Crafting The Banner Saga
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story
The Live Pixel recently posted a new interview with members of the Stoic team about their upcoming strategy role playing adventure game, The Banner Saga. The lengthy interview includes a detailed description of the game's elements, and reveals work on The Banner Saga: Factions - a combat focused multiplayer demo.
Justin Lowe: So, what is Banner Saga?The full interview is available at the website below.
The Live Pixel
Alex Thomas: The problem with that question is that Banner Saga is kind of complex; not in a pretentious way, but you cannot just say that it is a genre. We had a story idea and that was the kernel of it. Arnie and I were talking about it and thought, “This is a really cool idea and it would work with turn based strategy.” So we started looking at how we could integrate combat with the story. In most turn-based strategy, you play through a series of maps, there is not much interaction, it is somewhat dull, and no one cares about the story anyway. We wanted to focus on the tale that we were telling. So we were thinking, “What could we do to make it interesting, make you invested in the people that are in your caravan and civilization?”
The story is about the end of the world. The end of the world happened and the gods died, but the people that they created are left. So they are very confused. They do not know what happened or what is going to happen. They do not know what that means about the afterlife. There is another event happening that looks like another Ragnarok. Maybe this one is for them; they do not know. So they’re all scared, they don’t know what’s happening, and they have to travel to constantly escape this rolling wall of darkness. The inspiration came from The NeverEnding Story, like how the nothing was coming and sweeping up everything behind it. It is kind of a similar thing. A large part of the story is the mystery of what is causing it, what exactly it is, and how they can reverse it. Can they reverse it?
We questioned what kind of combat could encompass that idea. Turn-based strategy worked for us, but it could not be the only thing that happened. We came up with a travel mode that is sort of like a moving King of Dragon Pass, if you have ever played that. It is also like an advanced Oregon Trail, which many people are familiar with. We both had the idea that you are rolling along with your entire civilization. Events are happening and you have to deal with these problems. Instead of “billy bob broke a leg,” it is “these people in your caravan have a problem,” and there is multiple choice. Do you get involved? Do you let it sort itself out? That affects the makeup of your caravan. Along the way you can get into points where the main story kicks in, there’s events that happen as you’re going along, and how you deal with them affects what happens further down the road. That integrated pretty well with the idea of small combat. We kept building up back and forth on these ideas, and one would influence the other. Both systems would feel like things that you do in travel change what happens in combat, and vice versa. That was the crux of our concept for the game.
The Banner Saga (add to watch list)
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