’ll see you on Atoma Prime!