The Banner Saga
|The Banner Saga|
|Release date(s)||25 February 2013 (Factions multiplayer game)
2013 (Chapter 1 single player campaign)
|Mode(s)||Single-player and multiplayer|
|Media/distribution||Digital distribution including Steam|
The Banner Saga is a Viking-themed tactical role-playing video game under development by Stoic, a trio of indie game developers formerly of BioWare. It is to be released as a single player campaign, The Banner Saga: Chapter 1 – the first of a projected trilogy – as well as a separate free-to-play online multiplayer game, The Banner Saga: Factions.
The game's developers – Alex Thomas, Arnie Jorgensen and John Watson – left BioWare after working on that studio's MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic, with the intention of making a game for their own enjoyment. The project is to be financed through the crowd funding platform Kickstarter. It was opened to pledges on 19 March 2012 and met its funding goal of USD 100,000 in the course of the next day. The project eventually accumulated USD 723,886 from 20,042 backers.
The game is to be distributed digitally as a DRM-free download, initially for the Windows and Mac platforms. Later ports to Linux, iPad, PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade are planned. Originally scheduled for a November 2012 release, the single-player campaign is now set to be released in 2013, following the February release of the multiplayer game The Banner Saga: Factions.
The Banner Saga
The core of the game is to be a single-player campaign of turn-based combat engagements inspired by games such as Final Fantasy Tactics and Shining Force, with the player controlling and being able to build up a party of characters with complementing abilities.
According to the developers, their aim is to create a "mature game for adults in the vein of Game of Thrones or The Black Company". They intend to engage players emotionally by allowing them to build relationships with the game's characters and shape the outcome of the story through an array of conversation choices. The game will eschew certain conventions of action-oriented computer role-playing games such as the focus on a young lone hero's story, looting and buying items, or reloading a saved game state after defeat. Instead, the developers intend to tell the story of the player's caravan as a whole, and encourage players to accept and deal with the consequences of any defeats they may encounter.
The Banner Saga: Factions
The turn-based multiplayer combat component was released on Steam as a free standalone game, called The Banner Saga: Factions, prior to the release of the single-player game. Factions became available to backers on 18 February 2013 and to the public on 25 February. It allow players to pit teams of six combatants, chosen from 16 classes, against each other.
Setting and style
The game is to be set in a Viking-inspired fantasy setting, chosen by the developers so as to avoid what they considered the "overdone 'elves, dwarves and orcs' dynamic". With a visual style influenced by Eyvind Earle's art for the 1959 Disney film Sleeping Beauty, as well as the work of Ralph Bakshi and Don Bluth, The Banner Saga's art is to feature primarily hand-drawn animation sequences, characters and backgrounds.
Factions uses the city of Strand as its main UI, with players selecting different buildings of the city to access various playmodes and functionalities. Additionally, "the city will evolve as the story unfolds".
- Curtis, Tom (19 March 2012). "When ex-BioWare devs make their own strategy RPG". Gamasutra. Retrieved 19 March 2012.
- Mattis, Jeff (21 March 2012). "The Banner Saga reaches Kickstarter funding goal in under two days". Shack News. Retrieved 22 March 2012.
- Kickstarter. "The Banner Saga". Retrieved 21 April 2012.
- Mattas, Jeff (6 March 2012). "The Banner Saga 'in the vein of Game of Thrones;' Kickstarter launching soon". Shack News. Retrieved 19 March 2012.
- "Interview with Stoic on Banner Saga". Live Pixel. 23 August 2012. Retrieved 22 August 2012.
- "Banner Saga Out Now For Backers, Everyone Next Week". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved February 20, 2013.
- Pinsof, Allistair (19 September 2012). "Preview: The Banner Saga Factions". Destructoid. Retrieved 21 September 2012.
- "The City of Strand". Stoic. 13 July 2012. Retrieved 24 July 2012.
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