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Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord now available on Early Access

Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord now available on Early Access

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Mon 30 March 2020, 20:26:50

Tags: Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord; TaleWorlds

Before the Kickstarter era, Mount & Blade was considered one of the Codex's great games. In an age of linear popamole, here was a complex sandbox action-RPG and medieval combat simulator, where players could fight on horseback, participate in large-scale battles and lay siege to castles. The definitive incarnation of the Mount & Blade formula was 2010's Mount & Blade: Warband, which was followed over the years by various third party spinoffs of generally middling quality while developer TaleWorlds worked on a proper sequel. Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord was announced in 2012 and has since become one of gaming's more notorious vaporware titles. Today, seven and a half years later, we at last have a release - not the release, but an Early Access release. Here's the launch trailer and an excerpt from the Early Access FAQ:

Approximately how long will this game be in Early Access?
“While we do not have a set date for a full release at this moment in time, we expect that the game will be in early access for around a year. Our focus is on ensuring that the game is fun and enjoyable rather than imposing a deadline that might have a negative impact on the final product.”

How is the full version planned to differ from the Early Access version?
“The early access version of the game contains a wealth of content that will keep players engaged for many hours. While the early access version is very much stable and playable, players can expect to run into some obscure bugs and other issues while playing that we intend to locate and fix before the full release.

The early access version will be reusing scenes for different towns, may lack some supporting features, may have a limited number of quests, voice-overs, etc. and may lack localizations for some languages.

Throughout the course of the early access period we intend to introduce the missing supporting features, such as, rebellions, kingdom creation and weapon crafting, while expanding and enhancing many of the existing features that are outlined below.”

What is the current state of the Early Access version?
“In terms of content, the early access version of the game contains all of the main staples of the Mount & Blade experience, with a host of content that is new to the series. Players can create their own character using the game’s character creation system; explore the continent of Calradia; gather their own warband of troops; command and fight alongside their troops in large scale battles using the game’s extensive command system and intuitive skill-based directional combat system; raid settlements; lay siege to and capture enemy towns and castles; trade items and goods using the game’s deep economy system; engage in politics and diplomacy; manage their own clan; upgrade and manage settlements; gather armies and wage war; and much, much more... all in a vast singleplayer sandbox setting where no two playthroughs are the same. The early access version also includes fully supported multiplayer game modes for players to test their combat skills and tactical prowess against players from all over the world.”

Will the game be priced differently during and after Early Access?
“There is no plan to change pricing after early access.”

How are you planning on involving the Community in your development process?
“We intend to use a range of different methods to gather player feedback and data throughout the early access period. These include engaging with users directly on our official forum and our Steam forum, requesting specific feedback through questionnaires, hosting and participating in multiplayer events alongside our community, and using analytics tools to gather data.”​

The Bannerlords Early Access is available on Steam for $50 with a 10% launch discount for the next two weeks. That's not cheap, but it sounds like it's pretty good. In these virus-haunted times, the game is sure to do well. Though of course, for that same reason, I'd take the over on its final release date.

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