Bannerlord Captain Mode

Mount & Blade: Bannerlord’s multiplayer “Captain Mode” looks amazing

If you're a fan of strategy games or RPGs, you've probably heard of the Mount & Blade franchise at one point or another. What started as a small pet project by a husband/wife development team has grown to be one of the most popular RPG/Strategy sandbox titles out there, maintained and developed by dozens of people.

In short, the Mount & Blade games put you in the role of a single individual in a large medieval universe. You start out relatively weak, and with no men under your command. However, over time, you build up your army and start conquering lands - either for yourself, or your liege (should you choose to align yourself with one of the factions). The game is best known for its revolutionary third-person directional combat - a system that is easy to learn, but difficult to master.

But, I've already written numerous topics on the franchise, and you can simply take to Wikipedia if you want a full description of what the games are all about.

Instead, today's topic will be Bannerlord's latest gameplay video, released at Gamescom just a couple days ago. The video shows off the all-new "Captain Mode", a multiplayer game mode that has never been seen before in the Mount & Blade franchise. In Captain Mode, players will take part in heated 5v5 battles - but this is no ordinary deathmatch. Rather, each player will be given their own detachment of troops to lead - to victory, or death.

This may not seem significant for anybody who plays mostly the singleplayer portion of the game (As leading AI troops is the norm for us), but bear in mind that fans of the multiplayer side of things have never gotten this functionality before - and even us singleplayer fans haven't been able to show off our leadership skills in the company of other players yet (and with no plans for a coop mode in Bannerlord, we probably won't be able to so in a campaign setting for some time).

At the start of each round in Captain Mode, you choose the units you'd like to include in your regiment, as well as their equipment. It's worth noting that you it doesn't seem that you'll be able to customize specific weapons and armor for each troop type - rather, you select from a few options like shield splitting axes, longbows, or "better armor".

Once in the fight, you'll be able to take advantage of Bannerlord's new and improved unit commands -- as well as the vastly improved unit AI -- to lead your side to victory.

If you're wondering when you can get your hands on Bannerlord for yourself, don't get too excited - Taleworlds still haven't announced a release date yet, even after 7 years in development. My best guess? Sometime in 2018 - the game already looks pretty much finished, and the combat (arguably the most important aspect of the game) looks excellent. But don't hold me to that.

TL;DR?

If you don't feel like reading that block of text, or you don't have time to watch the entire video (although I highly recommend doing so at some point) here's the gist of what you should know about Bannerlord's new multiplayer mode:

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    Lead Your Troops:  In Captain Mode,  players are split into two teams of five players each - each player will lead their own detachment of troops.
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    Customize Your Men:  It appears that players will be able to customize their units with improved armor, and specialized weapons (shield-splitting axes, mauls, longbows, etc.) to get the upper hand on their opponents.
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    Vastly Improved Visuals:  Compared to previous Bannerlord gameplay videos, the game has already undergone some significant visual changes. Animations are smoother and more realistic, and hair/cloth physics are now present (to a degree).
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    Release Date:  No news yet, but they recently published a brief blog post going over their philosophy behind not giving one yet.

What do you think of Captain Mode? Are you on the Bannerlord hype train, or are you still on the fence? Let me know in the comments!

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