Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord
Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord is a strategy action role-playing video game developed by Turkish company TaleWorlds Entertainment. It is a prequel to Mount & Blade: Warband, a stand-alone expansion for the 2008 game Mount & Blade. Bannerlord takes place 210 years before its predecessor, with a setting inspired by the Migration Period. Bannerlord was announced in 2012. A Steam page for the game was created in late 2016; the following year, TaleWorlds began releasing weekly developer diaries detailing elements of the game. An early access version of the game was released on March 30, 2020 and quickly became the largest launch of the year on Steam, achieving more than 200,000 concurrent players. A version for unspecified consoles is planned.
The fundamental gameplay premise is the same as previous entries in the series: the player builds up a party of soldiers and performs quests on an overhead campaign map, with battles being played out on battlefields that allow the player to personally engage in combat alongside their troops. Bannerlord, however, includes significant improvements to numerous elements of gameplay.
Sieges in Bannerlord are intended to be more strategic than they were in Warband. The player may construct a variety of different siege engines and strategically position them before the battle begins in order to target certain sections of the enemy fortifications. On the overhead campaign map, the player can choose to bombard the walls, possibly creating breaches that can be used once the battle begins. To discourage prolonged bombardments on the battle map, only the merlons, gatehouses, and siege engines are destructible during the actual battle. The design of the defending castles and cities is intended to be biased in favor of the defenders; for example, murder holes are often located at key chokepoints, allowing the defenders to slaughter large numbers of the attackers before they can breach the gates.
Bannerlord features numerous improvements to the relationships between characters. The player is able to use a more advanced dialogue system to try to persuade non-player characters to do things that they want. While conversing with a character, the player needs to fill up a progress bar by successfully pushing their arguments; if the bar is filled, the character will give in to the player. If the character does not give in to charm alone, the player can employ the game’s bartering system to try to bribe the character; this system is also used for regular transactions between the player and merchants. If the player repeatedly fails to persuade the character, a deal may become impossible and the relationship between them may be negatively affected. The persuasion system can also be used to court and marry characters. While Warband allowed characters to marry, the player may also have children with their spouse in Bannerlord. If the player character dies, one of their children can inherit their soldiers and fiefs and become the new player character.
Bannerlord, like Warband, has a multiplayer component that allows players to engage in combat with each other across a variety of maps and gamemodes. As in Warband, the multiplayer of Bannerlord is restricted to battles and is separate from the campaign, although the developers have expressed interest in adding multiplayer to the campaign through post-release downloadable content. Bannerlord utilizes a class system that allows players to choose what type of soldier they want to play as. Classes are divided into three categories: infantry, ranged, and cavalry. Each class has positive and negative elements that are influenced by the positive and negative elements of their faction in general. Players select classes using a point system, which replaces the money system of Warband.