Chivalry 2 | Interview with Steve Piggott of Torn Banner Studios
It’s been 8 years since the FPS (first-person swordfighter) Chivalry: Medieval Warfare released on Steam. I have a personal affinity for Chivalry as it was one of the first games that really got me hooked on the indie scene thanks to the unmatched level of fun I had with it.
Following up the success of Chivalry and interesting side releases like Mirage: Arcane Warfare, Torn Banner has finally come through with Chivalry 2 which looks to give fans like myself even more of the Chivalry experience they know and love. I was fortunate enough to be able to demo Chivalry 2 at PAX East this year and was absolutely thrilled with what I saw.
In fact, I loved the Chivalry 2 demo so much, I kept returning to the booth over and over again to play it, or watch other people play and hear their excited voices.
Chivalry 2 is a game that gets your heart racing, while also challenging you to think strategically. Sure, you can charge in with your sword raised high looking for a fight, but you can’t guarantee that you won’t be surrounded by three enemies all looking to take you out.
The key to a successful game of Chivalry 2 is teamwork. Well, in modes like Team Objective and Team Deathmatch that is, I can’t say the same for modes found in Chivalry 1 like Free-for-All or Duels.
One of the many things that's cool about Chivalry 2 in particular is how teamwork gets even more heated thanks to an increase in the game’s max player count from 32 to 64, along with new mechanics like the ability to throw chickens at your foes. Yes, you read that correctly, you can throw chickens.
To learn even more about what will undoubtedly be one of my favorite games of 2020, I sent over some questions and Steve Piggott, President of Torn Banner Studios, was kind enough to provide some truly insightful answers.
If you’re as excited for Chivalry 2 as I am, or are simply curious what you can expect from the game, read on for some juicy details courtesy of Steve Piggott of Torn Banner Studios!
Chivalry 2 | Interview with Torn Banner Studios
What inspired you to develop a sequel to Chivalry: Medieval Warfare?
Steve: Chivalry is the core passion for our studio – it’s the reason we exist. We look back at 2012’s Chivalry as being a cult classic that is a ton of fun but left a lot of potential left on the table. We believe it thrived because it allowed players to take the game as seriously as they wanted, with incredibly deep sword fighting mechanics and immersive atmosphere, then lightened the tone with Monty Python inspired humour and roleplaying opportunities through the character voices.
Chivalry became known as the game with swords where you could scream your heart out and chop people's heads off. We want to recapture what was awesome but achieve the greatness we saw possible, now with a much more experienced team. Chivalry is where we started. As a studio it is so important to us, and we really wanted to come back to this series only when we felt we could bring the genre to an entirely new level with a true sequel rather than Chivalry 1.5.
How does Chivalry 2 differ from the first game?
Steve: From the start we wanted to directly address the prevailing criticisms of Chivalry 1 – movement and animations that at a high skill level looked like ballerinas on rollerblades. Advanced combat felt good to those players, but looked bad to others and broke the immersion of the medieval battlefield.
Chivalry 2’s all-new animation system prevents unrealistic body distortion and adds physicality and weight to interactions as well as many unique animations per weapon. Expert moves in swing manipulation are still possible like the first game, but are now actually readable and reactable. Our goal for Chivalry 2 is to put you in true control as the player. You’re never out of options while you fight. The fun comes from control and creativity.
We’ve created an all-new combat flow that combines our real time strikes and free-flowing combo system to speed up the action and let players become a whirlwind of steel on the battlefield. The combat is faster and much more visceral than before. As a 64 player game set in epic, chaotic battlefields, the combat system was also built with the ability to fight multiple foes in mind.
We’re making Chivalry 2 to capture the untapped potential left on the table by the original. We truly want to create the ultimate medieval battlefield game. It is fundamentally about allowing players to relive iconic moments of the medieval era – at least, the Hollywood movie version that we all have in our heads. We want you to feel like you are Jon Snow in Battle of the Bastards, William Wallace in Braveheart, or Aragorn in an epic Lord of the Rings battle.
It’s a medieval warfare game – not a sword-fighting sim. The epic Team Objective game mode of the original is a huge focus of Chivalry 2’s development – the vision of these sprawling maps with sequential objectives has been expanded massively along with the huge player count to truly feel like you’re in one of those movie scenes, come to life.
Chivalry 2 is also still that “stress ball” game you can scream at while you’re playing drunk on a Saturday night. You can take it as seriously or as silly as you want. Meanwhile, keep fighting after losing a limb, being knocked down, disarmed, set on fire, filled with arrows, your shield broken, smothered in blood and still throwing punches from your knees while downed and holding out for a revive.
It’s much more “sandbox” in nature now too: battlefields are now littered with dozens of items to interact with. Grab a chicken, set it on fire and throw it; kill a man with his own head; improvise a new fighting style with pitchforks – or tomatoes!
Tell us more about the decision to increase the max player count from 32 to 64, and the larger scale maps!
Steve: The max player count in the first Chivalry was 24 players – you could find servers after launch that expanded that number, but the core game was designed around that scale at most. Chivalry 2 is designed for 64 players from the ground up. Maps are much much larger and the scope of battle feels far more epic as a result.
Team Objective maps are built to feel truly epic in scale – assault a walled city from a beach landing like medieval D-Day; burn down an entire village; escort a caravan through a sprawling forest; and more. Team Deathmatch maps are also large and designed as references to classic medieval movie scenes, like a battle charge from Braveheart or a tournament from A Knight’s Tale.
The vision of Chivalry is to create cinematic battlefields inspired by classic medieval movies. The high player count achieves that properly now. The combat system has also been totally reworked from the ground up to make fighting multiple foes viable.
I know your blog mentions that ballerina exploits have been removed. What other changes have been made to combat? Are drags and feints still present?
Steve: Our goal with the combat system was to massively expand the range of options available to the player, increase your ability to make rapid decisions and never feel out of options or lacking control. As well as various new attack types there is also a huge expansion of movement options so you can avoid getting hit. We mentioned the all-new animation system earlier.
Our goal is not to water down the complexity of combat but instead to make everything incredibly readable and reactable, while maintaining the immersive “look” of medieval combat. Swing manipulation – through accelerated or de-accelerated drags, is still core to the combat system.
Feints are another tool in your arsenal; you can now actively feint between attacks by switching the input during attack windup, or simply cancel attacks. We’ll be detailing more about the combat system in the future, including new attack types, subclasses and more.
You can pick up things on the map and throw them at your enemies now. What’s one of the funniest things you can damage your opponent with in Chivalry 2?
Steve: Well to start, you can throw someone’s own head at them after chopping it off. Or find a bookshelf with an endless supply of books to toss at people. There will be more surprises to come, and even less pleasant things to throw at people.
The original voice actors have returned to record new voice prompts, and there are also gestures added. What sort of hilarious things can players say and do to communicate in Chivalry 2?
Steve: We’ll be hearing the same voices return (the same recordings); our Audio Director Ryan Patrick Buckley, voice of fan favourite the Mason Man-at-Arms from Chivalry, will also be lending his voice again. The range of voice options has expanded massively – there are 5x as many voice files this time. You’ll find new options for personal insults, tactical commands, and various animated emotes.
There’s the classic animated battlecries, but now you can beg, threaten, cheer and more. All of this lets players add their own humor and personality to the experience. And makes it feel like a proper Chivalry game.
What sort of game modes will be present in Chivalry 2 at launch (Team Objective, Team Deathmatch, etc.)?
Steve: Team Objective and Team Deathmatch are certainly returning. We’ll be talking about other modes in the future too.
Will mod options be present, and can players expect to see the return of past mods like Black Knight or Giant Slayer?
Steve: We plan to provide mod support post-launch. The mod community was how we got started – so we “get it”, and we know it’s an important part of the game’s livelihood. The Black Knight and Giant Slayer mods were created by members of our development team who still work here – so yes it’s likely mods like that will return, and hopefully some new surprises too.
Will there be any open beta tests for Chivalry 2, and if so, how do people sign up?
Steve: Currently we are doing a round-based Closed Alpha. It began in March and will be active throughout the next few months. You can sign up for the Alpha at chivalry2.com/alpha. The Alpha is critical for early player feedback to help us fine tune the game as we look towards launch. It's more than just a chance to demo the game early, but also to help shape the launch version. We’re expecting the Beta by mid summer. It will be the same signup list as the Alpha.
When is Chivalry 2 scheduled to release, and for what platforms?
Steve: Later in 2020 for PC, on the Epic Games Store. Other digital storefronts on PC after 1 year.
Do you have any platforms planned for the future like Nintendo Switch or next-gen consoles like the Xbox Series X?
Steve: We’d love to eventually see Chivalry 2 on every major platform, but right now, we’ve only officially announced Chivalry 2 for the PC.
We want to thank Steve Piggott and the team at Torn Banner Studios for taking the time to answer questions about Chivalry 2, and for agreeing to show their action-packed trailer in IO’s first IOX broadcast. I can’t wait to play Chivalry 2 later this year, and am excited to dive into the Beta once it’s available as well.
If you’re as excited as I am, you can follow Torn Banner Studios on Twitter, the official Chivalry page on Twitter, join the Chivalry 2 Discord, and keep an eye on the official website for Chivalry 2!