Survival title Tribes of Midgard is varying its Saga late-game play with a pack of mythical wolves that will force players to bring new strategies to bear.
Tribes of Midgard's Saga mode sends you through your own Norse story as you and your team of up to nine other vikings struggle to protect Yggdrasil seeds and fend off giants. During the game's first content season, the Wolf Saga culminates in a battle against the colossal mythological wolf Fenrir. On October 5, developer Norsfell is releasing a variant version of Fenrir for players to take on, and GameSpot got an early look at the boss and what it'll bring to the battle.
The new version of Fenrir players will take on is called Wolfmancer, and it brings a few more friends to the fight. Though Wolfmancer Fenrir still does direct attacks, its modus operandi is more about summoning minions to distract and overwhelm, bringing in wolves through various portals around the battle arena. Once you've knocked out 50% of its health, the boss summons two more, deadlier wolf buds to hassle you, called Sköll and Hati.
That's a bit different from the original take on Fenrir, which the developer has renamed "Doomhowler" and tweaked a bit to differentiate it from Wolfmancer Fenrir. The Doomhowler variant focuses more on direct attacks and controlling the arena, leaping around to devastate you with its attacks. The Howl attack that was the boss's signature move is also a bit more devastating--not only does it create a damaging radius around the boss, it now sends out projectiles to make it tougher to hide from.
With two variations of Fenrir now potentially waiting for you at the end of the Saga, there's a 50/50 chance you'll run into the Wolfmancer variant. Both takes on Fenrir have a unique look to differentiate them, and the entrances to their arenas, along with the arenas themselves, include art that will give you a hint about what you're about to face as you close in on the boss.
For Norsfell, introducing different variants on bosses is a way to change up the late-game stages of Tribes of Midgard, CEO and co-founder Julian Maroda said in an email interview with GameSpot. The idea, he said, is to entice players to try different builds and strategies in the boss fights to keep things from getting stale.
"While there really is just one Fenrir in the Norse mythology, we wanted to tie it in seamlessly to have Wolfmancer summon wolves just like their mom, Angrboða, summons Helthings in the game," Maroda said. "It makes this imposing fight different, as players not only have to attack and avoid Fenrir, but also the numerous support wolves that keep on coming."
At least some of your strategy and tactics will have to be determined on the fly, though, Maroda said. The new art assets added to the game for the boss arena entrances will let you know what you're facing when you get to Fenrir, but you still won't know exactly what fight to prepare for until you cross the bridge that leads to the boss.
Facing one boss or the other will also have its own incentives. Regardless of which version of Fenrir you take on, you'll receive the same loot rewards at the end of the fight. But Maroda said Norsfell also added six new Challenges to the game that are tied to which variant you defeat, and those come with unique rewards you can't get any other way. So while the determination of which Fenrir variant you face comes down to a coinflip, players will have a good reason to hunt down the boss over and over again to increase their viking's powers.
"We want to keep on expanding the variants we have, both in terms of going deeper with existing archetypes, but also with the creation of brand new archetypes," Maroda said. "And we're not just talking about Fenrir."
Now that its mid-season content update is dropping, Norsfell is currently working on its second Saga boss for Season 2, the details of which it is still holding back for the time being. But Maroda said you can expect more boss variants in the future, for Fenrir and the new boss. As they pile up, it sounds like those potential variations will continue to make Saga runs potentially very different from one another.
"Fenrir won't be going anywhere in Season 2," he said. "Experienced and new players alike will have the opportunity to fight both Fenrir AND the new Saga Boss in one run, adding a new layer of complexity for even the most seasoned players. And as we keep on deploying new seasons with new Saga bosses, in addition to game-changing features and content, the challenge will only become greater."
Tribes of Midgard's mid-season update goes live on October 5.