The Banner Saga
Update: When The Banner Saga was announced for consoles, a handheld version on Vita was in the works. Unfortunately, the realities of business have put an indefinite hold on that edition.
In a post on the Stoic forums, founder John Watson lays out the troubled road the company walked in order to make the console versions happen. It's a glimpse into how ports get made and the outside companies responsible for making them a reality.
The entire statement follows, but the summary is that the Vita version is on hold. Stoic lost money due to the collapse of its first porting company partner and needs to recover those funds before it can move forward.
Many of you have been asking for status updates on the Playstation Vita port of the Banner Saga. Now that we've completed porting and the certification process for Playstation 4, I thought I'd take a moment to bring my head above water and provide some information.
Our console and Vita porting has been more expensive and time consuming than we had originally expected. We started the porting process only a few months after the initial launch of Banner Saga on PC. In fact, we started console port development work at the same time we started iOS and Android development. I performed the initial proof-of-concept porting myself, to determine what our technological approach should be. Once this was complete, I hired 3 different porting companies to do a 1 week prototype for a fixed price. Of the 3, one of the companies exceed the others in performance by a wide margin. As a result, I decided to hire them to work on the PS4, Xbox One, and Linux ports, and they got underway. Their deadline for completion was November 2014.
The porting company made good progress at first, but suffered some internal personnel turnover which slowed the project. The first deadline was missed, but progress steadily continued. We were able to show a hand-on playable demo of the Banner Saga running on PS4 at the Playstation Experience in Las Vegas, December 2014.
In January, the porting company hired additional programmers and took on the contract for performing the Playstation Vita port. The deadline for completion was July 2015. Over the subsequent months, the porting company suffered more personnel turnover, and the project limped along. Finally, in May 2015, the company folded, went out of business, and failed to complete the project. All of the expenses sunk into that project were lost, with no realistic way for us to recover them.
Over the next few months, we scrambled to find another porting company that was able to pick up the porting where it was left off. Fortunately, we found a great company who has been able to exceed our expectations in every way. They started work in August, and now, 4 months later, we have the Playstation 4 and Xbox One ports completed and ready to launch.
The side effect of this is that we have had to put the Playstation Vita port on the back burner. I have been excited about the Vita port since day one, and I would love to see the Banner Saga running on my own Vita. The realities, however, of a very small team and a limited budget, put an immutable check on the speed of our progress. Stoic is composed of only 4 full time internal team members, all of which are currently working 100% on Banner Saga 2. Our initial budget for porting to Vita has been burned by essentially having to pay twice for the console ports. Once we can recover the substantial costs of initial console porting, we can consider our strategy to move forward with Vita.
One of the most positive results of all this, is that since the Banner Saga 2 shares the same engine with Banner Saga (albeit an upgraded, enhanced, and more featureful version of the engine), all of the porting work so far is directly applicable to our next game. This means that porting should be much, much faster than initially.
Thank you very for your patience and support!
The Banner Saga is missing its 2015 console release, but you won’t need to wait long into the new year to take on the viking quest. Xbox One and PlayStation 4 releases are due at the start of January.
Developer Stoic explains that the console ports were a bit more challenging than original anticipated. This led to a longer than expected development cycle.
“We have been working on porting Banner Saga to consoles for some time” said Stoic founder John Watson. “Porting the game certainly presented technical challenges that we needed to overcome, and gave us an opportunity to redesign the experience for console controllers. We have managed to merge the story and gameplay from Banner Saga with a refined controller interface to make it a very enjoyable console gaming experience.”
The current-gen console versions are due on January 12. For more, check out our review of the original PC version. A sequel is currently in the works for release in 2016.