Valheim, the Viking survival game from Iron Gate Games, is a phenomenon: As the developers recently announced, over five million players are now playing the multiplayer game with a "procedurally generated purgatory", according to the Steam description, aimed at up to ten players. How impressive the success of Valheim is can be guessed from the Steam numbers - there the Viking game beats almost every triple-A competitor.

Vikings as a topic? That always works. Whether as a film, series, board or video game: the rough Nordic warriors are popular with fans. The multiplayer survival game Valheim recently made a name for itself with a steadily increasing number of players. According to the developers, there are already over five million - and if you look at the current Steam statistics, the stern of the longboat is still a long way from being reached.

Valheim beats them all

"Fus Ro Dah" was once, when The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim with its Nordic setting could reach a player peak of around 290.000 fans. It was the highest all-time peak for a Viking game so far - at least according to the Steam database. Now comes Valheim and effortlessly doubles that number. The survival game thus takes fourth place, only Cyberpunk 2077, Dota 2, CS:GO and Playerunknown's Battleground were more successful in terms of player peak values.

Valheim beats everything that has rank and name at the all-time peak: Grand Theft Auto V, Destiny 2 or Fallout 4, even hypes cannot beat the Viking title: games like Terraria or Among us are left behind. Valheim has become a hit within a very short time. On February 2, the survival game started its early access phase - for just under 17 euros you can immerse yourself in the pretty but dangerous world of lo-fi. The developers state that Valheim has now streamed over 39 million hours of gameplay via Twitch. That should also contribute to the success of the Viking game. Valheim remains a topic, in conversation, in the eyes of the players - and therefore relevant. And: Steam itself also contributes to this success, albeit indirectly. Valheim is among the 40 best rated titles in Valve's library. There can hardly be better advertising these days than a lack of shit storm.

The lo-fi graphics: Not very pretty, but atmospheric - and space-saving. Image: Iron Gate Games

The lo-fi graphics: Not very pretty, but atmospheric - and space-saving. Image: Iron Gate Games

Valheim needs around one gigabyte of storage space on the hard drive, surprisingly little in view of the atmospheric appearance, which is anything but impressive, but nevertheless attractive. Valheim can also convince with its playful advantages: Iron Gate Games frees the survival genre, which has already become overloaded, of unnecessary playful ballast. That works: You can tackle a survival game without constantly having to worry about trivialities. The result: you return, and again, and again, and again. Valheim makes it easy for the player to stay motivated. As rough as the Vikings may otherwise be, as relentless as their worlds are portrayed - in Valheim you will be forgiven for a lot. Where dying is otherwise a nuisance in a survival game, you simply accept it in Valheim. Constantly chasing hunger and thirst and missing most of the game? Not so in Valheim. It's about the world, about exploration, about building.

A must in every Viking game: snow, ice, frost, warriors with two-handed ax. Image: Iron Gate Games

A must in every Viking game: snow, ice, frost, warriors with two-handed ax. Image: Iron Gate Games

What it's not about: The hectic pace that you know from other survival games. Valheim doesn't push, it sometimes even guides. What it's also not about: A waste of time.

So far, the principle of survival games has been that a game is the better survival sim if it reflects needs as realistically as possible. At Valheim, the developers simply throw this motto, which is in complete contrast to game worlds, overboard - and win over the hearts of the fans with it. Valheim does what games should do: it invites you to play.

The fact that this decision has to be made consciously by developers and does not arise from chance becomes clear in comparison to Grounded. The modern survival game continues to rely on hectic, hunger and thirst, is therefore not necessarily worse, has its fans, but it is anything but an invitation to enjoyable gaming.

Valheim has now been rated by over 150.000 users on Steam, only around 5.000 ratings are negative. Part of the criticism is due to technical factors. But there are also players who don't like Valheim - but they are clearly outnumbered.

Last updated on 26.05.2023/XNUMX/XNUMX / Affiliate Links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API. * = Affiliate links. Images from Amazon PA API