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Valheim dev shares first details of "volcanic" new biome Ashlands

Currently in "pre-production" phase.

With Valheim's long-awaited Mistlands biome finally here, developer Iron Gate Studio has opened up a little about what's next, sharing initial plans for the acclaimed early access viking survival game next biome, the Ashlands, in its latest blog update.

Taking the same unapologetically literal approach to naming that saw Valheim's new mist-shrouded biome become the Mistlands, the Ashlands will whisk players away to a land of ash, where the dead roam a landscape marked by volcanic activity.

While Valheim's Ashlands technically already exist in-game - albeit in temporary and extremely rudimentary form - their full development will usher in a radical overhaul, introducing a biome that Iron Gate says will be "quite different" from existing ones, serving up a "large chunk of land at the far south of the map, rather than small islands spread out over the world."

Valheim's long-awaited Mistlands update finally arrived in December.Watch on YouTube

Iron Gate hasn't shared much concrete information about this new volcanic corner of the world, but its blog post offers a smattering of concept art for the biome's potential denizens - skeletal warriors with fiery hearts known as The Charred and a mouthy abomination known as Morgen.

It's a tantalising tease of an expansion that's still some considerable way off, with Iron Gate saying Ashlands is still in "pre-production". However, to help ease the wait for its arrival, the studio says it'll be taking a more transparent approach to detailing Ashlands' progress. In contrast to the "secretive" development of Mistlands, it says, "Our ambition with...Ashlands is to show you a lot more of the process. This will mean you will see things in their early stages, and maybe even things that won't end up making it into the game at all, but you will also hopefully have a better understanding of how far along the development has gotten."

Fiery, undead foes await in Valheim's upcoming Ashlands expansion.

Iron Gate is also promising Valheim players "some fun things" to keep them amused between now and Ashlands' eventual release, including a "little update" it's calling Hildir's Quest. This will introduce a new NPC (the titular Hildir), new clothing, and a new way for players to restyle their character's existing hair. "Don't worry though," it adds, "an update like this won't be taking any significant time away from the development of the Ashlands."

Beyond that, the studio says it's also looking at introducing new difficulty settings and some "long overdue" accessibility options. Plus, there's the previously announced Xbox release sometime this spring, which will include cross-play support.