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Mark Essen has a simple justification for initially leaving out an online multiplayer mode in Nidhogg: the tech was difficult to build and expensive to deploy. He did not have an army of netcode experts ready to squash bugs, reduce latency and seamlessly connect to servers. It was far more important to make sure the bow felt right.

“You’d need two computers, or you could possibly set it up on one computer on multiple windows,” says Essen, as he wistfully reflects on his halcyon days of wheeling the prototype of Nidhogg to every indie showcase in the whole world. “Just practically, it’s harder to make an online-only multiplayer game.”

You probably know what happened from there. finally arrived on Steam in the beginning remains one of the most thrilling experiences of the decade. Living proof that the world is still capable of falling in love with local multiplayer. Innovation, through limited means. It’s almost horrifying to imagine what would’ve happened if had a real budget.

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