Chat: Mount & Blade: With Fire and Sword

By Jim Rossignol on April 21st, 2011 at 7:26 pm.

Hello, ladies!
If there’s one thing that horses are good for, it’s glue. But before glue had been invented people used them as cars. You might be surprised to learn that they are superior to cars in a number of ways, and the best of those is that they’re perfect for swinging a sword from back of as you attempt to trample your enemies. Videogames have seldom managed to portrayed this positive and healthy activity in a useful way, so we are glad that one game manages to do that: Mount & Blade. This horsey melee game series has been been around for a while now, and is about to ride again with a third title: Mount & Blade: With Fire and Sword. I decided to have a quick chat with TaleWorlds’ producer Mikail Yazbeck about what this new game means, and where it came from.

RPS: Can you start off telling us a little about the Mount & Blade games, for those unfamiliar with them. What sort of games are they, and why are they special?

Yazbeck: Certainly! Not the first time we’ve had to answer this question, but the answer is never easy nor short. Mount & Blade games are about a few key things, using your imagination and ambition to make your own story and reach your own goals and taking advantage of different play styles the game offers; whether it be brutal combat, decisive commanding, keen trading, or crafty politics and kingdom building.

That’s not to mention the amazing mod and multiplayer scene we have had going since Mount & Blade 1, which has only flourished with the release of Warband. Really, any time I have the opportunity to tip my proverbial hat to our community, I’ll take it.

But I personally think people find Mount & Blade games special because they offer something to gaming that people have been wanting, which is a solid somewhat realistic ranged and melee combat system that is completely skill based and wholly satisfying, all set a truly open and dynamic medieval world (sorry folks, no elves!)


RPS: Can you tell us a bit about what Fire And Sword does that’s different from the other Mount & Blade games?

Yazbeck: With Fire & Sword introduces new tactics and new styles of play because of the historical period it’s set in brings to the table the age of firearms & hand grenades. The single-player and multi-player modes offer new thrills (sounds very market-y I know, but really, there are new thrills, I promise) because of all the new features and weaponry introduced.

RPS: Is this once again a primarily single-player experience? What multiplayer elements does it offer?

Yazbeck: The single-player campaign features an all new map, factions, weapons, armour, customizable army system, great new castle/town upgrades, and better balanced economy with more money making options. Oh and it features lengthy optional storyline quests for players craving a more purposeful experience.

The multiplayer has 15 new maps and a nifty new mode called “Captain Team Deathmatch” which gives each player a squad of bots (up to 24) to command. These bots are controlled in the same way as single-player and enable players to stage massive battles. I think people will end up doing a lot of historical re-enactments with this system. I’m hoping I can participate in some of them! If you’ve got any planned just PM Yazzy on the TaleWorlds forums!


RPS: Wasn’t Fire And Sword already released in Eastern Europe? How is that different from what is being released in the West?

Yazbeck: It was actually released twice over there. The most recent release is this new version of the game that’s been made in the Warband engine(which we’ve since polished even more for the international release). And the first release was inside of the Mount & Blade 1 engine and was released in between M&B 1 and M&B:Warband, but only in Eastern Europe. That older version of course didn’t have all the features that this version has, but was demanded enough for us(and by us I mean Sich Studios/Snowberry along with TaleWorlds) to want to remake it using the Warband engine and bring to an international audience.

RPS: What sort of challenges have you had in making this particular game work the way you intended? Has the modern era of firearms changed the way the game has played?

Yazbeck: Balance was and is always a concern when you introduce something so radical as firearms into a game like ours, but we feel that overall firearms add more flavour and styles of play to the game and thus worked out they way we’ve wanted them to. I hope players feel the same way, and I’ll try to make regular polls on the forums to sort out the best balance for everyone, if they’re feeling too at odds with the implementation.

RPS: Can you tell us anything about future plans for the Mount & Blade series?

Nothing too specific I can reveal right now, except since the release of Warband we’ve staffed up and are cooking some pretty good things.

RPS: And can you tell us a price and release date?

Yazbeck: With Pleasure! Yes, this new stand-alone expansion is coming out May 3rd and will priced at $14.99 (you’ve got to hate those .99 cents!).

, , , .

62 Comments »

  1. Premium User Badge

    tomeoftom says:

    Lovely! Also: typo in para #1: “quck”

  2. Premium User Badge

    PoulWrist says:

    I will certainly purchase this on day 1!

  3. bikkebakke says:

    Love it that they don’t overprice their game.

    • Jesse L says:

      $14.99 is the perfect price point for me. I bought the first version of M&B when it was in beta or whatever. I’ve been thinking about Warband but it seems a bit expensive ($30 currently, I think) when I don’t know how much I’ll enjoy the multiplayer. But this is very tempting. And there’s something so stylish about black powder pistols…

    • Mattressi says:

      Yep, I was reading this interview ‘knowing’ that I wouldn’t be buying the game for a long time (assumed it’d be $20+). Usually when a game is out of my price range for release I’ll just wait till it comes down to $5 or so, but at only $15 at release, there’s no way I can pass this up!

    • d32 says:

      Jesse, Warband goes down to $5 from time to time, just watch the deals!
      But I guess there’s no point in buying it now…

      http://www.deals4downloads.com/games/detail/22n/buy-mount-and-blade-warband-pc-download

  4. Xerian says:

    Yayser! I’ve been wanting another M&B fix… Yayser for addiction!
    -Win.

  5. hosndosn says:

    “weather”…

    • westyfield says:

      Taleworlds is a Turkish company – I don’t expect English is Mr Yazbeck’s first language.

    • hosndosn says:

      lol, it isn’t my first language, either. I didn’t know this was typed by Mr Yazbeck, I naively assume most interviews today are still transcribed from a face-to-face talk.

      Sorry for being a grammar nazi. :(

    • westyfield says:

      Heh, no worries. I wonder how many interviews here are face-to-face and how many are conducted by email/IM.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Most of mine are transcribed. This one was via email, but I should have spotted that typo.

  6. Premium User Badge

    tomeoftom says:

    The Mount and Blade series is absolutely fantastic value for money. It’s one of those games like MC and DF where it’s so deep and engaging that you really could play it for years, (and easily so with mods). I’d love to see more games explore that narrative formula (whereby the story is just what you end up doing, but you’re given metrics to measure your success like money/power etc). A massive Steam backlog is the only reason I play anything else, really.

    • Grygus says:

      Agreed; Mount & Blade is a “desert island” game. It’s possible to get tired of playing it, but you have to try really hard.

    • weetchex says:

      M&B is one of the few games that hit that “There’s no story, so go wherever and do whatever you want” sweet spot that has been needing attention since I was a kid playing Sid Meier’s Pirates for months on end.

  7. Zenicetus says:

    This is the best “fighting on a horse” game I’ve ever played, and the rest of it doesn’t suck either. I bought the first version and played it for a year, then got distracted by other stuff. I should re-visit it when the expansion is released, although I’m a little worried about the gun balance. Looks like a one-shot kill that could really ruin your day.

    The best thrill I had back when I played the first version, was when I was finally able to pull off a “Parthian shot”. That’s where you run away from an enemy on your horse, then turn around in the saddle and fire backwards to kill your pursuer. It’s very hard to do, and I couldn’t do it consistently., but man, it felt great when it happened.

    • Sassenach says:

      It’s a pretty good war-themed hat simulator too.

      Also, couldn’t you get one shot kills with bows in the original?

    • Archonsod says:

      Headshot dealt triple damage, so in most cases it was a one hit kill. Although saying that a crossbow could one shot you in the torso depending on what you’re wearing.

      Unless they’ve changed the gun mechanics they’re no big deal. Lack of accuracy means they’re only effective in numbers. Charging headlong at a group will get you killed, but a single gunner will be lucky to hit the barn, let alone it’s door.

      What should be interesting is bowmen versus gunners. Bows are faster to shoot and more accurate, guns are deadlier but much slower. Should be an interesting fight.

  8. Torgen says:

    I bought M&B:W in *last* year’s Steam Summer Sale, but life conspired to get in the way. I really need to fire this up and try it. Am I right in assuming that the campaign is single-player only?

    • Premium User Badge

      JB says:

      Sadly, you’re spot on Torgen. Still good though.

    • Hugehead says:

      While the base game is only SP, the cRPG mod has a MP campaign in the form of a Browser Based Game, not ideal but it’s there.

  9. Premium User Badge

    sendmark says:

    Sounds very promising, will definitely pick it up.

  10. adammtlx says:

    Loved the original, though I played pretty much only with the Talera mod. Didn’t play Warband. $15 for this? Looks good.

    I just remember that getting knocked off my horse meant death. Fighting on foot was insanely difficult. Wonder if they’ve made it a little easier now.

    • BigJonno says:

      From my experiences playing Warband, I’d say it depends on your weapons. I favour a bloody great poleaxe and became quite proficient at deftly avoiding a lance, swatting the bastard off his horse and then caving his skull in.

  11. Rowsdower says:

    Warband ate hundreds of hours of my time. It is without a doubt one of my top ten games of all time.

    I’m very much looking forward to swaggering around the battlefield shouting commands, pistol and sword in hand.

  12. The Magic says:

    100+ hours played on Mount&Blade
    150+ hours played on Warband
    200+ on Fire and Sword?

  13. magnus says:

    Right I must buy this when it comes out , but am I going to ever finish the 233 games I’ve got from Steam?

  14. Kevin says:

    You know what’s better to swing a sword from atop of as you run your enemies over with it? A tank!

    http://spankthetank.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/633495988526210130-drive-me-closer.jpg

  15. Aero says:

    Want.

  16. terry says:

    I like both fire and swords.

  17. balistic says:

    I love everything about Mount & Blade except the terrible lumpy terrain. I really hope they fix it in subsequent projects.

  18. Guyver says:

    uhm… wondering why they didnt show us the recharge of the guns.
    well, i still prefer Warband with the cRPG mod. ^^

  19. Eightball says:

    Still not sure what this has that goes beyond a total conversion mod. We have several TC mods for warband with guns and swords – for zero dollars.
    I *want* to give Taleworlds $15 for a game with better mechanics. Hell, I’d give them $50 for a shinier warband – improve everything, but particularly make the quests/factions stuff more complex but with a better interface for it. There are a lot of creative mods that adds oodles of layers of management but they all have to work within the Warband dialogue system, for the most part. Give modders more tools, and let them come up with the content, as opposed to offering a pay-for mode.
    (That sounds ranty, but if there are a lot of improvements like I’m talking about in F&S that I’m missing please point them out – I’d like to be wrong here.)

    • Mad Hamish says:

      Did you miss the part where he mentioned the multi player mode where each player controls a squad of up to 24 bots? That has the potential to be (and I cringe at my use of the word)epic.

    • Eightball says:

      You can do that in Mount&Musket right now.

  20. Premium User Badge

    JiminyJickers says:

    At first I wasn’t very interested in this one. But after the trailer, I am now quite excited. Will definitely be buying this.

  21. bluebogle says:

    Warband is such a fun game I keep coming back to over and over. Looking forward to a new version of M&B!

  22. Corrupt_Tiki says:

    Honestly Jim, you are wrong, so very very wrong.

    Cars are just as good if not better than a horse to swing a sword from while you try and run down your enemies, you just need the right type of car, or you’re not doing it right.
    A nice convertible JEEP or something, with a nice sturdy bullbar is the way to go, and you only have to feed them petrol!

    • Torgen says:

      A Jeep or any other car is more akin to a chariot, as you’ll need someone to drive while you fight. Else, there’s no way to get a decent swing at anything, what with the windscreen and everything else in the way, not to mention no space to backswing and get any sort of force into your blow.

  23. MrBRAD! says:

    I’ve found that the lack of depth-perception makes it very hard to tell the reach of your swords and spears.
    Imagine… M&B 3D.

    What other games do you think could be greatly mechanically (not visually) improved through 3D? I’ve heard that it’s helpful for picking distances to corners in racing games.

  24. Smmm Staj says:

    I will certainly purchase this on day 1!

  25. DOLBYdigital says:

    I do like melee based games but always feel its very challenging to balance them once you add guns to the mix. PVKII did a decent job by providing shields and the ability to block arrows/bullets. However its not easy to have both so it will be interesting to see how it plays. Hopefully they will go back to the ‘pre-gun’ eras for future versions and not keep moving into the future.

  26. Premium User Badge

    MajorManiac says:

    If only they would merge Mount and Blade with Middle Earth. It would feel like I’ve died and gone to heaven.

    • terry says:

      You might want to look into “The Last Days” mod. I believe its still in beta testing for the current M&B though.

    • Premium User Badge

      MajorManiac says:

      Thanks for the info.

      I hope they pull it off as the description is exactly what I would want in a M’n'B LOTRs crossover. – “In this mod you are placed in Middle Earth just before War of the Ring starts and your actions can decide the winner”

      I am a little concerned the last release was in 2007 and is for an outdated version of the first Mount and Blade. However they are still posting one their forum so its still being worked on. :)

  27. Zarunil says:

    I’ll most certainly buy this, however I don’t think it adds much content that I can’t already get for free through mods.

  28. gorgol says:

    “If there’s one thing that horses are good for, it’s glue. But before glue had been invented people used them as cars.”

    No offense, but that’s possibly one of the most retarded statements I’ve ever read on the internet.

    • Mattressi says:

      It was obviously written tongue-in-cheek. I thought it was pretty damn funny, though I guess there’ll always be the PETA types who think it’s reprehensible to make a joke about animals.

    • sinister agent says:

      I for one am outraged. Clearly, horses are in fact best employed as novelty lawnmowers. I expect a retraction and full apology within 24 hours.

  29. gorgol_mouthwash says:

    “No offense, but that’s possibly one of the most retarded statements I’ve ever read on the internet.”

    Having had the complete and utter misfortune to have happened across far too many of your own retarded statements on this site, gorgol, I think you’re being grossly unfair to your own handiwork…

    When it comes to redundant brain splurges, you win by at least 3 furlongs. Maybe it’s time to trot back off to your nosebag (I was going to add “you complete canter”, but managed to resist the temptation).

    • gorgol says:

      Heh, how cute and pathetic, I have an at least slightly obsessive fan who erroneously thinks he is both clever and funny. :,] Coochie coochi.. Eeww..

  30. hocevar says:

    I thought that CD Projekt was doing this