BioWare Vets Will Develop Indie Viking Game

BioWare Vets Will Develop Indie Viking Game

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Three BioWare developers like Vikings and strategy RPGs so much, they started their own studio to combine the two.

In the world of gaming, Vikings are really popular right now. There's no way to tell how long this trend will last, but at least three veteran developers plan to take advantage of this opportunity before Vikings give way to some new craze. Arnie Jorgensen, Alex Thomas, and John Watson (no, not that John Watson) spent years as developers for BioWare, but recently decided that they wanted to start their own studio, Stoic, to make the kind of games they'd like to play. The Banner Saga, a strategy RPG in which players guide a motley crew of hand-animated Vikings through a deep story, aims to be the first of those games.

While information is still scarce for The Banner Saga, it doesn't sound too far off from a traditional BioWare project. "The Banner Saga is a mature game aimed at gamers who appreciate art, story, and strategy," the game's official site explains. The game focuses on "strategic, turn-based combat," developing relationships with party members through conversation, and traditional, hand-drawn animation for each marching war band and swinging sword. Beyond that, the site only advertises "Free Multiplayer Combat - Coming Soon."

Between them, the three men seem to have all the relevant skills for this endeavor. All three dedicated the last few years to getting Star Wars: The Old Republic out the door, and waited until the job was done before deciding to leave. Jorgensen worked as the Lead Concept Artist, Thomas as the Senior Environment Artist, and Watson as the Lead Combat programmer. In addition to artistic and design experience, Thomas has some writing chops, having written screenplays for Dreamworks and Cartoon Network.

Jorgensen, Thomas, and Watson seem to be the three latest cast members in the ongoing story of big developers quitting their day jobs to join the indie scene. They're also not the only influential members of BioWare to leave their jobs recently. If The Banner Saga is a big success, will more BioWare employees follow in their footsteps?

Source: Stoic

Permalink

Is it really so indie if these guys were captains at Bioware. Just cause your company is new doesn't mean your indie.
Now putting aside my need to strangle them for slapping that on themselves.
Looks like it could be a fun game, I hope they don't blow it.

Tiger Sora:
Is it really so indie if these guys were captains at Bioware. Just cause your company is new doesn't mean your indie.
Now putting aside my need to strangle them for slapping that on themselves.
Looks like it could be a fun game, I hope they don't blow it.

Independant just means self-published. If they do that, even if they have big names they're still indie.

looks pretty sweet and vikings always rule, this is definetly something too keep an eye on i think.

Sounds like an interesting project. I didn't realize vikings we're so popular now. I guess they're seen a bit differently outside Nordic countries.

But I do hate the term "indie" to no limit. It has barely anything to do with independent(ly recorded and/or published) anymore; it's everything you can think of. And it's always something done for the mere love of making it, while everything else is just for profit. I sincerely hope that trend dies some day.

I wonder if Bioware's future games will be noticeably different in some ways with so many lead positions now given to new people.

So they're going to make a game that Bioware would have made if they didn't sellout and start trying appeal to everyone and their grandmothers. Sounds good to me.

I just hope The Banner Saga will measure up to the same standard of excellence as their former company.

Maybe Blizzard should take the opportunity to create a new game in the Lost Vikings series:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lost_Vikings

Probably never going to happen, but one can always hope...

Tiger Sora:
Is it really so indie if these guys were captains at Bioware. Just cause your company is new doesn't mean your indie.
Now putting aside my need to strangle them for slapping that on themselves.

They're a team of three and they're going to publish it independently. So far, so indie. Previous job titles aren't really relevant; if Bobby Kotick ran off to start his own Lemonade stand, he'd be a small, local business man.

OT: Sounds like some more who aren't getting to make the sort of stuff they want to at BioWare.

Woodsey:

OT: Sounds like some more who aren't getting to make the sort of stuff they want to at BioWare.

I concur. Perhaps I should do a check for what positions they held previously at BioWare, but it may shed some light as to their motivations if we knew what they worked on before starting this project.
(will do once I'm not busy decoding and plotting 9 pages of METAR codes by hand)

I would rather the Lost Vikings 1 & 2 were released on steam.

DVS BSTrD:
I just hope The Banner Saga will measure up to the same standard of excellence as their former company.

That was bad and you should feel bad about it :P
getting that out of the way, this looks pretty cool. I will never say no to more vikings. Now if only they could get Ensiferum to do the soundtrack it would be perfect.

....Well, it sounds like something I would highly enjoy. One of my favorite parts of Bioware games are the conversations with party members....

I'm going to keep following this one...

That can only hurt BioWare in the long run.
Whats this now. . . 4 big shots leaving their team? Buh they will need to scout new talent and soon

I don't think it'll necessarily ~hurt~ Bioware, I think letting some fresh winds blow through the company is just what they need right about now. I was getting a bit fed up with companions being heavily based on companions from previous Bioware games (like Vette is heavily based on Mission Vao), so hey, perhaps this might actually bring some interesting new concepts to the table in future games.

Tiger Sora:
Is it really so indie if these guys were captains at Bioware. Just cause your company is new doesn't mean your indie.
Now putting aside my need to strangle them for slapping that on themselves.
Looks like it could be a fun game, I hope they don't blow it.

Just because you are a big name in the videogame world doesn't mean you are instantly going to get the financial backing you want or need to make a AAA game. And even if you do, if it fails unlike Bioware ( which should it have a bad title release can kinda sorta take the hit) you are done. Case and point Flagship studios, one of the biggest names at blizzard went off with a few other guys and made Hellgate London, which didn't do all that great..... and now they are defunct.

So yeah, despite being big wigs at their old gig that doesn't make them immune to all the trials and tribulations that a new unknown upstart is going to have, they have some buffer, if only because they have easier access to the press ( like the escapist article here) which will get them some name recognition, but they still qualify as indie, in fact I have heard people argue that technically VALVE is indie...... So by that definition this new venture definitely is indie.

personally I plan to check it out..... the description of the game is intriguing and if these guys are in part responsible for the high quality output we see in the majority of Bioware games then I think they deserve a look see.

F'Angus:
I would rather the Lost Vikings 1 & 2 were released on steam.

That would be an instant buy for me, even though I still have both of the original SNES carts (plus Rock n' Roll Racing).

 

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