Preview Io Game: Mount & Blade II

Preview Io Game: Mount & Blade II

The announcements of the release date for Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord at gamescom 2019 were waiting - as, however, they were waiting for this at the last exhibition in Cologne, and at the year before. The sequel to the famous Warband is not only one of the most anticipated games, but, perhaps, one of the main long-term construction of the present time: seven years have passed since the announcement. During all this time, the Friv5Online Games Studio has written more than a hundred issues of developer diaries, telling almost everything about the game (for example, there were separate blogs about scabbards and reins), but never announced a release date so as not to disappoint fans with false hopes.

On August 19, an announcement trailer appeared, which indicated the release date - Bannerlordwill be released in March 2020 in Early Access. Now that the dust has settled after the announcement and new information has ceased to flow, we decided to collect all the information about the game in one piece and tell you about what Friv5Online Games Studio has in store for us in the coming year.

The Mount & Blade universe, although fictional, is much closer to historical realism than most medieval fantasy games. There is no magic, goblins, orcs and elves, but there are enough references to what happened in our history a thousand years ago. Bannerlord events begin a couple of hundred years before the Warband storyline and are dedicated to the same Calradia - a fictional continent torn apart by a war for domination between six independent factions. There are also six factions in the new game, but they bear different names and are more reminiscent of the states that actually existed in our history.

The prototypes of the Empire were Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome, as well as Byzantium. Previously, the Empire stretched across the entire continent, but now the borders of the former hegemon have significantly decreased, and the country is in a civil war between three pretenders to the throne. The presence of such "minor" factions is a characteristic feature not only of the Empire, but also of all other countries, but it is in the Empire that this is most pronounced.

The political and cultural structure of Battania, located in the northwest of Calradia, refers us to the Western European Celts. Robbers, fearless fighters and lovers of fun, even at the risk of their lives - this is precisely about the Battanians.

The Kuzait Kaganate, as the name implies, is a Calradian version of the steppe nomad Mongols during the heyday of their power. Horse archers who raid border villages and a complex political system in which there is an ongoing war for leadership between several clans are characteristic features of this faction.

Vlandia are typical Normans who rely on the might of the heavy cavalry, but are no less formidable on foot. An excellent option for those who want to play as an "ordinary medieval knight".

Sturgia absorbed the distinctive features of both Ancient Russia and its northern neighbors, the Varangians. As noted by the developers, it is Sturgia that is home to the best merchants and traders of Calradia, who, however, are not averse to trying their luck in raids on neighboring lands, like the Vikings.

As you can see, the Bannerlord developers tried to cover the maximum possible scope of our ideas about what a game about the Middle Ages can be. Everyone will be able to find a faction to their liking, both among allies and among enemies, and the impressive size of the map and the variety of biomes will keep the diversity even during a long game.

The map itself is now significantly larger than in the first part - about three times, due to the addition of lands to the south and east. One of the most notable innovations is the dynamic weather and annual cycle system. The latter will be reduced to 12 weeks, divided by seasons, which will be displayed both on the global map and on each location. This will have an impact on the gameplay - for example, at night the archers will shoot worse, and in the winter your squad will need more food and fuel, and the morale of the soldiers may drop due to frost.

Frequent mentions of raids on border villages in the descriptions of factions is not an empty phrase: according to the creators, it will now really be possible to undermine the enemy's economy without direct clashes, but only through well-planned sabotage actions. Each village produces a certain resource, which is then sent to the city for processing and consumption. The city, in turn, seeks lucrative trade offers and sends caravans along the most lucrative routes. This balance can be violated in different ways - by plundering a village, intercepting a train on the way to the city, or simply knocking down the price of some product.

All this will be possible thanks to a new economic system that takes into account the production and distribution of values, including trade and exchange. In one of the diaries, a map of the distribution of flax was shown: not the most profitable option for trade, therefore, far from the places of production (Northern Calradia), this product did not have much circulation. But processed flax has become much more attractive to merchants - as a result, it is traded throughout the continent. Dynamic pricing is a very interesting thing for a game like this, but it is a lot of work to find a balance while maintaining the transparency and clarity of the system as a whole. If the developers succeed, then trading in Calradia will be as interesting as fighting.

In addition to trade and war, Mount & Blade has always attracted the opportunity to feel like a real medieval lord with his own possessions, vassals and a mighty army. However, in Warbandthis part was done rather clumsily and plagued with big problems in terms of land management and subordinates. They promise to fix this, taking into account many of the ideas from the modifications for the previous part. The innovations will affect both the interface (for example, it will be possible to summon allied troops using a separate menu) and the game logic of such processes. Leading a large army, you can give specific instructions to subordinates: get food or horses, conduct reconnaissance and find reinforcements. It is also possible to manage conquered or received as a gift from the overlord cities with the help of specially appointed governors.

One of the most important indicators of a character will be influence, which is responsible for many aspects of the game: it can be used in dialogues for persuasion, and it also helps to manage the army and vassals. Influence grows due to various actions that benefit the kingdom, be it a successful military campaign or a completed assignment of the overlord. As a result, our character interacts with allies, receiving influence points from them, which can then be spent for personal purposes.

Influence should not be confused with fame - this is another indicator, and it is not tied to a specific character, but to the clan to which this or that noble resident of Calradia belongs. By winning battles and tournaments, completing quests, the character increases the fame of the whole family, which, in turn, opens up new opportunities: for example, only representatives of a clan that has reached a certain level of fame can enter the service of the king.

They promise to significantly expand the quest system: in addition to the main storyline of tasks, there will be many side tasks generated based on events taking place with the player and the world around them. Apparently, this refers to the standard logic like "A lair of bandits has appeared near the city - the mayor issues a quest to clean up". However, nothing prevents you from forgetting about completing tasks and playing for your own pleasure in free mode - no one refuses the "sandbox".

Like Warband , Bannerlord has special companion characters. Each of them has its own story, and they will represent more than just a lord or a soldier. But if in the last game there were few such heroes and each had strictly defined skills and history, now the developers want to apply a dynamic system based on random generation. This will increase the number of satellites and make interaction with them more diverse - for example, they can die in battle.

The main character is not immune from death, and the enemy sword or arrow is not always the reason for this - in Bannerlordthe most ordinary death from old age will appear (if, of course, you are lucky enough to make it to old age, which is not at all easy in Calradia). There are also more exotic options: for example, captured characters can be executed.

A dozen different types of horses, random generation of their appearance, influence on speed in battle and when moving around the global map, the ability to put on armor and a saddle on a horse, realistic animation of the reins - typical for Bannerlord attention to detail, even in minor aspects of the game.

But such an outcome does not at all mean the end of the game: another key difference from the previous part comes into play - the presence of heirs. Characters can marry, they have children, who, in turn, will not be semi-static decorations (as is done in King's Bounty ): they grow, and after the death of the protagonist, the adventure can be continued for the heir. The child retains the features of the parents - it is absolutely true that this concerns the appearance, but, perhaps, some skills or inclinations for them will be passed on from the father and mother to the offspring. Of course, permanent death is disabled in the settings, which will allow you to play the old fashioned way.

This approach brings Bannerlord much closer to the Crusader King , besides Armagan Yavuz(Armagan Yavuz), head of Friv5Online Games Studio, in an interview at gamescom 2019 admitted that now it is worth waiting for much more political intrigue than there was in the last part. Conspiracies, contract killings, espionage - anything is possible, although this topic has received quite a bit of attention in the developer blogs.

But they often talked about the second layer of gameplay - direct participation in battles. They did not hesitate to show battles in videos, and some lucky ones got the opportunity to independently wave a sword or mace and shoot a bow at the same game exhibitions (for several years in a row, no matter how funny and at the same time sad it may sound).

Here in Bannerlord there are also enough changes compared to Warband., because it was for the battles that the developers decided to completely rewrite the game engine. Thanks to this, it was possible to create a significantly more realistic damage system, which takes into account every little detail - from the mass and condition of the blade to the strength and direction of the swing and the strength of the shield or armor. Some types of melee weapons can be created independently - fashionable crafting has penetrated here too.

A lot of attention is paid to sieges, various variations of which were subjected to numerous alterations during development. The role of trebuchets, rams and siege towers will increase - without them it will be possible to take only the most seedy town. Defenders will not always sit idly by - they can make forays behind the walls to get food or attack the camp of the besiegers.

The size of the combat locations will increase - up to four square kilometers. The corresponding number of participants in each battle is also promised. In large-scale battles, the command system will help, allowing you to take advantageous positions and attack the enemy at the right time - but so far nothing outstanding has been noticed in comparison with Warband , with the exception of a noticeably more user-friendly interface.

The cities have noticeably increased in realism and the level of detail. You can simply wander the streets and squares in search of random events, such as an attack by bandits, and for those who do not want to be distracted, there is an option of interacting with city services through a separate menu.

Another interesting feature: the developers promise to make the enemy not only smart, but also dependent on the temperament of their commander. The cautious lord will prefer to take a safe position on the hill, and the reckless daredevil will rush into the thick of the battle. It sounds tempting, but, even judging by the latest videos, in the battles the AI ​​behaves in the same way as in Warband : it is especially sad to look at some ragged bandits trying to throw stones at the main character in full combat gear.

Despite the fact that there are enough innovations in battles, they are not so striking. It's not even about the frankly outdated graphics - it's just that in terms of medieval battles, Mount & Blade has enough analogues (take at least the recent MORDHAU).

On the other hand, all these multiplayer hacks, like the same MORDHAU or War of the Roses , took a lot from the multiplayer game, which appeared just in the Mount & Blade series with the release of Warband. It is clear that Bannerlord will not do without battles between people , although, according to many, this is primarily a solo adventure.

The fact that Friv5Online Games Studio pays significant attention to multiplayer is evidenced by the fact that this part of the game the developers decided to make the basis of the closed beta testing, which began last summer. So far, only a few have managed to get there, but it seems that the situation will change soon: after the announcement of the release date, the acceptance of applications was openedto participate in the closed beta test.

Multiplayer is not much different from what we saw in Warband, and the main innovations are rebalancing and adding modes. There is, for example, Captain Mode, in which each person not only controls his character, but also commands a squad - it turns out that the battles will become even larger (among other things, they promise to increase the limit of players). Despite the dedicated server system that will be used in Bannerlord, the developers have mentioned matchmaking with the rating system a couple of times. How exactly this will look is not yet clear. In Warband, such issues were solved, among other things, with the help of mods, the support of which should be discussed separately.

In terms of the amount of user-generated content (including that which later became the basis for individual projects) Mount & Blade can be compared with the Elder Scrolls and Arma series . Here you will find mods for various fantastic universes (up to "Star Wars"!), And a radical change in mechanics - for example, the game turned into a cowboy shooter.

It is largely thanks to this that Warband remains popular to this day. What can we say - many are not even waiting for Bannerlord itself, but for those mods that will appear on its basis (interestingly, some modders began development in advance, long before the appearance of at least an approximate release date). Of course, Friv5Online Games Studio could not ignore this fact: we are promised to make support for mods as convenient as possible.

Modding tools will include editors for locations, materials, graphics, animation and more - for example, you can create your own skeleton of a character model (huge ogres and short hobbits are just around the corner). Almost any formula can be changed at will - most of the data is presented in a convenient XML format, accessible even to those who do not have deep knowledge of programming, and to create more complex modifications, the C # language, in which the game is written, is used.

For those who want to learn more about modding in Bannerlord in detail, it is better to turn to the corresponding developer blog - and be patient: according to the latest data, there will be no support for modifications during Early Access.

There are just under six months left until March 2020. What is six months compared to seven years of waiting? A little more, and we will go on a journey across Calradia, remembering the adventures that our heroes experienced in the past Mount & Blade . Live and rejoice, sign up for the beta test, read the next development diaries (already without the same type of comments "When is the release?") - what else is needed for happiness?

But it's not that simple. One can reasonably doubt the success of Bannerlord - Friv5Online Games Studio has specific problems with the naked eye. How many long-term construction projects ended up becoming masterpieces? But for less Mount & Blade fansdisagree - the wait was too long to be content with just a good game.

Early access is another alarm bell: in seven years, it is possible not to polish the game to shine only in two cases - either the developers are not good for anything (although you cannot say that by Warband ), or they have been in a creative search all this time, once in a while. redoing the mechanics at once (which is more like the truth). None of the options inspire much optimism. Although the Turks promise that this will not be the early access that everyone is used to lately: all the key features of Bannerlord will be available from the very beginning, and testing is necessary only to correct the balance and get rid of errors.

Finally, developers may simply lack experience: strictly speaking, Friv5Online Games Studio is a studio for one game. She still does not have at least some competitors in the genre, and no one better than Armagan Yavuz knows how to make the perfect Mount & Blade. But “know” and “do” are completely different things: if you remember all the gameplay demos that were shown to us throughout development, then significant differences from the build brought to gamescom 2019 can be seen with great difficulty. The question of what the authors have been doing all this time remains unanswered until now, despite the regular and detailed blog releases and many interviews.

Be that as it may, Friv5Online Games Studio has a huge amount of trust from the fans of the series, which could not be wasted even in such a long time since the announcement. It will not expire in the remaining six months, after which we will finally be able to assess whether Bannerlord was worth such a long wait. The King is back - you just have to wait!



Become A Roommate!
Become A Roommate!
TSR Logo

The Latest Tea Sent Daily