4 years after it was announced, Warhammer: Vermintide 2 is finally making its versus mode a reality with a closed alpha: 'We put it on the shelf to marinate for a bit'

 A flame rat in Warhammer: Vermintide 2 cackles maniacally while shooting a gout of fire.
A flame rat in Warhammer: Vermintide 2 cackles maniacally while shooting a gout of fire.

Warhammer: Vermintide 2 is getting a versus mode, as announced four years ago at our very own PC Gaming show, no less. Except it's for real this time. A steam post by Fatshark outlines their mission statements for the mode's closed beta test on Steam.

"This isn’t the first time we’ve announced Versus; and our first reveal happened way back in 2019. We had run some small external tests with a select group of players during that time and weren’t completely happy with how things were running, so we put it on the shelf to marinate for a bit." I mean this in the kindest way possible: four years is not 'a bit', it's a university degree with change. But, hey—better late than never.

It looks like it'll work a lot like Left 4 Dead's versus mode: "The gameplay is based off of our adventure mode maps, but split into multiple sections. Heroes progress through a map section, completing objectives as they go. For each objective they get a certain amount of points. The Pactsworn goal is to stop the Heroes from getting points by killing or disabling them." Once a section's done, everybody switches sides.

It'll be interesting to see how Fatshark handles the issue of balancing the damn thing. While Left 4 Dead has zero progression, Fatshark's take on the horde shooter involves a bunch of RPG mechanics. Talents, hero classes, and so on. It's part of the charm—when I played Vermintide, I turned Kerillian into a boss-slaying assassin who could shuck off huge chunks of HP with a couple of backstabs. For PvP, though? A design nightmare.

These tests were actually confirmed in a developer stream in December last year, where the game's product owner noted Fatshark had run a small playtest already—though considering the last playtests happened four years ago, you couldn't be blamed for taking that with a pinch of salt. An honest-to-Under-Father closed alpha test, though? It's finally happening, everybody stay calm.

"We’re aiming to take a co-creation approach with our players by opening up a closed test for a large majority of those who signed up, observe them play, analyse their feedback, and take that into our development process as lessons learned." While versus signups are closed at the time of writing, it's likely there'll be more tests in the future, with the studio calling it "just one step in a multi-stage process".