Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord One Year Anniversary Recap

TaleWorlds Entertainment launched their highly-anticipated sandbox RPG Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord into early access on March 30, 2020. The original plan was for the game to spend about a year in EA, but that is no longer the case, with the game’s new preliminary release date slated for Q4 2021.

So, instead of a proper launch, we get this lengthy Steam announcement that goes over the numerous improvements Bannerlord can now boast when compared to its initial EA build. We’re also promised a closer look at TaleWorlds’ future plans soon.

Here are a few snippets:

Greetings warriors of Calradia!

It seems hard to believe, but a whole year has passed since Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord was released in Early Access. And such a challenging year it has been, for everyone. We hope you are staying safe and healthy, and that the game was able to serve as an enjoyable distraction for you during these difficult times. We also want to express our gratitude to everyone that has supported us since the early access launch and provided us with many great suggestions and ideas that have helped us tremendously with the development of the game!

With that in mind, this first anniversary seems like the perfect occasion to take another look at the path we’re walking together. Initially, we had estimated that the early access period would last for about a year. And while we are happy with the progress that has been made so far, we feel that the game isn’t quite ready for its full release just yet. As such, our tentative estimate for the release is Q4 2021, however, development will continue for as long as necessary as we take the time to ensure that the game is fun and enjoyable.

On a connected note, many of you have been inquiring about the game coming to consoles. As we’ve always said, our focus right now is on finishing the PC version. Consoles will come later on – but they will come! When we have more information to share about that, you’ll be the first to know, so stay tuned to our website, forums, and social media channels.

With that cleared up, let’s move on to discuss what has happened with the game over the past year!


Character Development

Moving on, we want to discuss a topic that many of you care deeply about: the character development system. When the game first launched, we were faced with some difficult choices. Perks were incomplete, but we were also not entirely happy with their design at that point either. Initially, each perk had just a single effect, which made them interesting and useful for either the player character or for companions and AI nobles… but not both. In the end, we decided to revisit the design by reworking many of the existing effects, and added a second effect to most of the 300+ perks in the game, giving you more freedom and options when developing your characters and making it much less likely for any perks to go to waste. This decision didn’t come easy as it prolonged the time required to fill in missing content, but we believe it was the right choice as it made the game better in the long run.

Character progression and skills also saw some fairly substantial changes. Initially, character levels would grow based on skill levels, but this led to situations where you could harm your own progression unintentionally by focusing on just a few skills that would take longer and longer to develop. To solve this, the system was changed to be based on raw experience instead, which means that characters can grow even if their skill levels don’t increase. Alongside this, we expanded the ways in which you can gain experience, whether it be Combat in the arena, Charm in barters, or Roguery for robbing peasants. Having said that, we hear you and we agree that this should receive more attention still.

Beyond that, we also want to provide you with a greater number of customisation options, which so far have included additional colours for skin, hair, and eyes; a number of new hairstyles, with a barber to change them at; as well as, a much-requested option to control your character’s weight and build.

However, It wasn’t just heroes that needed some additional care! With the combat system and battle simulation generally favouring strong fighters, a situation arose whereby, unbeknownst to us, the development of troops in parties was skewed. Thankfully, you stepped in to let us know that it could be overly difficult to raise recruits to a higher level and, in response to this, we introduced a shared experience system that ensures that combat experience is more evenly distributed among your troops.

Finally, the interplay between the combat and character systems was revised. Originally, the combat AI level was derived from the NPC’s character level. However, that meant that any high-level character, whether it was a merchant or a warrior, would be a proficient fighter. This was changed to take into account the character’s skill level for their wielded weapon instead. It required some additional work with balancing troop stats and equipment, but, much like with Perks, it has improved the game in the long run!


Whew, well that was certainly a lot to get through, even after all the cuts! If we missed out any changes or additions to the game that you personally enjoyed, please make sure to leave a reply in the comment section below to let us know what it was!

And finally, we have a message for those of you that have been following development a little more avidly throughout early access and are more interested in where the game is heading rather than the path it has taken. We felt that trying to squeeze such a big discussion into this particular post would have detracted from both topics, and ultimately, we wouldn’t have been able to give it the attention and respect that it deserves. As such, we decided that we would discuss some of the future plans for the game in a follow-up post in the near future.

Until then, we want to thank you once again for your amazing support throughout early access, and we wish you the best of health.