The ex-SWTOR developers at Stoic Games have a quite unusual take on strategy gameplay lined up for first effort The Banner Saga.
Creative director Alex Thomas told Shack News that The Banner Saga isn't a "major shift" from standard turn-based tactics, but does hope it will feel "fresh and unique".
"Think of it like DoTA for the turn-based crowd, but instead of controlling one character you build a deck of characters with abilities that complement each other," he said.
"We've played a lot of nail-biting multiplayer games against each other so far that make me think people will really dig it. We're not going to make it impenetrable for new players, but for people who really want strategy in their games, they'll find a lot of depth here. I think even hardcore gamers will be surprised that they can't just brute-force their way through a fight; it requires some finesse."
Stoic also hopes to present a fresh-feeling fantasy story and setting, choosing viking culture as the backdrop because it's so rarely treated seriously in games.
"One of our major goals for The Banner Saga was the opportunity to do a mature game for adults in the vein of Game of Thrones or The Black Company. When we say it's a mature story, we want the player to understand it's about cultural intrigue and the relationships between the characters, not sex, swearing and violence," Thomas said.
"It's also not about high fantasy and dragons and magic, and it's not about black and white, good versus evil. We knew we wanted a fantasy setting, but desperately wanted to avoid the very overdone 'elves, dwarves and orcs' dynamic."
The Banner Saga will release in two parts. The first, due in northern spring, is a free, stand-alone combat title. The second will go on sale in northern autumn and packs in an extensive story mode.