'Banner Saga' back to Kickstarter to fund final chapter

After the second game’s underwhelming launch, it’s back to the platform that bankrolled the first.

Though Viking axe-and-smash tactics game The Banner Saga suffered years of delays after it got funded three days into its March 2012 Kickstarter campaign, it enjoyed critical and commercial success upon its release in January 2014. Its sequel earned lower sales and fanfare after indie studio Stoic fatefully decided to forgo another draining crowdfunding campaign and build it behind closed doors. But to finish the trilogy strong, they've launched a new Kickstarter for The Banner Saga 3, which is already 40% funded on its first day.

The last chapter will close the series' epic story of humans, giant horned Varls and centaurs striving to survive against an army of runic automatons and the encroaching Darkness that pushes them. Both of the first games earned acclaim for their deep tactical system, lush hand-drawn animation and gorgeous soundtracks by indie composer luminary Austin Wintory.

Returning to Kickstarter is both a dependable income generator and a solid community engagement method. Fans ended up pledging over 700% of the first game's $100,000 crowdfunding goal back in 2012, but running the campaign was draining on the team. As technical director and co-founder of Stoic John Watson told GamesIndustryBiz, the studio's decision to neglect their community during the second game's development hurt the game's success. It didn't help that its release window was simply more crowded, coming out among 400 games instead of the first title's 70 competitors.

If the first day's $88,000 take is any indication, The Banner Saga 3's $200,000 Kickstarter goal will be met soon enough. As their FAQ notes, they have no firm release date; Likewise, they aren't saying when a port to PS4 and XboxOne will be likely, though it took the first game a year and the second a few months after their PC launches to make the jumps. But early backers from the first Kickstarter who tipped in extra dough, take heed: Stoic is honoring those who bought $50-or-higher tiers that ensured copies of every game in the trilogy and will send out copies when The Banner Saga 3 drops.