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Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord release date, gameplay, factions explored

Everything we know about Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord

After nearly a decade of development, it looks like Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord might be finally upon us. This prequel to the much-beloved, much-modded open-world RPG Mount & Blade looks to expand greatly upon almost every aspect of the original. Below we've outlined everything you need to know about the game, from Bannerlord release date details to gameplay previews, combat details, multiplayer and modding tools, and much more.

Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord details (click links to find out more!):

  • Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord is an upcoming open-world RPG with a heavy emphasis on medieval combat and army management. It is the long-awaited prequel to the venerable Mount & Blade and its two expansions, Warband and With Fire & Sword.
  • Bannerlord will be released into Early Access on Steam on 31st March 2020, and the full release is expected sometime in 2021.
  • We've seen various clips and previews of Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord by now. It certainly looks better than the original!
  • Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord features an expansive open world, numerous factions, and an intricate medieval combat system. If you haven't played the original Mount & Blade, think of it as a land-based Sid Meier's Pirates! crossed with a Paradox grand strategy game, and every battle takes you into a round of Mordhau.
  • Developer TaleWorlds have confirmed that Bannerlord will have multiplayer as well as singleplayer modes, along with extensive modding support.

Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord release date

Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord will release on Tuesday 31st March as a Steam Early Access title. TaleWorlds have not yet provided a release date for Bannerlord's full release, but they expect the game to remain in Early Access for "around a year".

Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord gameplay preview

If you're itching for some juicy Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord gameplay, be sure to check out the below previews, where videomancer Matthew will take you through what you can expect to see when Bannerlord drops at the end of the month.

Watch on YouTube

Watch on YouTube

Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord features

Mount & Blade veterans will no doubt be instantly familiar with many of the various Bannerlord features on offer, but there have still been more than a few developments and new ideas with this new installment. Let's go over the major aspects of the upcoming medieval RPG one by one.

Bannerlord map (Calradia)

  • Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord is set two centuries before the original Mount & Blade, on the same continent as the previous games - a sprawling land called Calradia.
  • The general lay of the land will be familiar to players of the previous games, but in Bannerlord Calradia covers a larger area and allegedly features more mountain ranges and geographical features to create chokepoints.
  • TaleWorlds forum-dweller "Vesper" has created an impressive mockup of the Bannerlord map, detailing all known factions, towns, castles, villages, and more. Take a look below.
Mount & Blade 2 Bannerlord map
Right-click and Open Link in New Tab to view at full resolution.

Bannerlord factions

  • There are a total of eight factions in Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord, although three of them (the Northern, Southern, and Western Empires) are technically a single faction (the Calradic Empire) split into three due to civil war.
  • The above map contains a helpful key in the top-left indicating which territories are controlled by which factions.
  • The below table details each of the eight factions in Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord.

Northern Empire Capital: Unknown Ruler: Senator LuconOne of the three splinter states of the Calradic Empire. All three factions specialize in archery and cataphracts (heavy cavalry).
Southern Empire Capital: Unknown Ruler: Empress RhagaeaOne of the three splinter states of the Calradic Empire. All three factions specialize in archery and cataphracts (heavy cavalry).
Western Empire Capital: Unknown Ruler: GariosOne of the three splinter states of the Calradic Empire. All three factions specialize in archery and cataphracts (heavy cavalry).
Aserai Capital: Quyaz Ruler: Sultan UnqidAncestors of the Sarranids from Warband. Hailing from the Nahasa desert to the south, they specialize in spears and fast-moving cavalry.
Battania Capital: Marunath Ruler: King CaladogA forest-oriented folk, the Battanians are experts with the longbow and prefer to utilize guerrilla tactics.
Khuzait Khanate Capital: Makeb Ruler: MonchugAn expansionist faction, akin to the Mongols. Controlling the eastern border of Calradia, they unsurprisingly specialize in horse archery.
Sturgia Capital: Unknown Ruler: Prince RaganvadA forest-dwelling, warmongering northern faction. The Sturgians' lands are rich in resources for use in trade.
Vlandia Capital: Pravend Ruler: King DerthertThese ancestors of the Swadians from Warband start with the most territory but also the most internal strife. Specializes in crossbowmen.

Bannerlord combat

  • Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord will utilise a similar directional melee combat system to previous Mount & Blade titles (as well as games like Chivalry and Mordhau).
  • There are a great many weapons to choose from, both melee and ranged; and each weapon has a different weight, feel, speed, range, and set of behaviours and damage stats.
  • As well as the usual strikes and blocks, you can mix things up with kicks and feints; and there's a whole sub-system of combat devoted to handling horseback combat too.
  • Battles in Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord aren't just about you; they're also about your troops. In Bannerlord you'll get to command whole armies from the battlefield, issuing commands to different squads on the fly.

Bannerlord multiplayer

  • While players of the original game had to wait until the release of Warband in order to play multiplayer, Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord will feature multiplayer as well as singleplayer modes from launch.
  • TaleWorlds have announced a new Captain Mode, a 5v5 PvP mode where players and their armies must work together to capture mobile flags on an enormous battlefield.
  • There is also a Skirmish Mode, a 6v6 multiplayer mode where players choose a class and then fight it out without any armies, just their own weapons, armor, and skills (and horses) to help lead them to victory.

Bannerlord mods

  • Modding has always been an enormously important aspect of the Mount & Blade series, and TaleWorlds have recognised this in their development of Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord.
  • The new engine that Bannerlord uses will help streamline the process for the modding community, and there will be support for multiple mods running at once for the first time ever in the series.
  • This is what TaleWorlds founder Armağan Yavuz had to say on the topic of Bannerlord mods in an interview with PCGamer back in 2015:

"The new engine that we have is so much easier to work with for modders. We have things like the terrain editor, the scene editor, etc. Those are much improved. They will give greater tools for modders. Also, our scripting system is now using .NET, so players will be able to write in C#. It is going to be much easier for them to create mods.

We'll be supporting multiple mods together, so players will be able to cherry pick the mods that they want, and they'll be able to use them altogether to exactly customise the experience that they want. If, for example, one changes the user interface and another edits some items and another is some political thing, players will be able to combine those and play their dream game."

Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord combat

That just about covers every aspect of the upcoming Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord that we know anything concrete about at this juncture. But be sure to check back soon for all the latest updates and news!

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