Long-time fans of The Banner Saga have come to both seek and fear the franchise's multitude of choices. After all, the tactical RPG series has regularly bucked the trend of in-game character decisions not having much importance, with instead player choices having some major ramifications over the course of the two games. It's now been confirmed that this trend will be amplified even further with The Banner Saga 3, with both small and large player decisions resulting in some major changes throughout the course of the game.
This reveal comes courtesy of Arnie Jorgensen from Stoic, who spoke with Game Rant about what to expect from the upcoming final part of the acclaimed series. As it turns out, players should brace themselves for some changes.
There are many decisions you make in Saga 1 that affect Saga 3. There's a couple that seem small, but you realise in Saga 3: "holy cow, I had no idea that this would be a large decision this far on!"
This would certainly make a change from what gamers expect. Many titles fall into the trap of promising huge changes based on the decisions made in previous releases, but all too often this ends up being something of a false promise. With The Banner Saga 3, however, this is certainly not going to be the case.
A lot of this will apparently come down to the more natural way in which Stoic plans out the branching pathways of The Banner Saga. During the writing process, Jorgensen states that the small team of the studio is all too happy to put out ideas to tie the trilogy together into a cohesive and emotional story.
It’s very organic. As we’re going, we are constantly pulling in decisions, and I think that’s probably why it feels kind of natural – certainly to us as we’re writing it. Because [the plot is] not something that’s structured and set in stone, such as "this decision will be a big one, this decision will be a small one." We’re constantly balancing it as we go, grabbing bits and pieces from Banner Saga 2, Banner Saga 1, and peppering them in to Banner Saga 3.
Part of this certainly comes from Stoic's place as an independent developer. Both The Banner Saga and The Banner Saga 2 showcased how a more flexible plan can lead to some powerful - and sometimes shocking - plot points based on player choices. Jorgensen believes that the independent development scene improves the ability to keep these changes coming, and Stoic is in no rush to change that now.
It’s very hard to do in video games, especially when you’re pulling together a large team in AAA, to have really big branching decisions [...] We’re very cognisant of why people like our game, and it’s that decisions really do matter, and we’re not going to let that ball drop in The Banner Saga 3.
Stoic has been keeping communication open with the series' fans, as shown by the open Discord channel that the developer has created. With The Banner Saga 3 once again a huge hit on Kickstarter, reaching over double its target with a total of $416,986 raised, no doubt fans will be able to keep track of what Stoic is planning as the development process rolls on.
However, players may well have to prepare themselves for another gut punch or two when it comes to their own decisions, and even small ones could have a major impact. "I hope people enjoy some of the smaller decisions that they find out to be big ones," Jorgensen cryptically stated. Whether these decisions turn out to be positive or negative, no doubt the end result will have some serious impact behind it.