With The Banner Saga 3 in development, developers Stoic Studio spoke briefly about what they might do next after wrapping the trilogy that's made their name. A series of Banner Saga animated films was mentioned as a possibility, but the leading suggestion seems to be a competitive, combat-oriented game, perhaps a Banner Saga Tactics.
If turn-based tactics are your thing, you'll find all the headscratching you can handle in our list of the best strategy games on PC.
During our chat about The Banner Saga 3 at the end of last week (which you can read here), I wondered if there was anything the developers wanted to achieve in the Banner Saga, but haven’t been able to. Technical director John Watson thinks for a moment.
“Not on a large scale,” he says, while acknowledging that there are always small details you can polish as a developer approaching the finish line. “You kinda have to exercise a little self-control over that, because at some point, those little details don’t matter anymore, or you can just circle it forever and never actually finish it.”
He does say he loves the animated sequences that Stoic threaded throughout the Banner Saga 2, so expect more of the same in Saga 3, and possibly beyond. “We’d love to see more of that, we’ve been pitching the ideas of doing a series or a short film for a while, and I think that’d be very satisfying.”
Producer Zeb West mentions Factions, the spinoff which took the turn-based strategy combat from The Banner Saga and packaged it as a free-to-play multiplayer game. The Banner Saga: Factions launched on Steam almost a year before the first chapter of the single-player trilogy did, and briefly attracted a passionate community who dove into the combat. Their feedback seems to have been useful and much-valued by Stoic, but:
“As a small team, you live and die on your focus,” says West. “It’s your most precious resource, and that needs to jive with what keeps the business running. So with a team our size, I think it was not the right choice to take [Factions] and really develop it further, and bring it up to date with the engine for Saga 2 and Saga 3. But I do think that that stays with Stoic, ‘cause when we talk about what’s after the Banner Saga, we’re like: we wanna do something that’s multiplayer, head-to-head, evolves with the community, and is patched and changes and stuff like that.”
Watson agrees, saying the team would’ve liked to develop Factions - or a game like it - a little more. “But it’s just bandwidth, it’s just not enough hours in the day.”
It’s clear this is a studio who value their interactions with fans, having spoken of their regret in closing themselves off during development of The Banner Saga 2.
“Whatever we do next, we want to focus on something mechanically driven, gameplay mechanics-driven, like tactical combat, or something competitive,” says Watson. “‘Cause it was such a fun experience having that community for Factions - it was so active and everybody was very energised, digging down into the systems and mastering them. I’d like to be part of that kinda thing again.”
Watson says “something like Factions, like a Banner Saga Tactics game”, is something Stoic would consider in the future. “It’s certainly a possibility. I’d be down for that.”