"Thundered the ground beneath their tread,
As, iron-clad, thick-tramping, sped
The men-at-arms, in row and rank,
Past Stiklarstaðir's sweet grassy bank.
The clank of steel, the bowstrings' twang,
The sounds of battle loudly rang;
And bowman hurried on advancing,
Their bright helms in the sunshine glancing."
-- Sigvat the Skáld from Heimskringla: The Saga of King Óláfr Haraldsson
Warriors, the glorious day is upon us: Rend is leaving Early Access! We launched Rend into the Steam Early Access program on July 31, 2018 as a fully developed survival game that offered room for growth and our goal from the start was to continuously grow and improve the game by working directly with players to gather feedback every step of the way.
Rend has seen significant updates and improvements during the eight months of its Early Access – all addressing top player requests, interests and concerns – including 50+ game patches and nine major content updates that introduced new game modes, artifact weapons, biomes, creatures, player abilities, siege weapons, and more. And today with the release of its final content update, we are proud to announce that Rend has officially launched!
Rend’s Launch Content Update
With Patch 9 incorporated into the game, the final release of Rend is ready to go live! Available now on the official Rend servers, this major content update introduces more than 250 gameplay improvements and bug fixes as well as redesigned Control Points and the key feature of the patch: an all-new interactive world map. Eagerly requested by players since Rend’s earliest test phases, the map is an important quality-of-life improvement for new and existing players in that it allows a faction’s fresh recruits to get up to speed on their team’s geography much faster. The map also replaces the popup menu when selecting a respawn or teleport destination. Check out the latest changes on the official servers!
The Road to Launch
Rend began with the goal of improving the survival genre to reach a broader audience, incorporating community feedback along the way to help guide its development. We’ve sought to deliver a survival game experience that both players and our own team would want to play: moving the genre forward by solving its associated pain points. Attempting to disrupt a genre is no small task and Rend has fundamentally benefited from having players involved from its very beginning. The team consulted with key influencers, guild leaders, and content creators; staff from all departments engaged with players on our forums, Discord, and Reddit daily. Focus on player insight has been our North Star since the start and we set out to continuously grow and improve Rend by working with you, the players, to gather and incorporate constructive feedback every step of the way through the development process.
Following a gauntlet of community Pre-Alpha and Alpha test events, our aim was to use the Early Access program the way Valve intended, establishing from the very beginning that we would remove the Early Access tag and launch Rend within one year. Continuing the best practices gleaned during private testing, many gameplay and balance changes were the direct result of community feedback. Over the course of Early Access, Rend released nine major content updates and more than 50 minor or interim game patches since Pre-Alpha. Powerful artifacts, overhauled crafting systems, new game modes, and the Reckoning were just a few of the more than 2500 individual game improvements introduced to address player suggestions, concerns, and requests. None of this would have been possible without our community: we are beyond grateful for the feedback and support Rend has received from players, press, content creators, and industry partners worldwide.
The Future of Rend
As an independent studio with 18 developers, we were thrilled that during its first week of Early Access Rend held a top 5 rank on Twitch. More than 800 channels streamed their faction wars to the world through our Rend Partner Program. This marks a significant feat for our small team and serve as a symbol of the survival community’s interest in a game that changes the status quo of the genre.
We have received and heeded amazing, crucial feedback from the community during Rend’s time in Early Access, making substantial and frequent updates to the game to improve the overall gameplay experience and ideally we would continue producing content updates for Rend into the future. Ultimately, being an independent developer with finite resources, we must weigh the resource cost of continued development against its commercial potential. Although we will continue to support the final version of Rend down the road, we do not currently have plans for adding new or future content to the game. However, if a steady influx of players are buying and playing Rend, we will re-evaluate opportunities for adding new content or future updates.
It is our ardent hope that we can continue building upon Rend down the road. Until that time, today’s release of Patch 9 is Rend’s last planned content update. As outlined earlier in this letter, this launch patch introduces an improved Control Point system, adds an interactive world map feature to the game, and fixes dozens of quality-of-life affecting bugs reported by our dedicated player community. It also marks Rend’s exit from Early Access, meeting our goal of a full launch within a year of releasing on Steam.
In preparation for launch, we have also consolidated the official servers so that each region will have one Faction War, one Classic, and one Exploration server. We’ll continue to monitor the game’s forums, Discord, and other channels for reports of any critical game bugs or service issues. Additionally, we will be releasing a localization update in the near future that adds Russian, French, and Spanish language options to Rend. We’d like to extend a special thanks to the many polyglot players who contributed their time and skill to make this possible!
Revenant, Order, Conclave: You’re All Our Faction!
Rend’s journey to today’s final launch would not have been possible without the enthusiasm and support of the gaming community. As we’ve highlighted through each development phase of Rend, it is because of our players and the community that we’re able to do what we love: make games. We extend a huge thank you to our players and Rend Partner content creators for sharing their Rend’s experiences with their communities. We’d also like to thank gaming press and industry partners like NVIDIA, Alienware, Discord, Epic, Intel, Twitch, among many others who supported our vision and helped us bring Rend to audiences worldwide.
With Rend launched, you’re probably wondering what all this means for us at Frostkeep Studios. Exciting developments are in progress here and we’re onboarding new team members in preparation for them. While we aren’t at a point where we’re ready to share specific details, we continue to focus on our full potential as an indie studio to deliver new and unique experiences that evolve and push the traditional boundaries of gaming and entertainment. You’ll be hearing more from our team in the future so be sure to follow us on the Frostkeep and Rend channels for ongoing updates and news.
Until then, see you on the battlefield and may your faction earn its rightful place in Valhalla!