V Rising is a vampire survival game, which peaked at 150k concurrent players on Steam and sold 1 million copies in just one week. Stunlock Studios has now opened up about factors that contributed to the game’s rapid success.

In the latest episode of his GameDiscoverCo newsletter, Simon Carless shares an interview with Stunlock community manager Jeremy Bearson. Here are the key takeaways from the conversation.

  • The key factor is V Rising’s core gameplay, which is deep enough to keep players’ engagement high. On top of that, the game also lets users set up their own servers and tries to appeal to different types of survival players.
  • “All the major mechanical systems are built with each other in mind, and it’s easy to find what you like in the game without feeling too imposed by the parts of the game you might be less interested in,” Bearson said. “It’s all one very cohesive experience, not a bunch of different mechanics sewn together.”
  • Stunlock created a Discord server for V Rising beforehand, attracting around 14k users prior to launch. It helped the developers set up a community interested in the game before presenting it to the masses.
  • The studio also let up to 3000 players participate in several closed Betas. According to Bearson, these tests were essential in “solidifying our direction and helping us bug fix in a major way before the game was in everyone’s hands.”
  • As pointed out by Carless, developers doing large private demos can better work with feedback based on what their audience likes and dislikes about the game.
  • Another factor that played its part in V Rising’s success is Stunlock’s back catalog of multiplayer games like Bloodline Champions and Dead Island Epidemic. So the team tried to grab their fanbase’s attention from the start and explain that V Rising would be different from previous titles.
  • Bearson also noted that Stunlock has been trying to get its name out by releasing trailers, being present on social media, working with influencers, and using all other available channels.

The full conversation with Bearson and Carless’ own takes on the matter can be found here.

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