The Evolution Of ‘The Banner Saga’

Everything you wanted to know but were too afraid to ask

I don’t know about you but I have always wondered one thing when it comes to games, what does it take to get your idea from just that and into a game? I don’t think that massive names in the industry have too many problems but what about the Indie Developers, now I have mentioned this I bet you are thinking about it now as well. I’m not the sort of person that just leaves you hanging with this question, I can help you to answer it too and I have an ace up my sleeve here – the awesome people at Stoic Studio.


So who makes up the team at Stoic Studio, there are just three people here which makes them even more awesome as they made their idea into a game – not hundreds of people, just these three. I’m sure you will join me in congratulating Arnie Jorgensen, John Watson and Drew McGee – they all bring their own unique skills and it’s this combination and team work which has got them where they are today.

“What was their idea?” I can hear you asking, they made The Banner Saga. Here we have an epic role-playing game inspired by Viking legend. Hand-painted landscapes portray a world eerily suspended in perpetual twilight. Cities and towns begin to crumble into chaos. Heroes abandon their hearths and homes to traverse the snowy countryside, gaining allies along the way to help battle a strange, new threat. Decisions have consequences; wise choices must be made when conversing with possible allies during intricately crafted dialogues. Turn-based strategy brings tactical challenge in hand-animated battle sequences. With visuals evocative of the golden age of animation, The Banner Saga brings skillfully crafted art, story and strategy to gamers waiting to re-experience classic adventures and tactics.


The team have their idea and now they need to get the wheels in motion, where is the next step? On the 19th of March 2012, they opened their Kickstarter page (click here to view the actual page). It didn’t take long for people to see the potential in The Banner Saga, it became the ‘Kickstarter Project Of The Day’ on the 31st of March 2012 and went on to an official successfully funded project on the 21st of April 2012. The idea now has the chance to become a game, time to start the programming and get that idea into a digital reality. Initially it was for it was for PC and MAC but demand soon changed this and the game became available on mobile platforms on the 2nd of October 2014, Stoic Studio always knew their game would work really well here. But what about the console gamers, why should they miss out on The Banner Saga? Good news is they didn’t, on the 12th of January 2016 they successfully ported the game (I am so glad they did). After massive success on other platforms, it made perfect sense to do this and John Watson proudly quotes:

Merging the story and gameplay of Banner Saga with a refined controller interface makes it a very enjoyable console gaming experience. Despite the technical challenges we initially faced in porting the game, we’re extremely happy with the end result of many months of hard work to deliver a worthy console version

Now what does Stoic Studio do now, their idea of The Banner Saga is now a fully fledged game on multiple platforms – do they sit back and enjoy the success? Don’t be so silly, with such a high level of popularity this is the last thing they wanted to do. The Banner Saga 2 has been announced on the 20th of January 2016, this is great news for fans and followers. We can expect the same high level of quality from the first title, there is also some improvements too.

banner saga 2

  • Combat Changes – Over the past few years we noticed and heard all of the feedback regarding combat in The Banner Saga, so improving that experience has been on the top of our list. We’re adding things to the battle boards to make them more interesting, adding in objectives to certain combat scenarios, vastly increasing the unit and ability diversity, and telling more story via the battle board this time around.
  • The Story Continues – You’re going back to the same world but you’re going to see more of it and experience a host of new characters. We hope you import your saved games from The Banner Saga because doing so will make sure your choices, characters, items and ranks all carry over to Banner Saga 2.
  • Keeping The Bar High – We set a high quality bar for ourselves with the launch of The Banner Saga, and nothing has changed as far as that standard is concerned, except that we like to think we’ve raised the bar just that bit little higher for Banner Saga 2.
  • First Female Melee Character – One character you’ll encounter early on is Folka. Folka is a shieldmaiden who gets involved in combat up close and personal. Don’t mess with her, she is a true force to be reckoned with.

Well, do you now know how an idea turns into a game? With plenty of hard work, community feedback, continuous improvements and a ‘never give up’ attitude – this is how you do it. A blog is also an excellent thing to do, if you click here you can read the one kept by Stoic Studio. If you haven’t played The Banner Saga, then you can download the game from the Xbox Store from either your Xbox One or by clicking here. It is such a beautiful game and such a successful Indie brand, I guarantee you will not be disappointed. Why not let us know your thoughts and views in the comments section, we would love to hear them.


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Chris 'whyayemincepie' Nash

Gamer dad to three kids, we all act the same age and wouldn't have it any other way. Also managed to get myself the most amazing wife that loves gaming too, plus she puts up with me and my funny charms.

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