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After a long wait, Mount & Blade 2 enters early access on March 31

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Bannerlord has been in development for nearly a decade

A battle line of mounted knights stands on the edge of a wooded field. Image: TaleWorlds

Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord finally has a release date. The hybrid action strategy game will enter early access on March 31 for $49.99. TaleWorlds is selling the game through both Valve’s Steam marketplace and the Epic Games Store.

Polygon hasn’t had a chance to play the game since 2017, when a hands-on preview was offered to the press at E3. Developers opened up a closed beta to interested fans early last year, and announced the March 2020 release window over the summer. It’s all excellent news for a beloved franchise that went nearly dark for a few years in the middle of the last decade.

The Mount & Blade series blends first- and third-person melee action with a rich strategic layer. It’s a bit like playing the Total War series, but while directly controlling your commander on the field of battle. The franchise allows players to create their own band of warriors and lead them into battle, commanding infantry, archers, and mounted knights.

The sequel to 2010’s Mount & Blade: Warband, Bannerlord is an ambitious attempt to expand the gameplay of the original. It includes complex siege mechanics — with weapons like towers, catapults, and ballista — alongside diplomacy, crafting, and a sandbox economy.