Stoic Studio's RPG The Banner Saga will have a dialogue-driven story affected by events triggered during travel and exploration, with players furthering the plot through NPC conversations and making decisions with wide-ranging implications, according to an update on the game's Kickstarter page posted by creative director Alex Thomas.
Traveling in Banner Saga will shift between moving across the world map and side-scrolling segments featuring players' caravans. Players will need to budget their time accordingly as they move towards a specific goal. They will have to plot their own routes, deciding what towns to stop in, which territories to brave, what news to share, how long to rest and which roads are the safest in addition to budgeting supplies. Each individual decision will have a "huge effect" on what happens along the journey.
Entering cities and setting up camp will launch exploration mode, in which players can take stock of their caravan size, mood, talk to individuals and explore environments. Some actions will trigger events in which players must make important decisions that can negatively or positively impact the story and may trigger future events down the road.
Occurrences during travel and triggering certain events will contribute to the game's conversation element, through which players can become more familiar with their caravan members and forge closer relationships. Banner Saga gives players a choice of several different responses to an NPC's question or comment, each of which will have a different consequence.
By creating a text-driven story, Stoic Studio aims to create more high-quality content quickly and cheaply, forgoing expensive cinematics, lighting, voice acting and 3D art in favor of a less-flashy experience with a larger scope of content.
"If you've ever wondered why older games like Planescape and Fallout could afford to have deep and rich stories with lots of characters and cool ideas like unique 'low intelligence' dialogue while modern games somehow fail to match their predecessors, it's because they could produce a lot of content quickly and cheaply, and leaves the details to player's imagination," writes Thomas. "It's a tradeoff for modern cinematic presentation, but one that we think is the right decision for The Banner Saga."
"Our approach to this is that things are happening in the world with or without you, and how you spend your time is important," he said.
Thomas writes that Stoic is currently aiming for a mid-2013 release for the completed Banner Saga. More detailed information can be found on the game's Kickstarter page.