Valheim was uploaded to Steam exactly five weeks ago, and it’s been on fire ever since. Iron Gate’s Viking survival simulation skyrocketed the charts 5 million copies sold after only one month in early access and surpassing huge titles like Dota 2 in terms of concurrent active players.
Steam Reviews for Valheim give off a palpable feeling of awe and relief. Players regularly compare the feeling to the first time they played Minecraft, marveling at the scope, depth and atmosphere of the game, and wondering how a team of just five developers managed to squeeze such an engrossing experience into a 1GB download. Valheim unleashes players in an original realm of Viking Purgatory, a vast procedurally generated world filled with mythical Norse beasts, the high seas, hunting, and crafting. It’s dense but forgiving; action packed but peaceful.
To date, Iron Gate has sold over 5.7 million copies of Valheim. There are still only five people on the development team.
“We’re doing our best,” Iron Gate co-founder Henrik Tornqvist told Engadget. “It’s got pretty hectic here since its launch.”
Tornqvist and studio co-founder Richard Svensson are looking to hire a few more people, including a QA manager to handle the influx of bug reports from millions of new beta testers. Otherwise, it receives support from Coffee Stain Publishing – the people responsible for Goat simulator, a true grandfather of viral video games.
Svensson started working on Valheim in 2017, like a secondary stampede. By day he and Tornqvist were colleagues at Swedish studio Pieces Interactive, but by early 2018 Svensson was gone to focus fully on Valheim.
“At the end of 2018, I also left to join forces with him,” Tornqvist said. “We founded the Iron Gate company in April 2019, and by that time we pretty much knew where we wanted to go. Valheim. “