Stoic Studio’s The Banner Saga was the first videogame Kickstarter project I backed. I made the decision to contribute $25 to the game’s development back in April 2012. The initial pitch said that The Banner Saga would be published in November 2012. Numerous delays, feature additions, mismanagement, and opposing lunar tides have caused the game to be delayed…several times…and several times more. Stoic Studio has finally committed to a hard release date for The Banner Saga and has announced it with a fancy launch trailer (embedded below). The Banner Saga is finally landing on January 14, 2014.
There are several takeaways from my experience with The Banner Saga. I’ve learned to be more skeptical of Kickstarter pitches. As a fan of creators (of all kinds), I went into the project with an extremely naive attitude. It never occurred to me that most of these pitches over-promise and under-deliver. I loved the romantic ideals behind these pitches and blinded myself to reality. Kickstarter was going to give developers freedom, unshackling them from publishers that stifled their wondrous creativity with monetary demands and obligations to shareholders. Unfortunately…
…most of these developers need to be shackled by publishers. There are a few independent publishers that are totally capable of making a game on time and on budget. They’re the minority. Kickstarter pitches have shown that most developers need a babysitter to keep them on track. When left to their own devices, most of these companies are behind schedule and/or over budget. While many creators yearn for freedom, the reality is that many of them need an overlord to keep them in check. While a lot of what I’ve written in the past has been pro-developer and anti-publisher, please don’t think I’m discounting the role and importance of videogame publishers.
All that said, I wasn’t really bothered by The Banner Saga’s numerous delays. I expected some of them and after a while I totally forgot that the game existed. I’m happy that it’s coming out next month and looking forward to playing it. As a fan of tactical RPGs like Final Fantasy Tactics, Disgaea, and Ogre Battle, I loved the ideas behind this Norse-themed tactical RPG. I gave the developers $25 because I thought The Banner Saga would be a fun game to play and wanted to see it published. Sure, it took much longer than I thought it would, but I’m getting what I paid for.