Gamepressure spoke to Armagan Yavuz, founder of TaleWorlds Interactive and creator of the legendary Mount and Blade series. After the release date of the game, the portal asked him many questions about Mount and Blade 2: Bannerlord. Including the question: "Why the hell took so long?" We've translated the highlights.
Work on Mount and Blade 2: Bannerlord began in 2012, and the game has been shown to the press several times at different events, looking basically the same every time. We already thought that the developer would continue to delay the creation, only postponing the release of his creation, when suddenly he announced that the game would be released in early 2020. While this will simply be Early Access, and the final release deadline is still a mystery, we are not going to look the gift horse in the mouth.
It's been seven years since the official announcement of the game, so ... why all of a sudden there is such a rush now?
Armagan Yavuz, Founder of TaleWorlds Interactive: [laughs] It was an interesting journey, albeit a long one ... In a way, it is a dream project made out of passion. We wanted everything to work perfectly in many different ways. Keep in mind that we are not a very experienced team, so we had to redo a few core mechanics to meet our own standards. It took a little longer than expected, but now I can see the end of this journey.
What's the hardest part about creating a sequel to a game that has become a cult classic for many gamers?
This is more complicated than it sounds. You want to improve everything to a great extent. One could be content with improving the main points: tweaked graphics, smoother animations and the release of the sequel itself. However, we want to create a game with our own vision, with all the mechanics, polished and well-coordinated teamwork. This was the hardest part because at the same time you are aware of the enormous expectations both in the community and in the studio itself. It all connects, and you start to feel pressure because you want to show everything at the highest level.
What's the biggest difference between creating Bannerlord and Warband?
This time we have two big advantages. It's a big team and a lot of resources. In the second part, we use much more advanced technologies. Much of the production is based on C #, a language much more extensive than our previous system. All this allows us to create a more complex and interesting game.
Let's move on to the game itself. I played it for only 20 minutes and during this time I realized that I was a worthless commander. Not given. Ok, if I can't fight, what else can I do besides trading?
Combat is, in fact, the basis of the game, its center. You are not obliged to command an entire army, but to lead, for example, one squad of cavalry, and with its help lead an attack, protect other formations. In addition, there is a strategic component where you need to engage in politics, make the right decisions and support the right people in order to move up and occupy higher and higher positions in the kingdom. And, of course, the highest level of strategy is to become a king or queen, and then try to conquer the whole world. Even if you are not interested in combat, there are other aspects of the game in which you can prove yourself.
In the gameplay, we saw soldiers pick up the weapons of the dead from the ground. What other similar improvements have you prepared?
Yes, our AI has become smarter. We have paid more attention to the behavior of the soldiers during the siege. So, defenders, for example, will throw stones at the heads of the attackers. We are also working on the fact that the AI will also pick up weapons of fallen soldiers, and simulate complex behavior for them during the battle. We have also developed a more complex command system for your army. Your subordinates can, for example, create a wall of shields - turning into a formation that is not very mobile, but very difficult to break through.
Camels, cities and plot
As for the reconnaissance, I noticed a camel caravan on the map. Will our character be able to ride a camel on the battlefield?
Yes, you can ride camels. We've also added mules. However, they are not very ideal for combat. They have no military capability.
Can I give my camel a name?
Currently there is no such option, but we are thinking about it.
How big is the card in the game?
How long does it take to get from one end to the other? It depends on many factors. In theory, about two minutes. But in practice, you will constantly face different situations that will slow down your progress.
Will there be a storyline in Mount and Blade 2 or are you just creating a big historical sandbox?
You will basically have a main storyline, although its main goal is to give the player a reason to play in the sandbox. As such, there will be no linear experience and complex plot moves based on a specific scenario. Instead, you get a common goal, and you must achieve it [the game will also have several storyline endings of the company - WorldOfTopics].
What activities await us in the city?
First, they will be brighter. We also want to combine them with the fundamental foundations of the game: action and the struggle for power in the political system.
For this reason, you will find important NPCs in every city: wealthy merchants, crime bosses, faction leaders ... They are important members of society, and maintaining the right relationship with them will reflect on your status and reputation.
They are at the center of most of the quests available in the city. It is not always possible to please everyone at once. Sometimes you have to choose a side. We still have many interesting missions, quests and assignments in cities. We tried to tailor them to the player's long-term goal, rather than offering simple tasks and traditional rewards.
[The journalist notes that this is certainly not GTA. The advantage is that the cities look varied and beautiful, but the ones he visited felt rather devastated. There isn't much activity at all, although some of these cities were simply inaccessible - for example, he was unable to play the board mini-game at the local tavern because it hadn't been implemented yet. We will certainly find other things to do in cities, but in any case, most NPCs are just props that should create the illusion of a living city - WorldOfTopics.]
What is the role of a character's gender?
Will they treat us differently when we play as a woman? There are a few differences. For example, playing as a woman, you can get pregnant and have a baby. There are several other similar moments, but in general, female characters are not limited in their possibilities.
What modes will be in multiplayer?
At the moment, we have announced two main modes, and they are already available. One of them is similar to the battle mode of the commander from the Napoleonic wars. Of course, there are many more different possibilities. Battle Royale? Who knows why not.
Spin-off and DLC
Are there any chances of seeing a spin-off like With Fire & Sword?
We haven't discussed this at the moment, but anything is possible.
Why is a game like Mount & Blade, was it developed in Turkey?
Well, in many ways it shouldn't have been created. But it's worth saying that we feel pretty comfortable in Turkey creating something like this. The fact is that our game aroused a lot of interest, because Turkey is not the country that comes to mind when you think about game development. However, we have a young and ambitious staff. Many programmers in Turkey were interested in working with us because they wanted to start a career in the development industry and could easily find many talented employees. We currently have a great international team and there are also many women.
Although the fact that we are from Turkey certainly influenced some of the elements in the game. For example, we put a lot of effort into creating and detailing horses. In our country, traditional equestrian sports are still popular and practiced everywhere.
Epic Game Store: yes, no, maybe?
The main thing for us is to get as much feedback from the community as possible. We've released past games on Steam, GOG.com and consoles. We want to release the game to the same platforms. Epic Game Store? Why not.
Have you been offered contracts by major publishers?
We have quite a lot of experience in independent distribution and we want to release the game ourselves, but there are exceptions. For example, it is almost impossible to release a game independently in China ...
Are you talking about partnership with NetEase? Does this mean there will be additional content for Chinese players in the game?
Not necessarily ... I mean, this is just a historical game and Chinese history plays an important role in it, so we can add elements like this. As for the partnership with NetEase, we hope to be able to release the game in China and we are happy about that. This is a huge market and this partnership will make our project more accessible to millions of Chinese players.
The Topic of Article: Can a Camel Be a Roach? Mount and Blade 2: Bannerlord Developer Interview.