We recently highlighted Mount and Blade in a retrospective and previewed the newest game in the series With Fire and Sword. We were lucky enough to catch up with Mika’il Yazbeck of Taleworlds who told us all about the past and future of the series.
Three years after the release of the first Mount and Blade, do you still enjoy playing the game as much as you enjoy making it?
For me personally, yes absolutely. There is always something to check out, be it a mod, playing with some good old fellows from the forums, or just seeing what/how we could improve things for the next game.
How much has Mount and Blade changed from the original version made by Armagan Yavuz, founder of TaleWorlds, and his wife, Ipek Yavuz
Specifically concerning With Fire & Sword; the core of the combat, the dynamic systems, and open-world style of play are still purposefully well intact. With Fire & Sword makes improvements to the overall game flow with neat changes to the troop, economy, and town systems.
In Warband you added multiplayer. How hard was this to balance and did it turn out as well as you had hoped?
Adding multiplayer to Mount & Blade, is probably one the best moves we could make with our franchise. It’s something everyone wanted and something we wanted to give them. Of course it wasn’t without its challenges and balance is always hard to tip correctly, but it is not without its rewards either. It has been a year since Warband shipped and we’re still almost always in the top 20 most played games on Steam, it’s something very satisfying to see. On top of that, we have a feeling if we could’ve done everything we had on paper for Warband’s multiplayer we could be in the top ten :) maybe
There’s a thriving community around Mount and Blade. Why do you think your fans are so passionate about the game?
It may have something to do with the uniqueness of Mount and Blade. There is nothing else quite like Mount & Blade as base game/experience, add to that our highly mod-able engine and you have a recipe for continued enthusiasm and a dedicated mod community, of which we are extremely blessed to have.
Mount and Blade’s combat is different from almost every other game available. Why do you think no one else tries to create similar, realistic combat in fantasy games?
Perhaps bigger companies don’t trust realistic non-flashy combat to have the mass appeal. I still feel there are plenty of amazing moments to see and incredible feats of twitch-based gameplay to execute in a realistic combat model, but then again I’m not a publisher laying tens of millions of dollars on the line.
Other than the setting and weapons, are there any other big changes you have made to the core combat and structure of the game?
To the base combat model, no, there aren’t any.The new troop system helps change up the dynamics of establishing, growing, and maintaining a healthy army which in turn changes the pace and style of the game to a certain degree. There are also other nice small additions that can change the strategy of your game quite a bit, for example ‘trade caravans’ allow you to make huge amounts of gold by buying low and selling high stock amounts of goods. All of the changes made to the game are ones that players will most likely appreciate as they add more options and flavour to the series.
The way that Mount and Blade went from a small game in Beta to a big release with a thriving community is inspiring to other indie developers. What words of advice would you have for any similar aspiring game developers with a big idea?
Make it happen, it may take you many years, but there are so many possibilities at the end of the journey. Your game may hit it big and be made of building blocks, you may be purchased by publisher, maybe you’ll self-publish to varying degrees of success, or maybe you’ll just have spent your time doing something worthwhile and constructive for a few years. Either way following through and making your own game is only a good thing at the end of the day.