Torn Banner has come full circle with the release of Chivalry 2 which revisits and improves upon the game that first put them on the map, 2012’s Chivalry: Medieval Warfare. It’s been incredibly successful and effective, with Chivalry 2 introducing more people than ever before to the world of Chivalry thanks to its release on consoles as well as PC.
Currently, it’s been over a month since Chivalry 2 released on June 8, and things largely seem to be going well with Torn Banner working hard on updates and patches along with future content as outlined in the detailed roadmap shared to the game’s official website.
In the roadmap, Torn Banner brand director Alex Hayter mentions that there will be “many content updates to the game for years to come” before talking a bit about the updates planned for 2021.
"We'll only list the next 1-2 or so updates for what's coming but rest assured, our plans for Chivalry 2 updates are to release big Content Updates every few months and to always have new stuff for players to experience in the works.
As a general reference for 2021, we're hoping to release 3-4 Content Updates (not including general Patches), this is subject to change but we wanted to give a rough idea and make it clear that nothing we're listing is crazy far away from coming out."
Curious about Torn Banner’s return to Chivalry, how the game was developed, and what to expect from the future, we reached out to the team with some of our most burning questions and were delighted at the answers we received.
We learned a lot, from Chivalry 2’s unplanned but extremely efficient remote development, to the way in which held blocks are a great way for new players to get their bearings in a fight.
With that aside, whether you’ve been playing and loving Chivalry 2 like we have, or you’re a potential newcomer looking for a fun new game to play, we invite you to join us as we dig deeper into the world of Chivalry 2 in our interview with Alex Hayter, brand director at Torn Banner!
Chivalry 2 | Interview with Torn Banner’s Alex Hayter
What inspired the team at Torn Banner to return to Chivalry?
Alex Hayter: We've always wanted to make a sequel to the first game, which came out almost 9 years ago(!) back in October 2012. The first Chivalry was the best title we were able to produce at the time, albeit with a limited amount of game development experience and resources.
Therefore, a lot of potential was left on the table – we made something back then we’re very proud of still today, and think it was great for the time, but we knew we wanted to revisit the series and do a sequel when we could truly do it right.
Chivalry 2 represents what a more experienced team can do with far more resources, time, funding – and a much more ambitious overall vision for an epic scale medieval battlefield game.
How different was it to develop Chivalry 2 compared to development of Chivalry: Medieval Warfare (approach, goals, resources)?
Alex: In terms of resources and our overall approach to development, our company is completely transformed compared to what it was back when we made Chivalry 1.
Chivalry 1 had a scrappy, almost “mod team” style to how it was made, and the team was also much smaller. Meanwhile the process for Chivalry 2’s development has been far better organized and is more akin to your typical professional game studio production.
There's one interesting parallel though! Chivalry 1 was made by an entirely remote team. That wasn't the plan for Chivalry 2 at first, because we have our team all in one place here in Toronto with a physical office.
But the unexpected realities of COVID-19, early 2020 until now meant that our team had to once again work 100% remotely.
It's been a smoother process this time around because our team is so used to working with virtual communication tools like Slack, Meet, and Zoom, and other remote production tools and general arrangements that meant that, while it was still a big challenge at first, the team was still able to pull off the full scope of a game experience we had been aiming for, despite the sudden change in working conditions.
Chivalry 2 improves upon the intricate combat first introduced in Chivalry: Medieval Warfare. What are some of the things that were changed or adjusted for the sequel (drags, ballerina moves), and what are some returning features from the first game?
Alex: We wanted the core combat of Chivalry 2 to be immediately recognizable to players of the first game while at the same time requiring them to go through a complete re-education to understand how to be successful on the battlefield with all of the changes and improvements to combat we’ve made.
Chivalry 2 still has all of the same primary move sets of the first game, most bound to the same inputs, so you can instantly be familiar with how to control your character. That has been significantly expanded upon with not just new moves and modifiers, but overall a complete redesign of how the combat should feel from the ground up.
Combat in Chivalry 1 was a lot of fun, but at the higher levels of skilled play it would often lead to a confusing visual result. The result ended up being a less-than-perfect representation of the emotional and visual experience of medieval melee combat (at least, the experience we see in medieval movies and TV shows that are our primary inspiration).
Combat didn't always feel fair and it didn't feel good to be at the receiving end of a player pulling off insane moves that felt impossible to understand or react to. Aside from resolving those visual issues in the communication of combat moves, a core goal with Chivalry 2 was to lower the skill floor while also raising the skill ceiling.
Mechanics like the held block are very central to achieving this – giving new players a wider opportunity to gauge the combat options in front of them during a fight, rather than entering every encounter with a low chance of even getting a successful swing out.
As you can experience in the tutorial for Chivalry 2, mechanics like drags are still extremely core to the game – we’ve added many more moves you can discover for yourself too.
Adding to that, what inspired the team to add more throwables in Chivalry 2, and what are some of the team’s favorite items to throw in the game?
Alex: Nothing beats picking up a huge church bell and just bonking it off someone's face. That's probably my favorite weapon in Chivalry 2, even compared against the real weapons you can choose in the loadout. I'm only half kidding.
Being able to pick up any weapon that you can find in the battlefield, whether that's a proper bladed weapon or something far more improvisational like a barrel, or a fish, is something that adds to the sense that you're in an insane medieval bar fight where the ultimate goal is survival at any cost.
You can imagine this in real life, being surrounded by deadly enemies all of a sudden, and knowing you need to use any item at your disposal to come out on top and survive – or at least go down trying with only one arm left. That’s a core emotional goal for Chivalry 2 and so the random level pickups add a lot of extra spice to the recipe.
The voiceover for Chivalry is always a standout. Did the team record any new VO for Chivalry 2, and if so, did the team bring back any of the original voice actors?
Alex: There are hundreds of new voice lines from new actors to hear in Chivalry 2. We used voice talent actors for every version of every character you can play as in the game, which means eight in total – four for each of the two factions Mason and Agatha.
And, because those four characters are the same playable class types that we had in the first Chivalry, players can also go back and use Chivalry 1 character voices (newly remastered!) for any of the character classes too. So you can play as a classic Chivalry 1 Agatha vanguard or Mason Archer, for example.
We wanted players to have as many options as possible – and nostalgia is powerful!
How do you feel about Chivalry players practicing real chivalry in the game with things like user-created practice servers, waiting until two people are done with a fight to jump in, befriending other players in-game, etc.?
Alex: The duel servers in Chivalry 2 at launch, which are repurposed FFA mode servers, are created by our team and hosted by us rather than the community itself. We don’t yet have community servers, but they’re on the roadmap.
And proper competitive modes are underway for future updates already – i.e. not just FFA mode servers being adapted for “honor based” play. We created mechanics like the flourish move with general player-to-player interaction in mind – including instigating duels, yes.
There are obviously lots of ways to express yourself in the game, be it those animated flourishes, which differ for every weapon type, or different emotes, as well as all of the voice lines that you can throw out on demand from your character.
“Honor-based” duel servers were already a big thing in Chivalry 1, that in part came out of the community figuring out the best way to play together in ways that weren't necessarily officially established by any game rules or mechanics.
It’s fun to see organic behaviours come out and quickly become adopted by the majority, without ever being forced as a “required” way to play. It embraces the “sandbox” feel of Chivalry in a way that can feel constrictive and rote when you’re forced to do something as a result of a game mode and that sort of thing.
So the cool thing with Chivalry 2 was that we knew that we could continue those kinds of servers right off the bat and knew that players would inherently adhere to those same sort of social codes that were already popular in the first game’s duelyard servers.
It's also really neat to see and hear stories about friendships being struck from just playing virtually in a game like Chivalry 2 and we think that all of the mechanics that are built for social expression in the game are going to help make that even more of a thing as the game continues to grow an audience.
How does the team feel about Chivalry: Medieval Warfare mods, and will there be user mod support for Chivalry 2?
Alex: Mod support is planned at some point post-launch but it isn't our top priority yet. Of course, we come from a modding background and we totally understand the value of it. Some of the best memories of playing Chivalry 1 are from user-created mods or even mods made by our team like Black Knight and Giant Slayers.
Are you planning to add additional game modes in the future?
Alex: We will definitely be adding more game modes in the future. Adding more maps and more game mode content are definitely two pillars of how we're looking at post launch content. This is the kind of stuff that we hear players repeatedly asking for more of, so in the very near future players can definitely expect new game modes to be available to play.
We’re curious, what happened with Chivalry: Deadliest Warrior, and will we see something similar come back as DLC for Chivalry 2 (adding pirates, samurai, etc.)?
Alex: I don't expect we'll be dipping outside of the core medieval fantasy in Chivalry 2 when it comes to new content post-launch. We look to references from medieval history, but primarily references from medieval movies to dictate where we’ll go creatively in the game.
Chivalry: Deadliest Warrior was an expansion to the first game and it came out in 2013. We saw it as a fun way to experiment with the melee formula of the first game with some unique playstyles for each character class in it, but also explore alternative, yet still attachable character fantasies in the form of playing as samurai, pirates, ninjas, vikings and so on.
Are there any plans to bring Chivalry 2 to Xbox Game Pass in the future?
Alex: Nothing to comment on at this time.
What has the team’s reaction been to seeing Chivalry 2 be received so positively from both gamers and critics?
Alex: It's been completely phenomenal for our team to see the response to the game in terms of players’ response and critical acclaim. The response has been overwhelmingly positive.
When we announced Chivalry 2 in 2019, we made a lot of big promises for what we were trying to achieve, and as a studio we had a lot to prove. We knew we couldn't just make a satisfactory sequel to the first game; it had to be an exemplary sequel that truly pushed the genre forward.
There's still more work to be done and a ton of focus on post launch content and support to take the game far, far further and make it even more of a success in the long term, but we think we've got an incredible foundation to build on.
Finally, what can Chivalry 2 players look forward to in the future?
Alex: The first general balance and bugfix patch for Chivalry 2 is on the horizon, and after that players can look forward to a ton of new content coming to Chivalry 2.
We want to conclude this interview by thanking Alex Hayter and the entire team at Torn Banner for answering our questions about Chivalry 2, and all of the hard work they have been and continue to put into the game.
We can’t wait to see the game grow and evolve, and for more people to discover why Chivalry 2 is so much fun. For more on Chivalry 2, be sure to check out the game's official website and follow Chivalry 2 and Torn Banner on Twitter.
You can also check out a post-launch dev diary from Torn Banner on their YouTube channel. If you're looking to purchase a copy of the game, Chivalry 2 is available now on Xbox One, Xbox Series X | S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and PC (Epic Games Store).