The Banner Saga announced / Stoic Studio interview

IndieGameMag reports that Stoic Studio, a newly-formed indie operation consisting of three former Bioware employees, have announced that they are creating a new turn-based tactical RPG called The Banner Saga.

On their site, the devs describe their game as follows:

role-playing meets turn-based strategy, wrapped into an adventure mini-series about vikings.

Travel through stunning landscapes straight out of an animated film as your party escapes what could be the end of everything. Battle painstakingly hand-animated foes in strategic, turn-based combat. Make decisions with real consequences in conversations with people you’ll actually care about.

The Banner Saga is a mature game aimed at gamers who appreciate art, story and strategy.

Visually, the game features an isometric perspective and an art style that harkens back to Disney’s Sleeping Beauty era. The devs did a short interview with IndieGameMag, which you can check out here, including a screenshot of some combat. I still had a few questions of my own, however, so I emailed Stoic Studio and got a few extra details about the game.

Hey there! I just noticed a story on your upcoming game The Banner Saga on IndieGameMag, and I wanted to ask you fine gents a few questions before posting a blurb about it on

First: the game page says “free multiplayer combat coming soon.” Is The Banner Saga going to be a free-to-player multiplayer game? Or is that a reference to something separate? I’m having a hard time reconciling that with the bit about role-playing and making decisions in conversations (which I gather refers to a dialog tree system of some kind, and sort of implies a single player experience).

Hello Craig!

I’m Alex, Creative Director at Stoic. I’d be happy to answer a few questions for you!

Our first priority has always been to make a real, story-based, single player campaign with The Banner Saga just like you’re saying. As we developed our combat system we felt that we have something really unique and fun and figured why not release it as a standalone? As a result, the game will have a single player and multiplayer component. We’ll release the multiplayer combat for free later this year and release the single-player campaign soon after that. Rest assured, the single player campaign is our primary focus.

Second: you mentioned Shining Force and Final Fantasy Tactics (both personal favorites of mine) in your interview with Chris Priestman. I’m curious to know what you’re pulling from these games. Since both feature speed-based turn order, I gather your game will as well. Any features off of this list that you don’t mind sharing?

I’ll be honest, I loved Final Fantasy Tactics as a kid but the game that made me want to be a game developer has always been Shining Force. What really appealed to me was that you had this huge cast of characters who weren’t randomly generated and each had a unique look and backstory. I really cared about watching them become more powerful over time and the big sprite animations in combat made you feel like they were real characters instead of just little icons on the screen. What we’re aiming for in The Banner Saga is to make each character in your party somebody you care about and root for. I can’t say which exactly but one of our characters is even an homage to someone from Shining Force. Final Fantasy Tactics, on the other hand, was a much deeper strategy game. We think we’ve found a great place between the two that has a strong emphasis on strategy and a lot of room for character advancement. And yes, we will have initiative-based turn order.

As for the list of 12 way to improve turn-based combat, I can’t give too much away but I can say we are doing the vast majority of those things.

Thanks for your time.

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