The Banner Saga's branching narrative and travel events detailed in Kickstarter update

An update to Stoic Studio's Banner Saga Kickstarter sheds some light on the RPG's conversation options and decision-making, which promise to have a significant effect on the game. In addition to your more standard conversation options, you'll have to make decisions on the road - including chance encounters and events - that "may affect the caravan's morale, size and supplies, and form a personal connection to the characters traveling in your party." The game's branching narrative is also detailed, with the diagrams to prove it.

Excitingly, when discussing its branching story and combat, creative director Alex Thomas namechecks two of history's finest strategy RPGs. "Similar to Final Fantasy Tactics or Shining Force, The Banner Saga has a large cast of playable characters; special warriors in your caravan who can also join you in combat. You'll play primarily make decisions as one character at a time, but as the story unfolds you'll shift between different main characters, giving a broader sense of what is happening across the land."

As Thomas says, creating a branching narrative can be a "very time-consuming and difficult" process, but thanks to The Banner Saga's largely text-driven story, the team can afford to craft a game with more branches than, I don't know, a tree. The first half of Saga's first chapter (the story part at least) is actually playable in Inklewriter, the writing/Interactive Fiction program Thomas is using to create the story's outline. Here's an image showing how it develops:

Head here to read the full, fascinating Kickstarter update, discovered via VG24/7 . If you're not entirely sure what a Banner Saga is, you might want to peruse this post too . Having sailed past the game's intended release date of November 2012, the team are now looking at a mid-year release for the game.

Tom Sykes

Tom loves exploring in games, whether it’s going the wrong way in a platformer or burgling an apartment in Deus Ex. His favourite game worlds—Stalker, Dark Souls, Thief—have an atmosphere you could wallop with a blackjack. He enjoys horror, adventure, puzzle games and RPGs, and played the Japanese version of Final Fantasy VIII with a translated script he printed off from the internet. Tom has been writing about free games for PC Gamer since 2012. If he were packing for a desert island, he’d take his giant Columbo boxset and a laptop stuffed with PuzzleScript games.