A series of bad decisions.
The original Banner Saga was an incredible success, a critical darling that went on to become an indie game success story. In contrast, the launch for The Banner Saga 2 came and went, without so much as a whisper. This is puzzling, because The Banner Saga 2 is a great game- the one criticism that can be leveled at it is that it lacks the freshness of its predecessor, but isn’t that the case for most sequels that go on to pull in massive numbers anyway?
So why did The Banner Saga 2 underperform? John Watson, co-founder of developer Stoic, believes it is because the developers failed to keep the community engaged and in the loop with the development of the sequel, unlike what they managed with the first game.
“I think we dropped the ball there,” Watson admitted to GamesIndustry.biz. “We thought that audience would still just be there. We really neglected our community during the development of Banner Saga 2, because we were focusing on our work. I think that was a mistake. We all agree that was a mistake.”
Neglecting the community isn’t the only poor decision by Stoic- according to Watson, the release window chosen for the game also went on to work against them.
“That is a factor,” Watson said. “With The Banner Saga we launched against 70 games that month. With The Banner Saga 2 it was over 400, so that is a factor. You are fighting more for attention, and it’s remarkable how many people I meet say, ‘oh, Banner Saga 2 is out?’ They just don’t know, and we spent a lot of money marketing it. We tried to make it known.”
Hopefully, The Banner Saga 2 continues to have a long tail that ensures a steady stream of sales in the coming months and years. And hopefully, Stoic learn from their mistakes for The Banner Saga 3.