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Tribes of Midgard wants to create a whole new genre, says creative director

Tribes of Midgard
(Image credit: Gearbox)

Tribes of Midgard had its first open beta in July 2019 but after an E3 2021 appearance, it's finally got a full release date for July 27 on PS5, PS4, and PC. The game mixes the resources and co-op of the survival genre with Viking mythology, for a Valheim meets Diablo-style experience. We spoke to the creative director at development studio Norsfell just after the release date announcement. 

"We were trying to create a brand new genre," explains Julian Maroda.

"What we wanted to do was not to create something that's crazy, experimental or crazy, like innovative on all fronts, it was more taking a lot of the ingredients of games that we really love, like, Don't Starve Together - Valheim, we didn't know about Valheim at the time - but games that we really liked, like Diablo, and then try to create something brand new that players would love and enjoy." 

You play as a Viking hero called an Einherjar, and your job is to fortify your village to protect it from attacks, safeguard the Seed of Yggdrasil that sits within it, craft weapons, armor, and potions to make your tribe stronger, and ultimately be ready for the arrival of the giants during Ragnarök.

Attracted to the survival genre, Maroda wanted to use elements of it in this Norse adventure but not punish players too much. Forget dehydrating in rust or going insane in Don't Starve, Tribes of Midgard will focus on fun and making the survival genre accessible. 

"We also wanted to streamline it," he says. 

"So instead of having multiple gauges that you need to maintain all the time, like usually in those survival games, I have hunger, I have thirst, I have cold, hot and overburdened or all of these. We wanted to simplify that drastically. So there's really one gauge to maintain which is the life of the tree at the center of the village - the Seed of Yggdrasil. If that goes to zero, it's game over. But apart from that, the rest is very hands-off."

The game does have weather effects and temperature, but at the end of the day, your character isn't a simple mortal. You're an Einherjar after all. 

Tribes of Midgard

(Image credit: Gearbox)

The game will support up to 10 online players in your tribe, and hope to enable crossplay across PS5, PS4, and PC. The social side of things is especially important to the studio, which has worked closely with its community - including superfans called the Midgardians - gathering feedback across a number of open betas since 2019. 

"It goes beyond our vision of bringing people together, it also includes the making of the game. We want these people to be with us and tell us what did you like, like, what would you want us to fix? And because it's a live ops game, we have that vision for the years to come. We'll just keep on building with the community. "

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Rachel Weber

Between Official PlayStation Magazine, GamesIndustry.biz and Rolling Stone I've picked up a wide range of experience, from how to handle the madness of E3 to making easy conversation with CEOs and executives of game companies over seafood buffets. At GamesRadar+ I'm proud of the impact I've had on the way we write news, and now - as managing editor in the US - the huge traffic successes we're seeing. Most of all I'm proud of my team, who have continued to kick ass through the uncertainty of 2020 and into 2021, and are what makes GamesRadar+ so special.