View Full Version : Ending / Stoic Strategy Discussion *TONS OF SPOILERS*

01-15-2014, 07:21 PM
So I just beat the campaign. I enjoyed the story and had fun right up to when the credits rolled. My reaction at that time was: "ARE YOU SERIOUS!". I still can't believe it. Do they say anywhere that this was meant to be an episodic game or something? LITERALLY NOTHING PERTAINING TO THE GREATER STORY GETS RESOLVED! WHAT THE HELL? This is like getting halfway through a book only to find the last half blank. I don't think Stoic could have ended on a worse note. The game goes "alright it's off to the capitol now, get everyone on the boats, we still need to deal with X Y and Z" and then it just ENDS. It was like getting kicked in the teeth. I was looking forward to a second playthrough, keeping Egil alive, seeing how I could do things differently, but now I just have a sour taste in my mouth.

It feels like Stoic just used this whole Kickstarter as a loss-leader. Get us hooked then use that success to fund a real game. I know that is selling all the amazing work that went into this short, but honestly that's the feeling it leaves me with. This is not a complete experience and frankly I can't recommend it. The art is beautiful. The world is deep and I couldn't wait to learn more about it. The gameplay is decent enough, the progression works fairly well, the story hooks are deep and effective. Then it ends. Nothing regarding Ludin, the Worm, Juno, the Darkness, the Dredge (aside from Bellower), Hakon, Alette, etc etc etc, is resolved. Nothing. Rook dies putting Bellower to sleep. The end.

Were my expectations just off? As I played through the game, I was constantly reminded of Myth I and Myth II: Soulblighter. Those games too had a fantastic setting that cribbed european mythology to create a wonderful, fascinating world. But in Myth, you resolve things. The Fallen Lords are set up well, Balor is revealed as this looming threat, and it ends with you killing Balor, while still leaving the door open perfectly for Myth II. In this game, the Sundr are introduced, although you never learn much about them, and the Worm and the Darkness are set up as looming threats while you deal with the immediate threat, Bellower. How can you set up these huge, looming, world ending threats then end the game with a mid-boss? Now if you spent the whole game building up Bellower as the chief of the Sundr, leader of the Dredge, if we beat him then this is all over, then sprung the Worm and the Darkness on us as a cliffhanger, sure. I could accept that. But we know from halfway through the game that beating Bellower just means we survive a bit longer. It doesn't provide ANY closure whatsoever!

Anyways, those are my thoughts. I am sure people probably have wildly differing opinions. I'd be interested to hear from people who felt the game was a complete experience, and why? Let's discuss!

Slimsy Platypus
01-15-2014, 07:42 PM
I was disappointed that there wasn't a fully animated scene at the finale as there was at the start of the game. In earnest, the ending wasn't great. We go straight from the climatic final boss fight, then a couple lines regarding the dredge walking away... and that's pretty much it. The ending definitely not resolving all the loose ends was intentional, as the story was written as trilogy.

For me the game still felt like a full experience, and I knew I was getting to the end. My caravan left me, the people I meant to save I couldn't really save. And then the boss dies, the dredge pursuit ends, and I've got a boat to freedom. In essence that should be able to be told in a complete story, I think it's the delivery that simply struggles.

Slimsy Platypus
01-15-2014, 07:44 PM
They should patch in a moment of each of the surviving characters reflections on the journey (or something) before the credits roll. That would at least help ease that "the story just fell off a cliff" feeling.

01-16-2014, 01:11 AM
i would love it if you had a chance to converse with the rest of the team before the game ended. Would help to add some finality about events and what happened in the game, and answer or talk about some looming questions (Ludin & Vognir, Juno & Snake, etc.). I really liked Egil, but only had 1 conversation with him. the SOB just got in the way of death so many times. My favorite character was Gunnulf in battle and offbattle personality-wise, but I had like 2 convos with him lol. putting in convos that might affect the start of Saga 2, e.g. talking to characters and where they will be departing to or who they will be staying with, then go back to Rook's perspective and the final animated scene (which would've been perfect ending, had it not felt very very abrupt).

01-16-2014, 06:15 AM
just a question, heavy spoilers btw!

Does Rook dead is scripted? does he dies even if it is Alette who takes the shot, if not, what happens? Alette dies in stead? nobody dies? both die?

01-16-2014, 06:49 AM
just a question, heavy spoilers btw!

Does Rook dead is scripted? does he dies even if it is Alette who takes the shot, if not, what happens? Alette dies in stead? nobody dies? both die?

Whoever takes the shot is who dies. So either Rook or Alette can die. IMO I think its more of an emotional impact if Alette dies. Its his daughter and he sees that she is growing up dealing with these terrible circumstances and he decides he'll let her do this now and she dies because of it.

01-16-2014, 07:03 AM
Prior to starting my first playthrough, I had forgotten that this was part of a trilogy or something.
That said, I enjoyed my time through it, and I enjoyed the ending.

I do agree that an animated cutscene would be great, esp. the events leading to, and after, Bellower.
The boat crossing into darkness and into that...other place. That was great, IMHO. The characters, standing before the boat, being "fully animated" before that point, tho', would've been a nicer touch.
With such an Amazing art style/quality, I can't help but wish for more animation.
Enhanced Edition content for later, Stoic? ;)

I also agree with the sentiment of having an expanded denouement. It doesn't feel too abrupt, for me (it's probably the pacing of the whole boat scene, I guess), but I'd like some more info, too, particularly about the other members of your party/caravan. :)

In any case, I'll be looking forward to more news, esp. about future installments. I'm definitely glad I backed this. :)
(also, where's my digital art book? :P )

01-16-2014, 07:37 AM
just a question, heavy spoilers btw!

Does Rook dead is scripted? does he dies even if it is Alette who takes the shot, if not, what happens? Alette dies in stead? nobody dies? both die?
Alette dies instead, yes.

01-16-2014, 09:32 AM
Wow, cool thoughts everyone :)

Glad I can finally chime in now that the game is out! Been itching to discuss since I got to give the game a go over a few times for playtesting/QA

1. Funny you mention that roder, that was exactly the suggestion I made for the leadup. I too think it would have crystallized the relationship with the characters more. However, maybe too much of this would have been awkward as well. I'd probably do this in a way that you can speak to part of your remaining characters (not everyone) and that final talk is both elucidating in itself, and maybe gives you some final bonus (maybe an item custom to that character or something). Maybe it can be even more meaningful, (since Iver, Alette and Rook are required), talking to people could be the way to bring them into that final fight with Bellower.

2. My personal take on the ending. I really liked the ending itself. For me it achieved giving the game finality, there is a clear conclusion to the journey of your protagonist/s. Death is almost always a very definitive conclusion. That's it, his/her story is over (whether presented abruptly and with no significance or extended with drama or meaning). While at the same time it raised a lot of questions. What exactly did we see? What did we hear? Where is that? Was that truly...the end? Juno's words on why she picked Rook out of everyone, also subtly and (hopefully) cleverly seem to foreshadow something.

3. Now my own issue with the last part of the game isn't that ending scene. It's actually with the presentation or framing of the ending. For me there wasn't quite enough build up to it, and the climax was sort of lacking in effect. Not much build up - I think that's pretty clear, dialogue is a bit sparse at the end compared to the care for characterization and pacing given to the first 2-3 chapters of the game. Some things for me could have also had a HUGE effect on the emotion and impact of the entire sequence:
- A scream/shout when Bellower does his thing...not just the silent bone crunch (which was for me a bit flat)
- Everyone reacting once you hit phase 2, not just Rook/Alette. It doesn't even have to be at the same time, but you'd think they'd say something and not just fight on silently.
- A clearer/more evident reaction after the battle from what just happened. I can't help feeling that this bit was rushed. You've been on a grueling journey for months (100-200 days), held fast together as you trudged through the frozen wastes, fought shoulder to shoulder against man, giant and dredge, weathered what should veritably be the end of the world, and been at the head of the caravan in some way (this is clear as Rook, only clear as Alette if you let Ekkil tag along) and...well...only 1 person really affected by this final blow.

Maybe that's something we're supposed to mull over. With the end of the world, maybe there isn't time for drama, but I'm not exactly sure the lead up was set up well and paced to hit that really emotional and wonderful ending scene.

4. Yea I was already dying to ask for an enhanced/expanded TBS, which is crazy cos it just got launched XD. That ending...Perfect thing to have like a follow up scene after the credits no? Well lotsa room for teasers in between this and chapter 2 (cross fingers for crazy good sales).

Yea someone mentioned it, but I had very early suggested the travel sequences as video for the credits roll :p Alas, twas not to be.

01-16-2014, 10:53 AM
I don't like being forced to use a character I don't want in my team/haven't levelled at all. While we are at it - I didn't enjoy loosing both BackBiter and SiegeArcher right after I promoted them to level 3 (there could be some renown refund).

I didn't enjoy the ending and the final fight. Don't know if it's because of the above, Juno ex Machina, Juno shouting at You the whole fight, Überdredge forcing the pace, Rook Stark getting oneshoted or the sudden cut. Can't really put my finger on it but it definitely left me feeling there should be something more, something better.

That being said I'm already starting another playthrough with some of the silly achievements in mind. And I really loved the overall experience. Well worth the investment.

Very good dis. Any more?

01-16-2014, 12:41 PM
Very cool reads, now that I've had a second to hit the forums, thanks all!

PS. Don't listen to Strange_Raven, he's just a hater.

01-16-2014, 12:50 PM
Just finished the game myself and I really enjoyed the game from start to finish. I'm happy to have learned that this was just the first saga of three. Hopefully Stoic will have enough success to make similar games as the PC market/gaming in general could really use some more tactical turn-based games.

While the game could be improved in many areas and I'm sure a lot of people have different ideas as to what more/less they would like to see of the next game, I didn't find myself to have much to complaint about at all. The only thing that did bother me slightly was the end fight, much like Rensei above me said, I don't like being forced to use a character i don't want in my team (I hadn't leveled Alette at all). At the very least I think if you need to force characters in the group, you should introduce that game mechanic early on, not at the very last battle as that can just be frustrating.

My end party looked like this (also turn order): Hakon (5), Mogr (5), Tryggvi (4), Rook (5), Alette (1) & Oddleif (5). I finished the game on normal, which netted me 27 out of the 39 steam achievements. I backed up my save game folder before starting my 2nd run, which also brings me to the following question. Will the 2nd part of The Banner Saga, once out, use our save game files?

I really wouldn't mind some end game stat screen, that summarized a lot of interesting facts from my play through, such as number of battles, renown earned, supplies bought/earned, characters lost/gained. Anyway great game, plenty of things one could discuss, just wanted to say I really enjoyed it and look forward to buying the next part of the saga.

01-16-2014, 01:43 PM
The problem for me with the ending is that the ending is very suitable for a first part in three, but ultimately falls really flat if The Banner Saga will be the only release in the series. Maybe you guys are just teasing us of the unlikelyhood of a sequel, but the uncertainty of a sequel makes the aftertaste of the ending very sour.

01-16-2014, 03:20 PM
I really liked the ending. I thought it was thematically in line with the rest of the game; you defeated a Sundr (and seemingly the most powereful one), but it doesn't feel like victory because you lose someone important. The final cutscene is also beautifully animated.

01-16-2014, 05:51 PM
The final scene/animation was fantastic. I really liked it. And there's a lot of discussion about symbolism there. But, that can probably wait for when all have seen it! :) Also, in the final chapter, that city under siege atmosphere was so well done. I particularly liked the "more dredge showing up each day" doomsday clock for the city. Heck, I would have dramatized the situation even more, e.g. having Dredge break into the city, widespread battles there etc. Bellower boss fight was awesome too. That guy was really OP, with his "passive" abilities (regeneration at round #1 and queue-shifting at round #2) and all. That just made me wish for more boss fights along the game :rolleyes:

Now, here comes the whining :) So, things started to get "disproportional" when Juno & Hakon's caravan shows up. I expected some sort of salvation, in the lines of "we can now hold longer", but instead it turned out even worse, like "this suicide mission is our last hope". That scene with Rook & Juno going on a small-caravan to steal some silver off a Godstone... That wasn't quite so supported even if the scene was very well executed, from a visual perspective. Then, crafting the arrow and deciding who's gonna carry it... If both Alette & Rook were to go into the battle, why is there so much drama about who is carrying the arrow? I mean, they talk as if he who fires the arrow is he who's gonna die. But, it ain't so; they are ALL gonna die. An technical issue about the boss fight: why is the unit's (Rook or Alette) active ability "replaced" by the silver arrow ability? I'd have expected a Mender-like implementation of dual ability... Furthermore, that build up previous posters discussed. How did it come to that Bellower fight? I'd have expected more Dredge pressure on the town/heroes, e.g. even harder "Gate battles", that would lead to that heroic exodus, as a truly desperate move. This Juno's prophecy ("I know this will work; can't explain; if it works we're saved; so, lets get over this asap") didn't seem so well balanced. I'd have expected her to be more reluctant to try the suicide mission and/or higher cost (because it wasn't granted that one character would die). Dunno, that "trusting the Juno solution, blindly" was a little contradicting to the make-your-choices theme of the game, imo... Finally, I found the scene with the proving-grounds "arena", filled with Dredge spectators, a little weird too.

In overall, I agree with most of the Hater's (Strange_Raven :)) points about the ending. I don't know. The main problem is that it felt like toooo much stuff was squeezed into Chapter 7, and that they were weakly supported simply because it was just too much. Don't get me wrong, I love the game. Perhaps it's that I am so fond of it (and you guys for making it) that I can't help but look at all that unexplored potential. :rolleyes:

+1 to Saga Extended Edition ;)

01-16-2014, 06:00 PM
= Finally, I found the scene with the proving-grounds "arena", filled with Dredge spectators, a little weird too.

Juno explains that she's holding the Dredge back with her mind control powers, and urges you to hurry during the battle because she doesn't know how much longer she can hold them off.

01-17-2014, 08:26 PM
Do they say anywhere that this was meant to be an episodic game or something? LITERALLY NOTHING PERTAINING TO THE GREATER STORY GETS RESOLVED!

Yes, the game was always announced as a three parter. Same as with Fractions, which upset some backers greatly when it got released (because some people like to just get upset on the internet, even happens to the best of us on occasion), this was announced from the start. Later on they said every backer that payed 50$+ would get all three games. - I do admit that a normal PreOrder Customer might not have been able to see this because itīs not stated as clear as it was on the Kickstarter. (if at all)
As for the Story, i understand that in a time were every movie or game that has somewhat of budget needs to save the world itīs strange for some people that a Story is this "local". But if you look at it this is a Story about how the Dredge suddenly are in the area and how you deal with it. Essentially thats all it is, you have to run from home, gather more and more people with the same problem and in the end are able to fight a war against this thread and win it. I am certain you will get to save part of the world by the end of game three in 2-4 years from now. Thats still better than the wait between Star Wars Episodes 5 and 6. ;)

As for the ending itself… i donīt even know if we saw the same thing or if there are multiple endings… i had Alette shoot the Arrow and she got killed in the aftermath. I was happy with the two Images and her final trail besides the normal dialogue poses. The only point in game were i wished there had been an image was when i tore down something after the option/necessity had been build up for several days in game and i only got text.

Proper hand drawn Animation is the most expensive and time consuming way to create film, even Disney only did 12 images per second if i recall correctly. I know there could always be more, especially if it looks this amazing. But even if this game sells exceptionally well i highly doubt there will be much more in the two sequels.

01-17-2014, 09:18 PM
I think the game feels complete and provides an engrossing story from start to finish. Stoic were very clear about this being the first chapter in a planned trilogy (maybe they should have made it more clear for people outside the Kickstarter, though).

Regarding the ending I feel a little ambivalent, it does feel sudden and lacking a bit more buildup, on the other hand I liked the siege situation and it did feel like a valid point to end the game to me. So the game is not perfect of course, I also think it would have benefited from a couple more dialogue scenes with the main characters as you travel, and with having some follow-ups to big events (the baby dredge for example!). Especially dialogue scenes where NPCs act, react and comment upon your choices or the caravan's status. Having NPCs acknowledge you in this way goes a long way in making the player feel their choices matter, that NPCs are real people and be invested in the story.

The change of perspective from one character to another felt largely awkward and not organic at all. The worst one was when we first leave Rook, I was just really getting into his story only to be awkwardly yanked away to a different place and put in control of a new character (Hakon) that I had barely registered while playing yet another character (Ubin). To top it off, when we return to Rook we are in the middle of a fight against Ekkil that to the player doesn't make any sense at all. Later, Hakon's side of the story gets dropped heavily, the Prince also gets dropped alongside, they just turn up and join Rook as if they are simply a couple random NPCs. We need more acknowledgement via NPCs and the transition between playable characters could have used more work it seems to me so that we've reached a satisfying momentum before leaving them.

But you know, every game has problems, in all I think we did get what we paid for and what Stoic said they were creating. For a small team with limited resources, to me it seems like they delivered. Hopefully for the sequels they'll have the time/resources available to invest more time in fleshing the story, dialogue, endings, etc.

01-17-2014, 10:39 PM
maybe just add a Chapter 8, and let us talk to the rest of the party, how they feel about Rook/Alette's death and what are we going to do about dredge/Sundr/Serpent/darkness. needs at least some resolve :D the last animation scene was powerful and beautiful, my mind was racing with questions during the entire scene because I was like: wow, Alette died, what are we going to do now that we've defeated Bellower, who is going to stay together (is Hakon going to travel with Rook or return to varlland), how is my party members going to react to such a blow (e.g. Egil, Odd), how is Rook going to change and act, whilst still continuing to lead this caravan, when am I going to meet the serpent along the way, will Juno be in my party now, and how is the....*CREDITS ROLL* ...."WAIT. WHAT!!!!!" (my actual words after credits showed)

And maybe stoic would consider a DLC continuous travel mode, or new game plus, where you take whatever members you have left and continue on an oregon trail mode, just battle after battle and sometimes markets/random events. hehe I am really pushing for a DLC! cant wait for chapter 2 though

01-18-2014, 12:56 AM
Imo people don't get that the main point of this first chapter is about rook and alette struggling to survive.

The buildup was a bit lacking, true. It seems to me that the budget/time ran short after they finished the bridge part. And as they needed to build the Iver character as well as the juno character we ended up with this one. Still, suitable enough for stoic's ambition on the project. Every aspect except the conclusion and the purpose of the caravan size was very well done.

01-18-2014, 02:47 AM
Juno ex machina is stupid :P
She comes back from dead and is like "I will save You", then takes 5 minutes of Your time explaining how exactly will she sacrifice Rook to take all the credit and why do they need saving in the first place.
She is like Gandalf the White, without the Grey part - not likeable at all.

01-18-2014, 11:56 AM
I think part of the reason the ending feels "flat" or forced or a bit of a let down is the fact that Rook and Alette are never really established in an obvious way as the main characters. Yes, you spend the most time with them but the game doesn't start with them and even after you play as them the first time, it switches back to the other group.

Personally, I was under the impression Hakon's group was the main one for those same reasons. Also the fact he had the Prince of Men with him and the biggest army. It left me with an "unfinished" feeling in the last seige because I learned nothing about where the other group went or what they did or how they really came upon Juno. Rook's group struck me as the side characters that stood a worse off chance of making it and thus, were a compelling side story but not the main one.

It could have just been my perception but like I said, I feel like it was hard to feel satisfied with the closing of Rook/Alette, when I didn't get anything close to that with the other 10+ people in my Caravan and the people whom I assumed had more to lose, IE: The Varl who stood to be completely wiped out in that battle.

01-18-2014, 02:18 PM
Imo people don't get that the main point of this first chapter is about rook and alette struggling to survive.

The buildup was a bit lacking, true. It seems to me that the budget/time ran short after they finished the bridge part. And as they needed to build the Iver character as well as the juno character we ended up with this one. Still, suitable enough for stoic's ambition on the project. Every aspect except the conclusion and the purpose of the caravan size was very well done.

Yeah, I loved the overall experience and all that, but I can't shrug off the feeling/impression that, yeah, budget/time constraints have a role to play in how the ending portion was handled.
- I loved the funeral scene, but it could've been better (i.e., fully animated sequence before that. Also, cutscenes for the Bridge, before the fight w/ Bellower and after).
- the ending feeling rather abrupt. an improved/proper denouement portion, please. :)
- yeah, more character development would be nice. I mean, the initial art material had a lot of Juno in it, if memory serves, so much so that after we left her for dead, I kinda assumed she would come back somehow.
- yup. build-up for some parts were lacking. the final siege could've been drawn out more, IMHO: a cutscene or two, lots more conversations, etc.

So, yeah, I loved it, as I've already mentioned here and elsewhere, but there's definitely room for improvement (lol, reviewing this post and my previous one on this thread, and it's basically just a reiteration...meh)

Enhanced Edition-style stuff, please. :P
No rush, I can wait. :P

01-19-2014, 08:37 AM
Regarding who was the main/side group I always thought that it was the story of two parties, that neither was the main and that they would join together and possibly split into different combinations. I thought that Ubin would be the primary storyteller and that most of the story was from his POV as he is literally the only one recording the events that take place.

It wasn't until we met up with Hakon/Ludin again that I felt that Rook/Iver/Alette were the main party. Rather than playing out the Hakon/Ludin story up to the siege they just show up. That was a shame, but I still feel like they could very well be the focal point of the next part of the saga.

Rook and Alette were the focus of part one, they stopped the Bellower but who is to say that Ludin and Hakon aren't going to face their own test or sacrifice.

Obviously more cut scenes would have helped flesh out the story even further especially in the final chapter.

With all that said, what I really want are modding tools! Stoic is a three man team but if they give the community mod support with the disclaimer that whatever content we make they may choose to use in-game for credit not pay. I doubt they would have a problem adding another name to the credits.

You crowd sourced your funding now crowd source some asset creation! I want to make some side quests, custom items, palette swaps and maybe even characters!

01-19-2014, 01:22 PM
I don't think that the ending feels rushed. During the whole story, the situation becomes more and more critical and desperate, concluding with the siege and the final battle. I felt an abrupt feeling of loosing control (storywise), rather than a rushed second part of the story arc. And conversations after the death of Rook or Alette would only dissipate its impact.
I agree that some characters or events were not enough developed, but then again it's just the first part of a trilogy.

01-24-2014, 04:05 PM
First playtrough done. Despite some little issues, i must really say... best spended 20 Euros sinces years. And iīm still sitting here and think about a second part and when it will be out arrrrghs. No really, the story itself, how it unfolds and all the plot-twists and open plotstrings are really intressting. I could even live with this ending, if it will have really second part. Because thats the reason why the ending itself was so short, right...right? Please say yes pppleeease oh god i couldntlivewithoutasecondpaaaaart! Nah but really, i had to do the endboss fight in easy mode too. Tryed a hour on normal... no chance. And i must really say i hope you plan a second part, otherwise the ending would have been a disapointment. At the moment it feels more like the cliffhanger after i left the cinema, watching the hobbit 2 :P

Only small things that was a bit dissapointing. To few voice overs, and some more cutscenes would have increased the storyfeeling in my opinion. Real cutscenes, like the one at the beginnin. The Idear to show the capitol of the Varl destroyed with that slideshow, nice. And then again, i wondered why you didnt use the same method when our heros climbed the tower and make a "slideshow" up to show the horizon full of an dredge army, as example. But honestly, you can only argue about that maybe some of the scenes could have been better like more voice, cutscene or dramatic elements, still it doesnt change the fact that it is a great game, a great expierence and i really hope to see more of the bannar saga in the furure, either as DLC or as a second part (i would prefer a second part ^^).

02-09-2014, 06:45 AM
Altough i suppose they have to keep the story open for more chapters, i think that they should have left you with the choise of any of the archers at your disposal.

Espesially given that "Nid" is supposed to be a master archer which just makes it plain stupid to choose anyone else.

I also think they should have scripted it so that the arrow shooter dies only if he/she is within Bellowers movement range, played through the fight a couple of times to check if this worked. It did not.

Overall a very gripping game, looking forwards to the next chapter, although the ending completelly ruined replays for me.
Just feels like the choises i make doesnt have a big enough impact, too bad.

Should also say i wasted all my recources on supplies for the caravan. Keeping them alive turned out to give me absolutelly nothing of value.. nothing i say! ..rabble rabble..

02-10-2014, 09:18 AM
I don't know... I think someone dying at the end will be important to the story... if the gods are gone or silent... what happens to the souls of the dead? The second chapter might give some perspective of what's going on from that side of the reality. I'm still not certain if Juno was originally talking to the serpent in the realm of the dead or on the top of Ridgehorn. From what the serpent says, it seems that it acknowledges that Juno is dead. (if you select the response: "The Gods are dead." He'll reply with, "Are you a god then?")