Greetings warriors of Calradia!
August and September have been exciting months - Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord finally got its release date (October 25th), pre-orders opened for consoles and many of you came to say Hi at Gamescom and Pax.
And while it is a major milestone for the game to come to consoles, our announcement made it clear that this won’t be the end of the journey. This is what we want to talk to you about today.
Road to ReleaseAs the release date approaches, we are preparing a number of additional updates that many of you have been eagerly anticipating.
For one, we really cannot leave our lords and ladies without a banner any longer. You may have already seen how they look in the recent demo footage, but, just in case, we have attached a screenshot below.
The banners in the game will be equippable items that players and AI heroes can use to benefit the formations they lead in battle. Alongside them we will also be introducing new crafting pieces with cloth attachments. These won’t just allow players to create weapons with an extra bit of flair - they will add to the overall visual experience as troops are reequipped to carry them as well.
And while these changes will spice up our existing scenes, we have also been hard at work on new ones. Soon each of our 53 towns will be unique and the pool for castles, battle terrains and smaller locations like hideouts will also continue to be expanded. Of course, the world map will see further improvements as well.
To add onto this, we are finalizing a fundamental overhaul of the agent AI movement system, which helps NPCs deal with difficult terrain (like in sieges) and notably improves issues with congestion. It does so through a range of physics adjustments, better situational understanding and manners (waiting on the allies ahead) and by shifting away from a binary, cardinal input and towards a partial, 360 degree one - think keyboard vs controller. Naturally, you, the player, will still be able to play with either.
Siege tower assault
Now, looks and movement are important - but so is audio. Accordingly, we are quite happy to say that AI characters will soon receive the first iteration of voice overs for storyline dialogues and greetings. Conversations in general will also benefit from a range of new and updated facial expressions.
Voice over, Imperial mentor Arzagos
Beyond these, the recently shared custom servers, battle mode and multiplayer modding will continue to receive support. Much like them, the steam workshop is also being tested with a number of our community members. Thanks to that, it should become available to you in the near future.
Multiplayer battle event on a custom server
Finally, many of you have asked about achievements - they as well as steam trading cards, backgrounds and emoticons are scheduled to arrive with the game’s release.
Post-ReleaseBy this time all of the above should be in your hands and we look forward to your thoughts on these additions. Naturally, we are also quite excited to learn how you like the game on consoles.
Our intention at this point is to continue making improvements based on your feedback. Having said that, there are already plans for a number of specific features and tweaks that we can discuss with you now.
To begin with, we return to a classic - early in development we explored a prototype of the player not just clearing but taking over common areas from criminals. This will be coming to the game. It will work similarly to other enterprises (like workshops and caravans) that provide players with a passive income but will also have its own twist. As they are not exactly legal ventures, you will need to deal with our crime system. Yet it’s not all bad - operating from the shadows will allow you to keep going in hostile environments and, coupled with further encyclopedia “fog of war” updates, allow you to retain access to information you would otherwise not have.
In addition to this, you will see the introduction of more specialized combat options. For one, players are going to be able to sally out and launch a surprise attack on besiegers in order to destroy their siege engines. This will take place in the existing siege locations but follow a separate set of rules.
The regular siege assault, in turn, won’t be ignored either. We are working on a range of balance changes to tip the scales more in favor of siege towers and rams. For example, pushing ladders off the walls will be possible even when there are enemies climbing them - in Singleplayer and Multiplayer.
Falling off the siege ladder
Naturally, there will also be various tweaks to other systems - whether that is the ability to target enemy formations, which has been requested by our captain mode community in particular, or the ability to place companions in specific formations in the “Order of Battle”.
And should your character grow too old and tired to continue the fight, a new location will allow them to hand over the reins to the next generation - or put an end to the clan. Whether a game over occurs due to a conscious choice like this, old age or ill tidings, it deserves a bit of ceremony. To a good degree, the ingame cutscenes and cinematics provide that. Yet wouldn’t it be nice to look back at what you achieved over the years? This is where game over statistics will come in - tracking your every step (or at least some of them) and providing a tally when your game ends or you finish the storyline.
Game over statistics
In a similar vein, content creators are going to be able to make records of their adventures using our replay editor. While our focus has been with the game, the editor still saw progress and will likely be shared as part of the modding tools in the coming months.
Overall, there are many more ideas that we are keen to explore as part of our regular developments. Some of these are smaller topics like balance tweaks to our auto-battle-resolution, companion variety, raiding, settlement projects or multiplayer classes and modes. Others concern improvements to control schemes and haptic feedback, modding tools, multiplayer taunts and maps, diplomacy decision making, the clan-kingdom lifecycle, the mission atmosphere and weather system, as well as a variety of quality of life changes such as party member sorting. And yet others will be more involved such as the claimant quest and the multiplayer spectator mode.
To address the elephant in the room, and some of the questions that came with it, we are certainly also open to DLCs as they are a great way to provide you with additional content that does not fit into the base game’s scope. Having said that, it will be some time before we release any DLC, it will be a gradual shift in development and it will not be mutually exclusive as the base game will also continue to receive updates.
As a testament to that - there is no particular DLC that we want to announce right now. However, we are observing and discussing many of the topics that you are passionate about.
In this regard, we also want to express our heartfelt gratitude to everyone that has supported us throughout the early access period. The game has come a long way and it wouldn’t have been possible without you and your passion for Mount&Blade.
We look forward to taking the next steps of this journey with you - as well as anyone that may join us on the way.
You can pre-order the game on consoles here:
PlayStation EU | PlayStation US | Xbox