Swedish developer Pathos Interactive reckons the "classical RTS genre" could use a little pick-me-up, so they've set out to "refresh" it themselves with Bannermen, a medieval RTS game with dynamic environments. It's currently on Kickstarter, with Pathos Interactive asking for $49,011. At the time of writing, its campaign has raised $16,249 and will run for another 26 days.
Bannermen sports a single-player campaign and several multiplayer modes. The campaign chronicles your lord's rags-to-riches rise to power after a crushing defeat, scooping up supporting factions and new units along the way.
It sounds like multiplayer is the meat of the game. Matches support up to eight players and come in three flavors: skirmishes, arena and custom matches. Bannermen will have dedicated servers and feature ranked and unranked competitive ladders.
Aside from a few bizarre units like bomb-toting pyromancers who'll gladly fling themselves into crowds of enemies and blow themselves up if you tell them to, you monster, Bannermen looks to be traditional old-school medieval fare right down to the bone marrow. Which isn't a bad thing. What makes Bannermen stand out is its much-vaunted dynamic environment system.
Environmental traps like deployable avalanches are interesting set pieces, but Bannermen's 'nature powers' are the real selling point. By building churches on holy ground, you can harness a variety of abilities that can reshape the environment and alter the flow of combat. Freeze a lake and send your units over it, use lightning to burn down the forest protecting your enemies, or just cut out the middleman and call down some good old-fashioned meteors. It looks like a good way to leverage map design and spice up the throngs of swords and arrows.
On top of dynamic environments, Bannermen is being built on community. Even before launching its Kickstarter campaign, Pathos Interactive began integrating player feedback into its creative process, eager to gauge the RTS landscape. Which is nice to see, and likely partly a function of the studio's community-minded origins.
Pathos Interactive is one of many studios to come out of Sweden's Game Incubator, which also contributed to the growth of Coffee Stain Studios, Stunlock Studios, and Landfall Games—the creators of Goat Simulator, Battlerite and Clustertruck, respectively. More recently, it helped realize Passpartout: The Starving Artist, an art game that inspired Chris to paint lots of trees.
Bannerment is expected to release on Steam in mid-2018.