Mount and Blade 2: Bannerlord will let you talk your way out of (and into) trouble

Mount and Blade 2: Bannerlord's title gives you a pretty good idea what it's about, but it's not all thundering hooves, flashing steel, and the crash of angry men in shouting, sobbing masses of broken bone and spilt blood. There is also, as developer Taleworlds explained today on Steam, the subtle art of persuasion

The persuasion system is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: Where a blade or a bribe won't get the job done, some well-chosen words might. It will build out Bannerlord's personality and reputation system, which will influence the likelihood of success under different sets of circumstances—so if you have a reputation for being a stand-up guy, for instance, you'll have a better chance of convincing someone to do you a solid now for in exchange for a favor later than if you're known for jerking people around. Different skills come into play as well, like charm and charisma, and if you're lacking in those departments you can try leaning on "roguery" instead. 

Persuasion attempts happens through dialog, which you'll have to steer in the direction you want. Once the sensitive subject comes up, the game will calculate your odds of persuasive success; if they're too low, the matter is dropped immediately, but if not you get into the hard negotiations phase. 

"The NPC will then present you a number of issues where you will need to persuade him or her. During persuasion, you will see a progress bar, which shows how far you’ve gone toward convincing the other party," Taleworlds explained. "Every time you succeed in convincing the lord over a point, the persuasion bar will fill up a certain amount. If at the end you can fill up the entire bar, the NPC’s objections will be overcome." 

"The persuasion system is often a gateway that leads you into the barter system. Some lords will do anything for honor, or for revenge, but most want some sort of token of your appreciation up front. Each successful persuasion attempt will help to reduce the monetary cost of the action you would like to perform when it comes to the bartering stage, whereas repeated failures might make a deal impossible to reach. And if you push your luck too much, then you run the risk of severely impacting your relations with NPCs in a negative way." 

I hope it works out. Mounts and blades are great, but I really like the idea of being able to take a more Littlefinger-style approach to getting things done. Sadly, one thing the update does not mention is the one thing everyone really wants to know: When we'll get to see this system (and everything else) in action. Mount and Blade 2: Bannerlord has been in development since 2012, but there's still no sign of a release date.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.