Oh Jeez Oh Man: Mount And Blade II Looks Fantastic

By Nathan Grayson on September 28th, 2013 at 12:00 pm.

Now with authentic horse dancing physics!

In this crazy-busy, senses-overwhelming world of ours, it’s sometimes all-too-easy to lose track of the important things in life. For instance, my mother’s birthday is coming up and I have obscured my monitor with a forest of “DON’T FORGET TO CALL” post-it notes. (I will still somehow find a way to forget. Just watch me.) Also, it totally slipped my mind that Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord is a thing. I am, of course, entirely ashamed of myself and plan to amass a heroic army and die horribly at the hands of a noble in penance. But before my bitter, inevitable end, let me just say one thing: OooooooOOOoooOOoo. Because these Mount & Blade II screenshots? They’re making me wail (in happiness!) like the ghost I’ll soon be.

The Mount and Blade II website is now sporting a snazzy new gallery, and it’s quite a sight. Well, at least by Mount & Blade standards, anyway. It’s not the next Crysis or Witcher III or super cool airbrushed picture of a flower, but it’s actually kind of a looker from certain angles. Baby steps! The new setting also seems quite rich in variety and lovingly handcrafted detail, so I’m looking quite forward to ruthlessly running it into the ground.

Speaking of, we finally know what the game is actually, well, about:

“The once-mighty Calradic Empire is in a state of decline. Warlike tribes have seized swaths of its territory. Client kingdoms have declared their independence. The Emperor has died without leaving an heir, leaving three jealous factions to scramble for power. Mercenary companies, bandit lords, and nomads hover on the sidelines like vultures waiting for a meal.”

“A hero who can master the art of single combat, of leading armies in battle, of plotting ambushes and raids, and of exploiting the rivalries of noble houses and tribal clans may be able to unite this Empire – or, alternately, to deal it the final blow that sends it crashing down. Will Calradia experience one final sunset e of imperial glory, or slip into a night of chaos before a new age dawns?”

Or you can be entirely incompetent and stir up a stew of really dumb shenanigans, like I fully intend to.

Mount & Blade II still doesn’t have a release date, but I will absolutely tell you – between breathless shrieks of glee – when it does. For now, though, what do you think?

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65 Comments »

  1. Premium User Badge

    sendmark says:

    No big evolution from the first game, but somewhat shinier. Really looking forward to it though. M&B combat was so satisfying, just needs a bit more on the campaign end.

    • Chalky says:

      Yeah, mount and blade doesn’t really need very much improvement in terms of gameplay. The UI could do with a lot of work, and obviously the graphics are looking very dated now – so this sounds like exactly what the sequel should be.

      • DarkFenix says:

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      • GamesInquirer says:

        I’d like to have added quest variety with more engaging tasks, working sieges, ways to avoid the tediousness of fighting large battles with thousands of units separated in seemingly endless little chunks, improved character controls, expanded political systems you can manipulate, more permanent changes (rather than invincible lords that always return and such), more complex emergent situations, better strategy and more. It would also be cool to have a new engine allowing you to wander the world in full scale with your army in tow.

        Personally I think the character controls are outdated also. While the combat systems are still engaging and more detailed than others the actual controls don’t feel right, there’s not much weight to them and it’s quite unrealistic to be able to run forward or strafe while hacking left and right as if it’s Quake with swords, I wouldn’t mind a complete reworking of character behavior while maintaining the depth, just making it look and feel more like, well, combat.

        • Leb says:

          I really liked what some of the mods did for leading troops – calling out formation, the modded minimap that would let you put markers for your unit groups.

          It made playing the game like a 1st/3rd person total war. My characters are usually utter shite in combat because I enjoy the riding the horse around commanding aspect.

          I wish that the game would throw more in for us commander types – to zoom out into an RTS-like over view to issue commands is probably my #1 mount & blade dreams come true

        • Serpok says:

          So Crusader Kings 2 with M&B combat.

          • GamesInquirer says:

            Pretty much, but with the ability to just be a (relative) nobody surviving in this complex intriguing world full of events and changes even without your direct participation, rather than be the one guiding everything behind the scenes (unless you choose to attempt to become that important obviously).

          • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

            So the Guild games if they were good

      • Sc0r says:

        Don’t care much about graphics.
        I hope for:
        -Less stiff movement
        -improved combat
        -ability to hit multiple things with one swing
        -well balanced weaponry
        -coop campaign
        -improved mod-ability

        • FriendlyPsicopath says:

          I do hope that they make the game more varied, let us go on stealth missions to kill some lords, let the have a stealth system so when you want to bust someone out of a jail you can pick the guarding soldiers unaware, when you attack a bandit camp that you have the element of surprise, give us more and varied quests.
          Let the map have small farms, windmills, and mines that can be sacked or owned, let wood be a major resource as it was in the middle ages.
          Regarding the combat add a stamina bar so that fatigue plays a role, like it did in real battles, let i tired the enemy elite troops with my militia and then charge with my elite troops to finish them off.
          There’s much room to improve M&B and i hope they have the courage to try something new.

        • Premium User Badge

          El_MUERkO says:

          Coop campaign would be a huge selling point for me.

        • trooperwally says:

          What about the stuff you DON’T want them to change? They got a lot right in M&B Warband which I’d be sad to see messed up. Here’s my list of stuff to keep or build on (rather than change beyond recognition):

          - Economy, could do with a little more sophistication but being able to make a viable game out being a merchant was cool
          - Tournaments, though perhaps bigger and rarer
          - Combat system, in my view it’s perfect. Not realistic, but perfect for a PC game
          - The sandbox – if they put in a story line it’s not M&B in my eyes
          - Mods, hopefully they’re smart enough to know that mods made the original what it was so will be providing/improving mod support

          That said, I’d be happy to see some new features:

          - More play style options (thief, political schemere, religious person all seem quite viable in a middle ages setting)
          - More empire management support (though they’d need to keep it all in the first person style to avoid killing immersion. Having castellans you can tell to manage a fief in a particular way would be useful and having to tour your kingdom to tell them what to do would avoid making it feel like it had morphed into a micro-management sim).
          - More lore – I never felt that engaged in the history or future of Calradia, perhaps because there was no compelling backstory other than “glorious empire has split into fragments”. What about political dynasty’s? Great battles? Scheming princes? Famous bandit lords? Plagues? Religious warfare? Crime? Corruption? Basically, make it more Game of Thrones like without actually touching the IP at all.

    • Premium User Badge

      Hanban says:

      To be honest. If all they do is make the animations better I’ll be completely satisfied.

    • MarieHarris says:

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    • julli1 says:

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  2. SpiritBoy says:

    I loved M&B to death. Only wish it was a tiny bit easier to get started up, since it can go either pretty easy or completely impossible.
    Please be good. Please.
    (And make something other than spears viable for christ’s sake!)

    • Premium User Badge

      cpt_freakout says:

      Have you ever tried one of those mods in which you can enrol in a noble’s army? It will take you like 100 days to make a decent wage (and by then Swadia has probably disappeared and reappeared 4 times), but it’s a viable way to start without either having to worry that those 40 bandits will kick your ass or that you don’t have enough money to pay your 50 peasants.

      • Premium User Badge

        Andy_Panthro says:

        That would be the Freelancer mod, which is also part of the (incredible) Floris mod pack. There’s also a Game of Thrones mod (Clash of Kings) which incorporates Freelancer. As much as I love the vanilla Warband, the mods make it so much better.

        I’d have a look through the forums and see what catches your eye: http://forums.taleworlds.com/index.php/board,165.0.html

        • Premium User Badge

          cpt_freakout says:

          Thanks for the specification! Speaking of which, A Clash of Kings just got released (well, it reached version 1.0) and it looks great!

          • Premium User Badge

            Andy_Panthro says:

            I tried Clash of Kings a month or so ago, it was pretty good (before version 1.0). I’m back on Floris for now though, pushing to actually complete the game for once (I usually get bored during the latter stages, too many sieges).

        • Premium User Badge

          Martel says:

          Thanks for this. I never got around to trying out M&B with mods and had completely forgotten about it. There are so many it’s a bit overwhelming now, so I’ll give that Floris a try. Sounds exactly like what I want.

  3. Premium User Badge

    cpt_freakout says:

    If modders were able to make Warband look pretty decent, they’ll probably be able to make this look absolutely fantastic (it looks OK on its own, though!). I can already picture all the incomplete Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones mods… glorious times they will be.

  4. Spacewalk says:

    It’s Mount & Blade all right, even if those screenshots didn’t have HUD elements and watermarks you’d still be able to tell.

  5. Premium User Badge

    Andy_Panthro says:

    In a way I’m actually quite glad they haven’t focussed on graphics too much. It looks a lot better than Warband, but what is more important for me is having huge 300+ unit battles, and plenty of interesting new mechanics.

    • Premium User Badge

      bills6693 says:

      Same, although for me the gladness comes also from the fact that I find it harder and harder to play new games on my laptop. I wish people would just stop advancing gaming technology! :P

      But seriously. In 2 years time when I actually plan to maybe upgrade to a much better, gaming focused laptop, I will probably be unable to buy almost anything new as everything will have outpaced what I have now. I’ll be forced to upgrade or pretty much stop gaming (or stop playing anything new. And I’m not the sort that can happily sink 500 hours into one game, I get bored :P)

  6. bill says:

    They should add diplomacy, swearing fealty and backstabbing/betrayal and turn it into a Game of Thrones deal.

    • Bahlof says:

      Ah yes and add boobs while they’re at it too

      • Premium User Badge

        Maltose says:

        There were plenty of boobs in M&B. If you were playing a male, all you had to do was put on a dress and your cup size got increased by a few letters.

  7. Tayh says:

    Holy feck.
    If they can somehow manage to improve upon Warband, this is definitely going to be my private GotY.

  8. Reapy says:

    I haven’t been able to put this game down since I tried the demo, was just playing a bit last night! That said the screenshots aren’t the huge graphic leap I was dreaming of, but truth be told what I realllly want is for the game to have some love in all the rough cut areas it had in the UI and ai behavior, and just an expanded amount of things to do.

    I mean either way the amount of excitement I have for screenshots reminds me of being a kid again and it’s awesome.

  9. Lanfranc says:

    I don’t really care that much about how it looks. I’m much more interested in which new features it has. Would love to see things like deeper political/diplomatic interaction with NPCs, more involved fief management, complex commercial system, etc.

    ALSO: Moar than one siege ladder, plz! :(

  10. Stevostin says:

    I do get the point about graphic. They have this special documentary quality that so many game overlook. It’s the same that made Harry Potter movies working. They let british, not US people deal with the setting, and british (like other euro people) do get old euro stones, where US can’t. Same goes here with the oriental setting. By all counts it should be a pretty ugly bleak screen but there is attention in the right details, oriental pattern, and all of a sudden it is a place you want to visit.

  11. mrmalodor says:

    If the combat is as terrible as in War of Roses, I’ll pass.

  12. GamesInquirer says:

    It looks like Warband to me, slightly shinier in parts much like Warband was slightly shinier than the original but sadly had all the same issues and barely any features and improvements you wouldn’t expect from a mere patch rather than an all new release, in regards to the campaign. Some of these screens even seem similar to mods like Polished Buildings, perhaps they took the creators onboard. Anyway, hopefully mechanically it’s getting many more upgrades than visually.

    I guess I’m just disappointed that for all its iterations the game hasn’t really evolved since the early betas I was playing. Have they really not made much money to invest in a modern overhaul that no longer appears like the cool homebrew project of two people?

    • Goker says:

      They have been building a new engine for this game so I suppose we will see what this new engine improves upon.

      I can safely say that they have been investing in staff.

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        Wait, they’re using a new engine for M&B II? The screenshots at their website give the impression of a last-gen game, so I’m honestly surprised to hear that it’s all built on new code.

        I know graphics shouldn’t be that important when it comes to a game like Mount & Blade, but damn…

        • Leb says:

          Graphics Shmaffics.. if the new engine allows for more units on the field at once I am happy

        • Premium User Badge

          wengart says:

          The might be able to port in the old assets and pretty them up some. It would mean that most of the stuff we see at first will be very derivative of the old games, but would allow them to work on stuff for immediately and just add in newer assets as they are completed.

  13. sonson says:

    It looks as thought it were made in 2008, which is a huge improvement over M and B

    SATTIRE

  14. Sharlie Shaplin says:

    Inject it into my veins already! Really looking forward to MB2. Graphics really don’t matter to me, the gameplay in the original was sublime.

  15. sinister agent says:

    Here’s hoping they stop shoving more grinding and half-baked management crap onto it so I can play the brilliant roaming combat game I bought.

    • Premium User Badge

      bills6693 says:

      I quite liked the management side. Combat was OK. I preferred F&S, for me it was miles more fun than warband. In F&S I actually wanted to fight in the battles, in warband I didn’t really get into it.

    • Panda Powered says:

      I hope they add some new ways of dealing with enemy lords permanently (like assassination or just cutting their heads off after a battle). It’s annoying as all hell to run into the same snarky lords over and over and over.
      At least add some options when starting a new game if you want perma-death to lords etc.

  16. Bulrathi says:

    Where is the playable alpha? I want to play in the Bannerlord equivalent of Xendar for the inevitable year or two of development this will take.

  17. Premium User Badge

    bills6693 says:

    I just hope another F&S-like one comes next. With improved integration of muskets in the combat, but certainly another one with a mixture of melee, archers, muskets and cavalry all thrown in together.

    For me there was something rather satisfying about my two ranks of musketeers sitting there, firing into the enemy who was trying to charge me or trying to form up and fire back. While myself, skirting around them on a horse or standing in line with my troops.

  18. Soulstrider says:

    Well I kind of enjoyed Mount and Blade but It never managed to catch my interest more than a couple of hours, I loved the combat but the sandbox campaign just felt dry, empty and overall disapoiting and boring.

  19. Hypnotron says:

    Im really happy for these devs. This is just old school PC game dev. Old school game dev progression combined with old school community development and support.

  20. DaftPunk says:

    Considering that they indie and very small team,this looks good in my eyes. Way better then Warband.

  21. SaVi says:

    Nathan, you reminded me that I had to call my mom because she was released from the hospital. This makes you by the law of the internet my hero.
    I also just shortly became heavily addicted to M&B Warband. When this is here, I can kiss my social life good bye.

  22. Chillz says:

    I’m just happy that it doesn’t have guns in it :) If they put in a co-op campaign I’d probably have to wipe semen off my monitor, otherwise it looks very pwetty.

  23. infernalmachine says:

    Looks amazing. Mount and blade Warband is one of my favourite games of all time.

  24. Monkeh says:

    Looks great if you ask me! But than I’m also wearing my M&B-fanboy-goggles, so there is that.

  25. sventoby says:

    Some better menus, graphics, a functional end-game, and moddability is all I ask for. M&B is one of the all time great time sinks and 2 should be awesome.

  26. Ataraktika says:

    Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines reference?

  27. Mahatma Dagon says:

    Was the “OooooooOOOoooOOoo” a direct Ultima Online reference?

    Even if it wasn’t, I’ll pretend it was.

  28. VileThings says:

    526 hours total time spent with Warband. That makes it the most played game I have (except for an MMO or two). What I want for the successor? More of the same and for it to take on some of the ideas from amazing mods like Prophesy of Pendor, Brytenwalda and Floris and Silverstag mod compilations. The only way they can ruin this is if they take away from the sandbox and/or complexity Warband enjoys.

    I’m really looking forward to this!

  29. dagudman says:

    I still wish for a day when Paradox and TakeWorlds will unite to make the greatest medieval game ever.