Posts Tagged ‘The Banner Saga’

Indies On SteamOS, Pt 1: ‘Openness,’ Potential Pitfalls

You probably haven’t heard, but Valve’s officially going forward with its plan to launch its own Steam-centric OS, living room hardware, and a crazy, touch-pad-based controller to back it all up. I know, right? It’s weird that no one has been talking about it incessantly. But while Valve preaches openness and hackability, it’s downplayed an ugly reality of the situation: smaller developers still face a multitude of struggles in the treacherous green jungles of its ecosystem. SteamOS and various Steam Boxes, however, stand to bring brilliantly inventive indie games to an audience that doesn’t even have a clue that they exist, so I got in touch with developers behind Gone Home, Race The Sun, Eldritch, Mark of the Ninja, Incredipede, Project Eternity, and more for their thoughts on SteamOS, who it’s even for, Valve’s rocky relationship with indies, and what it’ll take for Steam to actually be an “open” platform.

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Impressions: The Banner Saga’s Single Player Story

Multiplayer smart-o-battler The Banner Saga Factions might be out and (mostly) free for all, but even the former BioWare-ites at Stoic will readily admit that it was always a sideshow. The Banner Saga is, at heart, a story and a place. It’s a world in conflict, sure, but pensive Viking biffery is only one piece of a much larger, more varied puzzle. I recently got to spend a few hours with chapter one of the Kickstarter darling’s single-player campaign, and it prompted many thoughts. Here they are, freshly scooped from my brain and dribbled onto a page for your enrichment.

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Stoic On Using Kickstarter Again, TBS Factions’ Future

Viking caravans might be slow, methodical machines, but they make their arrival worth the wait. By mercilessly slaughtering all who oppose them. I’m mostly certain that won’t be the outcome of The Banner Saga‘s impending arrival, but I don’t like to make assumptions. What I know for sure, however, is that Stoic isn’t just tossing chapter one out in the cold and leaving it in permafrost while time passes it by. The series will continue marching onward, and another go at Kickstarter definitely isn’t out of the question.

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Fly The Flag: The Banner Saga: Factions Now Available


The Banner Saga: Factions is, you will recall, the free multiplayer aspect of The Banner Saga, rather than the single-player campaign that you’re going to have pay up front for. Nathan went hands on with the game previously to tell us all what to expect. I’m downloading it right now for turn-based impressions. Anyone else jumping on this particularly wagon? It being F2P and all that?

Trailer beneath the snowy wastes.
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Of Yules And Rules: Banner Saga’s Holiday Update

What do boulder-shouldered fantasy Vikings do for the holidays? It’s a question that I’ve pondered far more than I care to admit, but I’ve never been able to come up with a conclusive answer. Evidently, however, I just wasn’t looking in the right places. Instead of scouring their mead halls in search of wafting feast fumes and bawdy tunes, I should’ve headed straight for the most axe-strewn, arrow-speckled of battlefields. The Banner Saga’s Vikings, you see, continue to duke it out even as we speak, and a new Yuletide update’s trotted some formidable toys out to the frontline. Thanks, nasty, brutish Viking Santa!

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The Banner Saga Goes Into Open (Paid) Beta

Update: Huzzah! The issue is all fixed, and the beta now loads.

It’s been a mere nine months since The Banner Saga was a twinkle in the internet’s eye. But now the teeny team of former BioWare artists have put their tactical RPG into open beta. After a successful Kickstarter campaign, providing a big funding boost, those who backed have been in the beta for a while. But as of today, the rest of the world is invited to form an orderly queue. And pay. There’s a new trailer to celebrate, below, but there are also some technical issues getting the beta working at the moment.

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Dredging Up The Secrets Of Banner Saga’s Story

The Banner Saga saga’s not over yet. Not by a long shot. First, we brought you multiplayer impressions straight from the front grid lines, and then you learned everything there is to know about balance, microtransactions, and – in the process – yourself. So then, what could possibly be left? What frigid depths of Stoic’s mighty ice fortress have we yet to plumb? Well, mainly the actual Saga – the sprawling, multi-chapter single-player behemoth born of Kickstarter’s unholy flames earlier this year. So I asked Stoic about every last bit of it: how it’ll progress, what sort of Big Evil Force we’re dealing with, where choices will come up and how much they’ll affect the storyline, why all the voice actors are from Iceland, how they mo-capped those gorgeous animations (hint: lots of falling on their faces), and tons more. Dig in after the break.

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Of Banners, Sagas, Microtransactions, And Balance

Last week, you (probably, I hope; otherwise we can’t be friends anymore) read my impressions of The Banner Saga: Factions, the soon-to-be-released F2P multiplayer spin-off of Stoic’s gorgeously animated Viking strategy epic. Those are some of my favorite adjectives stacked together into a scrumptious sentence sandwich, so I came away predictably pleased. But after finishing my session and quaffing a hearty Viking ale grilled cheese from a towering flagon paper plate, I had questions. For instance, how do microtransactions work? How will multiplayer tie into the multi-part single-player storyline? How will Stoic balance all of that? What’s the deal with, er, the banners? Then we huddled around a centuries-old storytelling flame desk lamp, and Stoic told me a tale for the ages.

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Impressions: The Banner Saga’s F2P Multiplayer

I recently ventured to the definitely-not-cold, completely-un-northern reaches of sunny Austin, Texas, where Stoic welcomed me into its Kickstarter-funded Viking castle with open arms. OK, it was more of a paper-walled one-room office, but still. More importantly, the four-man squad of former BioWarians spent hours showing and telling me every last detail about their upcoming hand-drawn turn-based epic, The Banner Saga. So, in an attempt to make this digestible, I’ve broken it up into parts. First up, The Banner Saga: Factions, a free-to-play multiplayer spin-off set to launch in November. Inside, you’ll find my hands-on impressions. Next week, we’ll be posting interviews that cover everything else: how Stoic plans to handle microtransactions, the developer’s philosophy toward class balance, how matchmaking will work, gobs of details on the single-player campaign, and tons more. For now, though, here’s what it’s like to actually play the game. 

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The Banner Saga Reveals First Combat Shot

Click on it, fo'

I’m not sure I should be encouraging this recent habit of indies releasing a single screenshot of their in-development games. When major publishers do that we roll our eyes and shout things like, “THEY’RE ADVERTS FOR YOUR GAMES, YOU IDIOTS – JUST RELEASE DOZENS OF THEM.” Of course, Brian Fargo, and now Stoic are both showing the very first in-game image of a project they recently Kickstarted, likely putting them out before they themselves are ready – there’s a sense of obligation to share things much sooner when you’re funded by a few thousand strangers who want to play the game. And in this first picture of The Banner Saga in action (if you don’t count this one), we can literally see it in action.

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Living On The Pledge(s): The Banner Saga

I’m sure that many of the people reading this have pledged their hard-earned to at least one Kickstarter project and it may be of interest to see where that money has gone. Not into an actual game in most cases, not yet, but what happens when a project reaches its goals, the timer ticks down and the money rolls in? Stoic, the ex-Bioware staff working on turn-based beauty The Banner Saga, have released a video showing precisely what happens. Not only is the continuing transparency wonderful, with details of where the money is being spent, the video itself is fantastic. This is what the brave new world looks like. So many boxes.

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Banner Saga Kickstarter Wraps, Big Features Added

Soon, this whole scene will be rendered in Unreal Engine 23.
The seemingly infinite font of generosity that is Kickstarter has given rise to yet another rags-to-riches-to-restoration-of-faith-in-humanity tale – this time for the ex-BioWare trio at Stoic. If your only chance at survival after being crushed under a massive stack of cash was a bank-breaking, spine-saving donation to The Banner Saga, well, I don’t know what to tell you, seeing as the drive has now officially closed out at over $700,000. But, dear hilariously unfortunate reader, there is one upside: extra features! Tons of them! Though, admittedly, Banner Saga’s only been announced for platforms on this mortal plane so far.

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Kitching Up With Catchstarter’s Big Names

Delicious money

We’ve posted about exactly this many Kickstarter projects recently: a few. But what’s been going on lately with the likes of The Banner Saga, Leisure Suit Larry, Shadowland, Starlight Inception, Wasteland 2 and Bionite: Origins? In order to find out, I’ve just turned up unexpectedly at each of their doors, stared creepily at them for a few seconds and then wandered on to the next one.
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