With enormous 64-player battles, Chivalry 2 wants to be the new standard for medieval combat

Chivalry, the medieval brawler that lets you dismember enemies with a battle axe, is getting a much-anticipated sequel. Announced during the PC Gaming Show at E3 2019, Torn Banner Studios' president Steve Piggott took the stage alongside publisher and PC Gaming Show sponsor Tripwire Interactive to reveal Chivalry 2 with a new trailer. 

Fans have a lot to be excited about: Chivalry 2 ups the player-count to 64 players, features a complete rework of its combat system that will add more variety and hopefully fix some of the cheaper exploits plaguing the first Chivalry, and, yes, you can also ride a horse.

The trailer, which you can watch above, is exactly what you'd expect from a Chivalry sequel. There's a lot of clanging steel, a lot of screaming, and a lot of blood. But, according to Piggott, Chivalry 2 is a "a significant re-imagining of how best to bring fans the ultimate medieval battlefield experience."

Prior to Chivalry 2's reveal, I had the chance to talk with Piggott and get some more details.

We do genuinely feel that Chivalry 2 is just far more ambitious than what others have done or are doing now.

Steven Piggott

In addition to throwing more players into the fray, one of the biggest changes to Chivarly 2 is in how it strives to create battlefields that feel like they could be ripped out of a movie. "Think Battle of the Bastards from Game of Thrones," Piggott says. "We've built Chivalry 2 from the ground up entirely around the epic sense of chaos and intensity of full scale medieval war that this scene showcases so well."

Piggott and his team aren't hoping to achieve that just through 64-player matches (the original Chivalry maps were designed for 24-person battles), but in how maps and objectives are designed. 

"The biggest impact the increased scale has is on our Team Objective mode, cinematic 'battle story' maps that tell a narrative in multiplayer by having the players move through huge environments across multiple stages and changing objectives contextualized to the era, so that in a single map you are killing peasants, burning houses, smashing gates down with a battering ram and killing the king," Piggott says.

That sense of scale is evident in the trailer, which shows a castle siege and one quick shot of a team of knights sprinting through a hail of fire arrows. Piggott isn't shy about Chivalry 2's ambitions to recreate those big battle scenes from medieval movies and TV, and these early teases certainly seem to capture that chaos.

But what good is a big battle if the combat sucks? While Chivalry had some excellent first-person melee combat for its time, long-time fans are well aware of how easy it is to exploit certain attacks to gain an unfair edge. It's one of the reasons why Chivalry's recent Steam reviews are so much lower than its historic average.

There is nothing quite like stabbing someone in the face while quoting Shakespeare.

Steve Piggott

But Piggott thinks Chivalry's new system will address those complaints. "Fans will recognize the basics of the combat mechanics, while also enjoying a new flow that provides a much more natural, fluid and varied experience," he says. 

Though he wasn't able to go into exact detail of how the new system works, Piggott explained that his team has completely redone the animation and movement systems to make combat more "visually understandable." There's also an enhanced moveset that'll give veterans more nuanced control over their weapons. Another bonus of the reworked animation system, Piggott explains, is that combat will be more gruesome too. Wounded players might grip their wounds as they continue fighting, and you can even be knocked over and have to continue fighting as you struggle to your feet.

Oh, and there's horses now, too—though Piggott couldn't provide any more details. But horses are pretty self-explanatory, I think. Other less substantial differences include in-depth player customization and greatly expanded options for pre-recorded voice lines. "There is nothing quite like stabbing someone in the face while quoting Shakespeare," Piggott says.

That all sounds very Chivalry, but it also sounds very Mordhau too. Released just a few months ago, Mordhau has found surprising success as the new favorite medieval combat game—thanks in part to its extremely nuanced and fully simulated combat. Since Chivalry first released, the genre has evolved a lot, and I was curious to know how Piggott felt Chivalry 2 would compete. 

"It's great to have more competition and we are absolutely making our game better because we have seen what other titles are doing," he says. "At the same time we do genuinely feel that Chivalry 2 is just far more ambitious than what others have done or are doing now."

"We are confident that it's a game built around what our biggest fans loved about the original: The best sword fighting combat there is, the sense of epic scale, the combat stories that play out organically, the emotions of swarming into battle, and the untouchable Chivalry personality and humor. All of that advanced to the best new heights possible—and with tons of new features thrown into the mix we haven't touched on yet."

Chivalry 2 will be out on the Epic Games Store in 2020.

Steven Messner

With over 7 years of experience with in-depth feature reporting, Steven's mission is to chronicle the fascinating ways that games intersect our lives. Whether it's colossal in-game wars in an MMO, or long-haul truckers who turn to games to protect them from the loneliness of the open road, Steven tries to unearth PC gaming's greatest untold stories. His love of PC gaming started extremely early. Without money to spend, he spent an entire day watching the progress bar on a 25mb download of the Heroes of Might and Magic 2 demo that he then played for at least a hundred hours. It was a good demo.