If you want an example of a true cult classic game that has endured the vagaries of time and technology, you need not look any further than ‘Mount & Blade’. The series first launched over a decade ago in 2008, looking rather ugly and janky even for that time. However, the medieval charm and completely uninhibited gameplay structure made the game an instant cult classic.
‘Mount & Blade’ was a hardcore Role Playing experience, with a steep learning curve and multi layered combat and strategy systems. This was only expounded by the game’s two major standalone expansions – 2010’s ‘Mount & Blade: Warband’ and 2011’s ‘Mount & Blade: With Fire & Sword’.
Naturally, fans of the series were excited when developer TaleWorlds Entertainment announced a sequel in 2012, only to be disappointed year on year as the game’s development ambled along at a glacial pace. However, with the sequel finally getting a concrete release date (sort of), read on to find out everything we know about ‘Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord’.
What is the Mount & Blade Series About?
The original ‘Mount & Blade’ came out in 2008 and received as much criticism for its glaring lack of polish as praise for its immersive mechanics and deep combat system. The game featured no plot line to speak of, and simply dropped the player into a massive medieval Action Role Playing Game RPG) Sandbox as their very own fully customizable character.
The story and mission structure of the game was completely non linear and completely organic. You were essentially left up to your own devices, free to play as good, evil or somewhere in between. You also had the freedom to pick your allies, choose your enemies and take up any quest that caught your fancy. Due to the sandbox nature of the game, there was essentially no end game or wind condition – you could play for as long as you wanted to, doing what you wanted to.
‘Mount & Blade’ was followed up by a standalone expansion titled ‘Mount & Blade: Warband’ a couple of years later in 2010, and was a complete gamechanger. It added diplomacy, updated graphics and better artificial intelligence pathfinding to the game, in addition to an expanded map and a sixth new faction known as The Sarranid Sultanate. However, the real draw of ‘Mount & Blade: Warband’ was the new Multiplayer mode which facilitated massive online battles of up to 25 players on a single server. Two subsequent DLC packs, ‘Napoleonic Wars’ and ‘Viking Conquest’ added new characters, settings, factions and multiplayer modes to the game.
A second standalone expansion titled ‘Mount & Blade: With Fire & Sword came out in 2011 and featured an all new world map and factions based on the historical novel ‘With Fire and Sword’ by Polish novelist Henryk Sienkiewicz.
Besides the total freedom and addictive RPG gameplay associated with the game, the series has always been renowned for its exhaustive modding support and enthusiastic modding community. Even today, ‘Mount & Blade: Warband’ remains one of the most mod friendly games out there today, with a number of available Singleplayer, Multiplayer, visual and gameplay mods that can completely change the complexion of the game. In fact, a very popular ‘Mount & Blade’ mod expansion titled ‘A World of Ice and Fire’ allows the player to explore Westeros and recreate iconic events from the ‘Game of Thrones’ TV show and books.
Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord Plot: What is It About?
‘Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord’ is set 210 years before the timeline of its predecessor on the continent of Calradia, smack dab in the middle of the period of decline of the great Calradic Empire. The continent is being invaded by outside forces while it is already embroiled in a three way civil war.
The Steam Page for the game describes it as follows: “The horns sound, the ravens gather. An empire is torn by civil war. Beyond its borders, new kingdoms rise. Gird on your sword, don your armour, summon your followers and ride forth to win glory on the battlefields of Calradia. Establish your hegemony and create a new world out of the ashes of the old.”
The premise of ‘Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord’ is largely the same – you create your own custom character and build up a party of soldiers while performing quests for various towns and Non Playable Characters (NPCs). There is no main villain, no singular epic subquest or even a proper narrative structure. In classic ‘Mount & Blade’ fashion, the story will be what you make of it.
However, the game will feature a total of 8 factions this time around – the Calradian Empire, Vlandia, Khuzait Khanate, Battania, Aserai, Sturgians and more. Many of these factions will also have their own minor factions, often with competing priorities.
Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord Gameplay
‘Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord’ is an Action Role Playing Game presented from a top down map view while traveling or completing quests, and a Third Person view while engaged in ground combat. Previous games in the series also allow toggling between Third Person and First Person views, so it is highly likely that you will be able to do so in the new game as well.
‘Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord’ will feature significant gameplay improvements over its predecessor, with a redesigned Seige mechanic that allows offensive armies to bombard enemy castle merlons, gatehouses and siege engines for additional strategic flexibility in attack. The defending armies also get a cool new addition of their own – Murder Holes at key ingress points of the castle to thin off the invading army.
The new game will also feature an overhauled dialogue system and Persuasion mechanic that will give players the option to charm their way into favorable situations, and debate their way out of bad ones. The Persuasion system will also enable the game’s courtship and marriage system, which has now been expanded to include the concept of children and heirs. If your main character happens to die during a battle, the heir inherits all their soldiers and becomes the new player character.
Of course, ‘Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord’ will feature a robust multiplayer offering, including 6 vs 6 skirmishes and a new 5 v 5 Captain mode. The game will also reinvigorate the franchise’s kinship with the modding community, with extensive modding support and access to developer tools.
Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord Developers: Who Are The People Behind It?
‘Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord’ is being developed by Turkish videogame developer TaleWorlds Entertainment.
Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord Release Date: When And Where Can I Play It?
‘Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord’ is set to release on Steam Early Access by March 2020. It will be available exclusively on PC.
Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord Trailer
You can watch the trailer for ‘Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord’ right here:
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