GDC 2024 is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

View, browse and sort the ever-growing list of sessions by day, time, pass type, topic, and format. With this Session Viewer, you can view session and speaker details for Game Developers Conference 2024.

You will be able to build your schedule with the GDC Mobile App. The GDC 2024 app will be available for download in Apple Apps and Google Play late February 2024.

Sessions do fill up and seating is first come, first serve, so arrive early to sessions that you would like to attend. Adding a session to your schedule does not guarantee you a seat.

Independent Games Summit: 'Valheim': Vikings, Roadmaps & Buying a Horse During Early Access

Jonathan Smårs  (Lead Engineer and Designer on Valheim, Iron Gate Studio)

Location: Room 2005, West Hall

Date: Tuesday, March 19

Time: 10:50 am - 11:50 am

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Summits Pass, Indie Games Summit Pass - Get your pass now!

Topic: Independent Games

Format: Session

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: All

Valheim is a viking survival game that went viral when it was released on Early Access in 2021 reaching a million units in the first month and reaching 10 million in 6 months and has since then been released on xbox game pass.

Jonathan is working as the lead engineer and game designer on Valheim. In this talk he will share insight into the Valheim development journey so far through a patch-by-patch breakdown and managing player expectations spanning multiple years of development during early access and lessons learned along the way, both internal and external challenges that have emerged, and oh - and they bought a horse.

He will also cover how they hope to leave early access in the best possible way so that Valheim can be remembered as an example of early access done right and be a game that can be played for many years to come.


Attendees will gain insights into releasing an Early Access game, development methods, design choices as well as struggles and lessons learned from development after high initial success and learn about some pitfalls to avoid.

Intended Audience

Developers and publishers considering releasing, or have already released their game in early access and want to learn about expectation management and design choices for early access games.

Connecting the Global Game Development Community

GDC Vault icon
Game Developers Choice Awards icon
Independent Games Festival (IGF) icon icon