The Banner Saga 2 Unfurling In April

The Banner Saga, as I remember, is a tactical RPG about a really nice flag and the rapscallions who want to steal it from you so they can really admire its fine needlework. That’s… hang on, no, Wot Adam Thought reminds me it’s a jolly pretty tactical RPG about a leading a caravan and army across a cruel Viking-y fantasy world – which becomes too repetitive. Still, it is a lovely flag, so let’s see what developers Stoic can do with a sequel. We’ve not long to wait now, as they’ve announced that The Banner Saga 2 [official site] will launch on Tuesday, April 19th.

Pip talked with two Stoic chaps last year about the second of the planned trilogy, about what carries over and what’s changed. Life-and-death decisions from the first game will be reflected in Banner Saga 2, see, continuing personal adventures. And they’ve watched Let’s Plays and read plenty of comments to pick up on what people disliked. As writer Drew McGee explained:

“One of the things we’ve seen a lot in comments is some of the combat felt a little slow, or not diverse enough so that was the number one thing we tackled. No-one seems to have a problem with the type of heroes you can play as, it’s the type of enemies you’re fighting so we went through and thought where can we spend our budget to diversify that enemy base – give them new abilities, buffs… My whole thing was to give them a culture and really extrapolate on that to bring the Dredge to life.”

Artist Arnie Jorgensen also chipped in with chat on things like new combat victory conditions beyond simply killing everyone, such as taking down one specific enemy or surviving for a certain number of rounds. In short, go read that! It’s a good thing.

The Banner Saga 2 will cost £14.99/$19.99 when it arrives for Windows and Mac on April 19th. While the first came to Linux, on 2 the devs say “At this time, due to the bandwidth on a such a small team, the Linux version is not being planned.” Here’s ye olde announcement trailer from last year:



    No linux? The first one supported linux…. why!?!?!

    • Mokinokaro says:

      This one appears to be bigger and, IIRC, Linux was a stretch goal on the original while they aren’t doing kickstarter for the sequel.

    • tomimt says:

      I suppose it tells something about the sales numbers for Linux version.

      • BATHTUBISREAL says:

        True, but that was a bit more than two years ago. Since then there have been many more games made/ported to linux, so many people that dual boot with windows are now getting rid of their windows partitions. Plus I’ve personally seen many people jumping ship since windows 10 does a lot of privacy invasion on top of other issues (all from here-say. I wouldn’t know nor really care). I feel like BS2 would sell many more linux copies than the first.

        • tomimt says:

          And everytime there’s statistics after these kind of claims the base is around 1-2%. I know some people love to say it every year, that Linux distros have gained more ground, but each year there’s just as little evidence of it as always.

  2. Infinitron says:

    Stoic have invested a very large amount of development time into this game – more than the first one! Which is unusual given that they already had an engine in place. That’s why I’m expecting good things.

  3. maximus says:

    i really enjoyed the first one, i never beat the last boss though =/ but up until that point was great, lots of twists and turns that really did catch me off guard and lamenting the loss of my some of my former companions.

    IMO i dont think the second one will disappoint.

    • maximus says:

      and i fecking loved the art which probably helped.

    • Premium User Badge

      Aerothorn says:

      Given that you can import your previous game’s save game, and that the ending is Really Important…you should try to finish the last boss! There are some good tips out there :)

      • draglikepull says:

        They also made the final battle *much* easier in one of the patches after so many players complained about the difficulty spike.

  4. draglikepull says:

    The first Banner Saga is my favourite game of the last few years. The only real fault that the original had was a lack of variety in combat scenarios, which they’ve apparently worked on fixing. Really looking forward to playing this one.

  5. Laurentius says:

    Oh I’m excitied and also a bit worrying. I loved BS and especially I adored its combat system, so not typical and clever. So I would be so happy to have more of this but there were some comments and interviews from journalists urging devs to make cpmbat system to be more akin to Firaxis’s XCOM and I wouldn’t want that at all.

  6. SuperCoolDude says:

    Dang, now I have to make an effort to beat the first one. Loved the first one, but I could never get past the very end few battles in the last town due to other games distracting me.

  7. SMGreer says:

    The first game was ruddy brilliant, even if the combat ended up a bit repetitive. Rich story, with great branching choices and one of the most beautiful art directions ever accomplished in games.

    If the 2nd game is only more of the same (though it promises to be a significant improvement) then I might find the time between binging on Dark Souls III for it!

    • Viral Frog says:

      I like that the decisions I made actually impacted the way the game played out. I don’t recall ever playing another game where the choices actually mattered, other than altering some dialogue.

      After realizing the first few choices I made were poor, I began to intentionally make poor choices to see if it would really alter the gameplay (side note: the choices were well done and I sometimes accidentally made good choices thinking they would result in poor outcomes. I was very impressed with this.) The story and gameplay reflected it, and the last few fights were brutally hard because of it. I definitely crippled myself pretty well.

  8. Premium User Badge

    Aerothorn says:

    The Banner Saga was my favorite game of 2014.

  9. teije says:

    I liked what I played of the first one a lot – so well designed and told – but got sidetracked by something else new and shiny partway through. And now a sequel. It’s all just too good of a time to be a gamer, isn’t it?

  10. Viral Frog says:

    I agree with the dev’s assessment of player critique. The player classes were pretty diverse and all enjoyable (IMO). The enemy types… well, there were like 3 types. Blech.

    Regardless, The Banner Saga cemented itself as one of my favorite turn based strategies of all time. The story is what sealed the deal for me. I legitimately felt bad for making such horrendous decisions and killing off my favorite characters. I never went back and played again, because I want to see how my poor leadership translates to the second game.

  11. Captain Narol says:

    Just finished The Banner Saga a few days ago, great to get chapter 2 so soon (it’s planed to be a trilogy) !

    Loved the story (quite moving and intense) and the art, but I hope they will change the combat system to something more classical…

    Ennemies moving twice or more in a turn because they are outnumbered just doesn’t makes sense, whatever some says…

  12. itmo says:

    antiquated combat, game pretends to give players choice when it doesn’t. You can win or loose the last battle and it makes no difference. Lazy design, bad combat, zero innovation.