STOCKHOLM — A level artist on the Warhammer 40,000: Darktide development team, once proud and confident in her value to the project, is reportedly in shambles after learning you spent less than a minute in the grand Ecclesiarchal space-church her team spent six weeks designing from scratch.
“A Master’s degree in game development from Skövde, a Bachelor’s in interior design from Lund, three years in France studying the finer points of Gothic architecture, and people just… sprint through my levels, glazed look in their eye, with the floor taking up two thirds of their screen?” Lotta Carlsson, senior environment designer at Fatshark AB, vented to her staff. “What are any of u s doing here? Every room in this mission could be a prison barge, or a roller rink, or a discotech, and would anyone notice?”
Concerned colleagues say that Carlsson has spent days watching and re-watching a demo of you vaulting a pew, shooting a Poxhound, pinging an ammo crate in a corner, and slide-dashing out of the room, without even glancing at the intricate tilework of the vaulted ceiling, or the hand-crafted stained glass mosaics of Imperium priests in every window.
“‘Oh, that door? I was inspired by Victorian row-house storefronts, but the keen viewer will notice the influence of Brabantine—’ a-and they ran right past it,” the game dev veteran mumbled to herself, watching playtest footage and dreaming about a developer commentary track she will never be asked to record. “‘War-game veterans will recognize the wrecked Hydra tank here, but to better suit the player scale, we… w-we blended it with Renaissance-era…’ Goddamn it, Ma was right, I should have just gone into heavy machinery.”
Responding to these and other concerns, other department leads on the Darktide team reassured level design staff that their work is key to the game’s success.
“Thousands of personnel-hours of work going unappreciated is bad and all, but you know what’s worse? The P.R. hit when Twitch Superstar Whoever The Hell cracks wise about an empty room or jagged shadow live on-stream,” said community manager Mattias Wilner at an all-hands meeting. “Think about it, what happens if a room doesn’t have a single crate or toppled bookshelf in it? What if there’s a window outside a building, but not a matching one inside? What if a player’s frame rate is a little bit too good? I’ll give you a hint: ‘devs don’t care,’ ‘indie swill,’ ‘let’s all go reinstall Battlefield 2042.'”
At last update, the studio’s HR department plans to coax Carlsson out of her funk by threatening her with a Heretic horde if she remains in place longer than 90 seconds or so.
Pic via eurogamer Warhammer 40,000 review.