- TaleWorlds announced that the release of Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord version 1.0 will take place in the fourth quarter of this year at the earliest;
- The developers summarized the title's year in Early Access, describing the changes made during that period;
- The console version of the medieval sandbox game is still in the works, but it won't be released until the PC release is fully polished and officially released.
Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord launched in early access on Steam on March 30th, 2020, over a year ago - and while TaleWorlds originally intended version 1.0 to be release after that time, work on the game has dragged on. However, the developers believe that they will be able to complete the game this year (in the fourth quarter), and they decided to use the first anniversary as an excuse to summarize the changes of the last twelve months.
And what about the console version?
TaleWorlds has not forgotten about the promised console release of the game. However, the PC version remains the priority for now. PS4 and XONE owners (we can probably assume that the title will also come out on PS5 and XSX|S, but so far there's no information on that) must arm themselves with patience and wait until the PC edition takes final shape.
If you played Bannerlord around the time of its release in Early Access, you know that the title displayed numerous minor and major flaws. Even then, you could spend dozens of hours with it and derive a lot of fun from the bloody, large-scale battles, which - if won - brought our kingdom closer to domination in the world of Calradia. Both developers and players, however, realized that a medieval sandbox could be much, much better. The former got down to work, the latter - to make their suggestions. As a result, Mount & Blade 2 got over a hundred updates, which improved many of the game's aspects.
Developers from TaleWorlds described all the changes in detail in a message posted on Steam. However, if you don't have the time or inclination for such a long reading, and you're curious what and how Bannerlord changed, you can read the list below, which should give you an idea about the improvements.
List of the most important changes in Mount & Blade II:
- Improved performance and stability of the game, so that battles with 1000 soldiers display at 47-50 fps (originally it was 27-30 fps) - tests were conducted on a PC equipped with a GTX 1660 TI and Intel Core i7 8700K;
- The artificial intelligence of NPCs in combat now depends on their weapon skills, and not on their character level as at the beginning, which means that an excellent manager or surgeon no longer automatically becomes an invincible strategic genius;
- AI scripts responsible for tactics and troop assignments have also been updated;
- City and castle sieges have been enriched with the possibility of looting, which means that when attacking a stronghold, you can loot it, destroy it or show mercy - moreover, the developers promise to keep working on improving this element of the game;
- Introduced the possibility of choosing companions with whom we'll attack the bandit hideout;
- Added numerous menu shortcuts (e.g. enabling us to move stacks of items) and reduced the number of moves the player has to make to talk to the inhabitants of villages, castles and towns;
- Improved legibility of the game world - notifications about upcoming events are now displayed directly in the interface, and quest objectives are clearly marked;
- Story-free sandbox mode, photo mode, and prison escape feature have been added;
- Rebalanced prices of goods on the market and improved the balance of in-game equipment;
- Reduced rewards for winning tournaments, which combined with the ability to bet on yourself, enabled us to get rich too quickly and easily, which disturbed the game economy;
- Added many side quests and improved prisoner management system;
- Introduced a new way of character progression - our hero gains levels not by improving skills (as it was in the beginning), but after gathering an appropriate amount of experience points;
- Experience points are now awarded for much more actions than before, but the developers plan to modify this element even further;
- Fixed a significant number of perks that didn't work when the game was released in Early Access - now we can use over 300 of them, and some of them have a double effect;
- The combat system has been improved, including automatic blocking, the ability to assign captains to specific formations, and cheering;
- More dialogue options have been added and the character creator has been expanded;
- Additional family and clan members have been introduced for the player, who can now give them direct orders;
- Clan commanders now take part in kingdom politics and diplomacy more than before;
- Made it possible to train the hero's older children by developing their education skill;
- Load times have been significantly reduced, the size of game saves has been reduced by 80%, and thanks to optimized texture streaming, the game's disk storage requirements have been reduced by about 10 GB.
Of course, these aren't all the changes that were introduced to Bannerlord over the past year - but I don't think I've missed anything particularly important. Developers want to bring their work to a condition that would satisfy all players, so we can expect further regular updates. The developers have promised that they will work on the game until they bring out its full potential. This may mean that they won't be able to release version 1.0 of Mount & Blade II on the announced date, but many fans shouldn't mind.