In February, a trio of former BioWare vets announced a somewhat mysterious but gorgeously drawn new project, The Banner Saga. Today, they've unveiled a Kickstarter campaign for the game, which comes with some further information about their plans and designs.
The initial plan for The Banner Saga is for it to be a DRM-free release for PC and Mac. Should the Kickstarter campaign exceed its goals, Stoic may port the game to iOS and consoles. The eventual hope is for the upcoming game to be the first instalment in a trilogy. As for content, as the art and trailer have hinted so far, the game takes place in a Viking-inspired setting, painstakingly hand-drawn and evocative of the best 2D animation of years gone by. It's not about saving the world, the site explains, but rather an examination of how one copes with the end that is coming.
The main emphasis of the development seems to be on creating and preserving player choice, and through decision to give players a sense of ownership and participation in the story. The theme is repeated often throughout their description:
The choices you make as events arise have a huge affect on how the story plays out — who survives, who dies, and what's worth saving. Add people to your caravan as you travel, or lose them when tough decisions arise.
Your choices in dialogue and throughout the game truly affect the story and the people around you. A mature story for adults means forming relationships and making tough decisions.
In The Banner Saga you can't take anything for granted. We want it to feel like a good tv mini-series; the world doesn't revolve around you, it's about how you deal with change.
The Kickstarter description also gives a slight elaboration on the turn-based, strategic combat revealed earlier, indicating that throughout the game, players recruit NPCs with different skills and tactics to their cause and must rely carefully on tactics to rather than force to succeed.
Talking with Gamasutra, one of the Stoic Studio founders, Alex Thomas, explained:
"For us, more than anything, The Banner Saga is a chance to take a risk. Here's the bottom line — we wanted to make a game that you can really influence, that feels like a TV miniseries. You're not watching superheroes, you're watching people with their own motivations and desires that you can relate to. You want to see what happens to them and how they deal with conflict."
"That, more than anything, is what we want to capture. We're basing our gameplay on this one imperative, and every system informs another to come back to this idea. We're so desperate to play a game like this — a game for adults about adults, a game that isn't a sex and violence power fantasy, that we're making it ourselves."
Stoic Studios' website still indicates that free multiplayer combat for The Banner Story is "coming soon", but, alas, does not indicate when "soon" might be.