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January 14th, 2014 is the official release date for one of the early games that took Kickstarter by storm during the glory days of the crowd-funding boom, following Doublefine's big success with their adventure title. The Banner Saga is a strategic RPG based around Nordic lore and it features music from Journey composer Austin Wintory.
The announcement trailer above is pretty slick and really feels like one of those games that could bring with it a lot of story weight to compliment the turn-based gameplay. Essentially players will be in charge of leading their banner across the land to a place of peace and prosperity after being abandoned by the old gods. Along the way, players will build up their party, acquire new skills and uncover the underlying motivations that fuel the story.
Joystiq noted the update on the Kickstarter page where Stoic informed eager backers about the progress of the game, saying...
I'd love to give you an update on everything going on at this point. We finally feel comfortable with giving a release date for one very big reason: we are essentially content complete. This means the game is playable from front to back, the combats are in place, the characters are all hooked up and every conversation throughout the game is ready to go. In essence: we're almost done with the game. This is a huge milestone because we've been working nearly every waking hour since Factions released to get to this point.
Earlier in the year Stoic Games released a small combat sampling of the game in the form of a competitive, free-to-play multiplayer slice called The Banner Saga: Factions. The small piece showcased how the game's combat systems and mechanics worked and it was just a small sampling of what the studio was working on. Sadly it was really hard to play the sample because the servers were always overloaded due to the overwhelming amount of gamers trying to get in to play the game.
The problem, however, is that a lot of gamers had no clue that it was just a vertical slice of what Stoic intended to do with the game and the furor of anti-F2P gamers rose up like a gas bubble in a fat man's gut after drinking too much beer, unleashing in the form of angry forum posts and other social media diarrhea that occurs when circumstances like this transpire.
What really made it bad was when reputable gaming site GamaSutra stepped in to side with gamers (a rare treat for the gaming community I know) and bemoaned the Kickstarter process... “Financial rape!” they cried. “Scam artists!” they moaned. “Creatively bankrupt peddlers!” they screamed.
Stoic Games' Alex Thomas offered a rebuttal piece calmly explaining what they were trying to do with the game and something that fit in with what they had detailed and rolled out on their Kickstarter page. The flames subsided; the fumes faded and the smoke cleared like a puff of chimney dust brushed out into the cold winter's night on the cobblestone streets of Hamburg.
All was well in the world.
Stoic has taken the time of silence to brush up the game, get things in order and prep for the early 2014 launch, as scheduled. You can learn more about the adventure, turn-based RPG by paying a visit to the official Banner Saga website.