Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord's closed beta is underway

(Image credit: Taleworlds)
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This week, Taleworlds started letting players into Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord (opens in new tab) for the long-awaited sandbox's first closed beta. It's a multiplayer beta, so players won't be mucking around in the campaign; instead they'll be skirmishing with each other and testing the game's matchmaking and combat systems. 

While the studio remains tight-lipped when it comes to a release date, it does seem like Bannerlord's approaching the last leg on its journey through development, and once this closed beta concludes, Taleworlds will start letting everyone test the multiplayer. But for now, it's being kept small. 

"With this being the early stages of testing, we have decided to keep the player count rather small and manageable," wrote Taleworlds, "allowing us to more directly engage testers and make better use of the feedback provided to refine Bannerlord’s multiplayer and make it the best that it can be. The game is far from feature and content complete, and these early tests are very much focused on testing the game’s systems and mechanics, as well as, stability before it’s ready for a more general audience."

It's been seven years since Bannerlord was first announced, so this sort of progress is pretty exciting. Taleworlds is calling this the first steps to releasing the game. I predicted a 2019 launch earlier in the year, and I still reckon there's a chance. At Gamescom, people outside of the closed beta will get their first opportunity to play, so that could coincide with the open beta. 

Fraser Brown
Online Editor

Fraser is the UK online editor and has actually met The Internet in person. With over a decade of experience, he's been around the block a few times, serving as a freelancer, news editor and prolific reviewer. Strategy games have been a 30-year-long obsession, from tiny RTSs to sprawling political sims, and he never turns down the chance to rave about Total War or Crusader Kings. He's also been known to set up shop in the latest MMO and likes to wind down with an endlessly deep, systemic RPG. These days, when he's not editing, he can usually be found writing features that are 1,000 words too long or talking about his dog.