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The Banner Saga happy to "ruffle feathers" the way AAA can't

The ex-BioWare staffers at Stoic Games are enjoying the freedom to experiment with the kind of consequential gameplay mechanics traditionally published triple-A games can't risk.

Speaking to Rock Paper Shotgun, Stoic's Alex Thomas said players will just have to deal with the consequences of their actions, even if it means losing favourite characters.

"We don’t think a big studio, for example BioWare, is going to let you lose someone that you like. As a smaller indie studio we thought that was freaking cool," he said.

"We might ruffle some feathers, but we want to have that in the game."

Colleague Arnie Jorgensen said the strategy RPG doesn't allow the kind of quick-saving players have come to rely on in order to escape the results of ill-conceived decisions. At one point, the team even considered removing saving altogether.

"That’s actually a question we were asked, coming from the larger game companies: Could we do that to a player? No, they need save points," he said.

"But this game is small enough that we can take chances on stuff like that. We wanted to be a little bit more old-school, so that you can just play through. You can’t save everywhere. To go back to a checkpoint would cost you some time, so you just move on forward.

"Also, we’re hopefully going to be training the player that this isn’t the type of game that has an ultimate outcome. Really, as we said, you’re just trying to balance your way through the game. There isn’t a 'good' and a 'bad' choice, is my point."

A combat-only version of The Banner Saga subtitled Factions is expected before the end of the year, and will be free to play. A story-driven campaign will release in episodic chapters for an up-front fee.

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