TaleWorlds explain why Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord doesn't have a release date | PCGamesN

TaleWorlds explain why Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord doesn't have a release date

Bannerlord release date

Mount and Blade II: Bannerlord was announced way back in 2012, but despite TaleWorlds showing it off at E3 in June and their plans to show off more at Gamescom next week, a release date or window has yet to be announced. And it won’t be announced anytime soon. TaleWorlds explain why in a post on Steam

Here's everything we know about Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord

“We have not disclosed a release date so far because it does not exist,” TaleWorlds explain. “We don’t work like that. We are not a company who sets a timeline to release a product and then works to meet that deadline. We are TaleWorlds Entertainment: we create games because we love making them, and we want them to be the best games that we can possibly make. We think that our fans don’t deserve less than our best efforts, our total commitment. We don’t believe in releasing a game before it is ready just because we might miss the hype.”

While TaleWorlds acknowledge that there are other approaches, they also point out that some of the studios that adopt them have publishers, shareholders, and investors who put pressure on them to set an arbitrary date. TaleWorlds don’t. 

“We are not in that situation, and creating the best game we possibly can is the most important thing to us,” they continue. “With that in mind, why limit ourselves with a release date if no one is pushing us to do so? And how would setting a date and then pushing it back further and further be better than not giving a date we are not sure about?”

Of course, they do have plenty of prospective players who want to know when they can get the game. And these players might also be worried about the state of development given the lack of a release date. “We have of course made our share of mistakes and false starts which have added to development time, but not more than what could be expected from a project of this scale.”

The length of development is largely down to the size of the game. “Bannerlord has a huge sandbox campaign which contains a number of different features that players can experience and enjoy. This includes, but is not limited to: fief and kingdom management, a deep trading system, a diplomacy and relationship system, and epic battles with hundreds of on-screen combatants that the player can command.” There’s also multiplayer matchmaking, mod support, and an entirely new engine. 

So don’t expect a release date announcement soon, but you’ll be able to see more of the game next week at Gamescom. 

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QDP2 avatarAnakhoresis avatarPFC Gomer Pyle avatarTheLordDSK avatarJovial avatarBosswave avatar
QDP2 Avatar
961
8 Months ago

Game making is an art, you are never satisfied enough to call a title 'complete'. There are constant hard decisions to make (whether to have X feature vs Y feature, to push graphics in A vs B, to limit F or G, etc.). Many industry leaders have more negative memories about their previous titles than positive ones (think 'why did I choose this, people didn't like that feature!').

Imagine if an artist drew a painting without deadlines. They could spend months planning, re-deciding, coming up with new ideas and concepts. Then multiple days invested into the general shapes of the picture. Choreographing, laying out, thinking from different perspectives, creating details that will never be seen or enjoyed by the viewers. They'll decide after doing the work that they didn't like X's jawbone, or Y's shade, so they'll re-do it.

Over and over, there's always a weakest part, since there's no such thing as 'perfection' when it comes to art. Without internal deadlines you'll bog yourself down and over-invest into the most minute details, creating content that the public will never see or experience. Setting goals is the only way progress is made in measurable amounts. Making those dates public gives you drive to live up to the publics hopes/expectations.

There may be many artists who invest months into a single piece of art, but it's not like the canvas, the paint, or the painting itself have any depreciation throughout the time painting. In Game Development the entire project is built with a game engine as its foundation, something that ages as newer more modern titles are released. To delay a title so long is to limit the quality, graphical options and performance of the final project. It will end up on release competing against titles built on newer, generally better engines.

M&B2:Bannerlord was announced back in 2012, and footage was first shown back in 2015. The engine will have been decided some time between those dates, leaving 2-5 years of age behind this game's basis. Sure, they'll polish her up as well as possible, improve the model quality, maps, render distances and so on. They'll still push the hardware to the limits, but their options were restricted when they locked in a dated engine back then. There won't be any modern GPU features (other than maybe DirectX12), the animations, input-response and gameplay will all be locked to code written back then.

TaleWorlds are correct in 1 respect; the game won't get any 'worse' because of it's delay, it'll only get better. The problem is all the time they sacrifice for it not only delays their moving onto another new title, it also places itself against stronger competition. The appeal since announcement decreases, the graphics no longer impress and the hype grows too large for the team to manage. As far as strategies go, this is begging for disaster. I'm sure the title will turn out fun on release, any who enjoyed (and the many who still enjoy) the original will jump on this title, but it won't be pulling any miracles when it comes to growing TaleWorlds' player-base. There'll be nowhere near the number of players if they had either delayed the announcement (and worked in secret till a point they had a release date) or simply set themselves targets back in 2015, to have a structured plan of release with and move on with no regrets. You can always improves titles later with DLC, FreeLC, patches, official mods.. It's not like setting goals and completing the title means you need to end your time with it. That's the brilliant thing about games, they only die off when either the developers or the fan-base loose interest. So long as both hold dedication, it will always continue to prosper.

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QDP2 Avatar
961
8 Months ago

Wow, that grew fast... I need to find a way to stop myself from ranting on this website, it's feels like it's become a bad habit now, like an itch that just needs to be scratched :P

Shout-out to any who read the whole of my essay, if this were reddit you'd be getting gold XD

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Bosswave Avatar
1
3 Months ago

This is the best comment I have read in my life. Absolutely true. A realistic look over what they have said. I completely agree on every point.

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Anakhoresis Avatar
659
8 Months ago

I read it all! It wasn't that bad. You make some good points. However, especially with how games are coming out lately, It seems more risky to release a game that is not ready and getting destroyed by the media and players and having little chance to improve upon what you've built. In addition, after release, the price of the game will inevitably go down by expectation, so releasing a game and patching it can lead to players waiting to buy it until it's cheaper.

On the game engine, that depends on how it's put together. If components are created in a modular fashion and abstracted from each other, then they can be continually updated during development. Many games are developed in this fashion.

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QDP2 Avatar
961
8 Months ago

A game engine is the very foundation of a game, in the same way you cannot change the rock-bed for a house after you begin work; there is no changing the engine (other than filling a metaphorical 'pothole' or two).

There is definitely a line to be drawn, releasing too early will result in an unsatisfied player-base who give up on the title before the team get a chance to improve the title. But indefinite delays help nobody. There are some titles that age better than others and M&B could well be one of them (M&B Warband is currently in Steam's top 100 concurrent players list, has been for a long time now).

However TaleWorlds do it, M&B2 will succeed. The game will sell so long as they make it an improvement above Warband. By making a genre of themselves, their main competition is now a 7 year old game. I just feel a 'what-if' moment with their choices. To delay a title in such a way is how Chris Roberts got stuck in his current position with Star Citizen. It's how people fell to dislike Peter Molyneux trying to drag the Fable series to a new light and instead killing it off. TaleWorlds as a company seem unanimous with this decision, so if it works for them then they'll continue this way. It's flawed in ways they prefer to ignore, but I'm sure at the end of the day there game will be great fun to play.

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Anakhoresis Avatar
659
8 Months ago

Star Citizen is building their engine as they go (recently adding the feature of arbitrary amounts of scenes rendered to texture and also 3D spaces rendered as clones). Overgrowth was (probably is, despite now being in beta). Unreal Engine and Unity are constantly updating with new features, and while it often takes a bit of extra work, you can upgrade your project to newer releases. Ashes of the Singularity is adding support for the Vulkan graphics API in their next update. Those seem like more than just 'potholes'...

I think people dislike Peter Molyneux for promising the world with every game and delivering... I dunno a great end to this metaphor, a marble?

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QDP2 Avatar
961
QDP2 replied to Anakhoresis
8 Months ago

People dislike Peter Molyneux because he announces new features for WIP titles to the public before he even goes through concept/design teams inside his company. He lists features to the media then goes to his team and tells them they have to find a way to make it work.

Engines like Unity and Unreal are made in a modular perspective, allowing their projects to be ported with little difficulty. The trade-off is lower general performance at release. Neither engines are capable of reaching AAA quality because of this modular design.

I'll be honest, I know very little about the engine/work done on Star Citizen. I'll research and see what they're doing there with their engine to get around this.

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Anakhoresis Avatar
659
8 Months ago

We reached the max amounts of replies haha. But... Gears of War 4. Crackdown. Days Gone. Fortnite. EVE: Valkyrie. LawBreakers. Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite. Paragon. Street Fighter V. Tekken 7. Those are all Unreal 4 games that I would think have to be classified as "AAA games." Never mind the fact that Unreal 4 is an upgraded Unreal 3, which has dozens of AAA games built on it. Unity though definitely has not yet really come out with any AAA games (Somewhat ironically though, my assumption would be that the reason is that for larger studios who can afford teams of software engineers Unreal makes more sense because it has source code availability, meaning they can modify the engine how they want/need).

I don't mean to be offensive, but I feel like how you view game engines isn't quite right. They're all built this way these days. Frostbite Engine is modular, so that EA/Dice can continue to use and adapt it to everything they're working on.

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QDP2 Avatar
961
QDP2 replied to Anakhoresis
8 Months ago

The list has grown far larger than I've perceived it to be before, maybe I am looking at engines from a more archaic perspective than I should be nowadays :P

Unity's AAA titles are far more restricted; KSP, Cities Skylines, Endless Legend and P.A.M.E.L.A. to name a few. The engine was built with the indie-designer in mind. A large amount of the tools help 2D titles perform well and port easily across platforms. It has grown very strongly into the 3D market, but it's routes still show strong, Not only is it very easy to learn, but they have coders write in C# for scripting (that internally they convert/adapt to work with the C++ engine-basis). This was all for ease of use over efficiency.

It's fair to say Unreal's graphics generally outperform those of Unity. Along with the open-source code of Unreal, it will always seem like the more logical choice from a company perspective.

Either way, I've strayed from your comment. Fair point, well made. I personally look at performance of M&B2 and see not input delay, but sluggishness or character reaction, and correlate that to the engine. It could well be that is just the way the game works being so large (capable of managing armies colliding with each other), or it could just be my short perspective of the game (having not had a hands-on, it could just be a misconception from videos). I know that come the time the title releases, I will be hunting around footage and reviews for this game, not as a successor to the original but as a game of its time. I hope you're right and it stands the test of time, since I had a lot of fun in Warbands.

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PFC Gomer Pyle Avatar
2
8 Months ago

You're post made me think of this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=033b6vJ8qH4

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QDP2 Avatar
961
8 Months ago

Never watched this youtuber before, but it really does fit perfectly with my point. He's articulated it far better than my broken string of words, but it fits.

I'm a fan of marathons as a metaphore for artistic projects. The length varies based off the pathways we take. We can look ahead on maps and try to work out how much longer we'll take, but it's hard sometimes to judge how hard it'll be (the gradient of the road), or if there will be any problems delaying the time. Often you'll decide that pathway X was the wrong route, so you'll go back and run path Y as well.

As he says, there's always more things you want to look into, more ideas, methods and routes you could invest time into. It's impossible to make the 'best' game you're capable off. You always look back and find errors, questionable decisions and alternate thoughts where you wish you chose differently. TaleWorlds decided they want to keep going back until they are satisfied. With enough minds and time they invested they do make masterpieces. It'll bring more satisfaction to themselves, and will probably improve the project as a whole. But the value of these years over-invested has been diminishing more and more, it really isn't helping them.

Especially with a diminishing project, you can't really keep delaying. In the same way a pumpkin carver couldn't spend a month creating a masterpiece without the base going mouldy, a game ages. Maybe not so poorly as a pumpkin, but the point still follows.

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Jovial Avatar
3
5 Months ago

I appreciate the amount of concern you show towards TaleWorlds and their well being moving forward. I just do not personally see how this would harm them if they play it off correctly. From all I have read of the dev blogs about this game (which could be skewed for marketing purposes but likely are not) this game will be miles better than Warband, and miles better than Fire & Sword. As such, I think making this game delay until the point where everything they wanted to achieve is set in place is good. If you look at the goals list they had for this release, it was quite extensive. They want their goals to be met in the best way possible and I agree with that sentiment. I just hope the release is sometime before September 2018 so I can play it over the summer. I would just conclude by saying that if you look at Rockstar games, they employ the exact same strategy, constantly avoiding telling the fan base when GTA will release, and always providing a game far better than the last installment. I feel like TaleWorlds is trying the same thing, just with a smaller game developer studio so more time to create a game not quite as large. If this game pans out correctly, it will be the GTA V of medieval open-worlds and I will definitely swoon over that possibility!

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QDP2 Avatar
961
4 Months ago

The teams aspirations are great, but their features built so far are limited to less than Warbands. You can take a look at footage (the do love showing off their progress to the public) and see for yourself; but the games current state isn't close to a 2018 release should they want a definitive improvement over Warbands.

It's been over 5 years already since announcement of the title. That means at least 7 years of work has gone into this title. To put a reference; GTA titles takes around 3-4 years of coding/development to produce. Announcements are delayed until 6 months of release (as was their expectation when they announced it in 2012). The titles become too precious to the company. Everything has to be perfect for them. Truth is that game design isn't about perfection; it's about making trade-offs to create the most enjoyable experience possible.

I seriously hope they come out and announce some features/work they've been doing behind the media and out of the publics eye. Tell us a reason for the massive delay. Give us procedural world generation. Connect it so that the 3rd/1st person view and the map are the same world, with 0 loading screens. They may have done something with their initiative and made this game worth the wait; but my expectations aren't high. The work to-be-done still hasn't shrunk since they started talking about development progress back in '14. Every time they complete a feature they decide to start talking about something else they want to add. Some other radical change they want to make to a system they already spent months on.

I see this project going one of two ways; either they spend the next 3-4 years continuing on making the game of their dreams (and release it come 2020 at the earliest, giving us a GTA5 of Medieval at the same time as GTA6 releases), or they give up on perfection and stop returning to re-design already perfected features. We could have seen a release back in 2014 if they weren't spending all their time either talking to press or re-writing their code to draw/sheath the sword from a slightly differently positioned scabbard. They need to get someone to set them deadlines for them and kick them up the rear when they don't meet them.

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TheLordDSK Avatar
1
7 Months ago

Its a honored tactic, unlike the dirty money boomers like Electronic Arts SA or Ubisoft Montreal. Threating their games with well deserved dear and the costumers like it has to be, giving support and caring about us feels good while playing games comming from Taleworld and is one of this indie bonuses that i really appreciate.

The problem is, people naturally get sick of not getting a release date and after release they forget about it, not catch in time (Happened to Penumbra fans with Amnesia the first months of release), maybe some people loose interest because of waiting and because of the rival companies like Warhorse which is about to close the alpha and release the amazing Kingdom Come.

TW consider calculating an average time for 2018, fans are people and people gets frustrated/tired every year of development. Just dont rush the product, dont be EA or bugthesda. Set an average time.

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