Left 4 Dead’s ratty cousin Vermintide 2 is finally getting a Versus mode, with alpha tests in the “near future”

Wake up, mayflies! FatShark have detailed the closed alpha for Warhammer: Vermintide 2‘s long-awaited Versus mode, in which the doughty Ubersreik Five go up against four player-controlled Skaven Pactsworn (translation: ratty supervillains) in addition to the rank-and-file AI-controlled rodent hordes. The alpha will launch in the “near future”, and sounds like just the dollop of rancid PvP shenanigans this lapsed Elven ranger needs to re-install one of the all-time great Warhammer adaptations, which unaccountably isn’t on our list of the best co-op games or the best multiplayer games on PC. You got something against horrible giant rats, Ed Thorn?

Vermintide 2’s Versus component was originally revealed back in 2019, as wistfully recalled by PCGamer, but Fatshark parked it while they focussed on single player and co-op. “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 while we focused on other content like new careers and co-op game modes,” reads the latest development blog on Steam. “We had worked on it a bit here and there with some tweaks to tighten up the foundational PvP+E gameplay, but it wasn’t until last spring did we decide, ‘Let’s actually do this thing’ with fresh eyes.”

Vermintide 2’s Versus mode is based on the game’s existing adventure mode maps, but splits them into sections, with the human heroes completing objectives for points. The rats, naturally, get points by killing or knocking down heroes. The two teams switch sides when either the heroes complete their objectives or the gutterspawn succeed in murdering everybody.

It’s all very redolent of Left 4 Dead, which is nothing new for Vermintide and Fatshark action games in general. “The Versus game mode is definitely something that players familiar with the genre will recognize,” the post adds. “We want to honor our predecessor in this space while adding our own unique melee-oriented flair to it that most of our players recognize us for.”

The developers are hoping to “provide a fun, casual team experience but still scratch that competitive itch.” They’re also hoping to learn a lot from the closed alpha, for which they are targeting a mix of new and veteran players. While playtest slots are limited, Fatshark aim to enlist “a large majority” of those who sign up. The post strikes the obligatory note of caution on the tech front, commenting that “this is our first time testing Versus with a larger number of players, so things aren’t completely final, and some things may be a bit unstable”.

If you don’t make the cut this time round, there will be additional playtests down the road. “The closed alpha test is just one step in a multi-stage process to get both the team and our players feeling good about the game mode and how it plays,” the post concludes. There’s still no final launch date for Versus at the time of writing. Hopefully it won’t take another four years.

The first question that came to my mind on catching wind of the alpha was: are they recording any additional rat bantz (rantz?) for the Pactsworn, and if so, can they do another drunken voice actor update for the game’s next anniversary? I don’t know what drunk Skaven sound like, but I’d love to find out.

If the above leaves you yearning to plumb the viscous depths of a Fatshark dungeon, Alice0 recently revisited Warhammer 40,000: Darktide and found it much-improved after a slightly disorganised showing at launch.

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