Dev Blog #90: Retirement

Following up to last week’s dev blog about ambitions, this week we’re taking a look at the second upcoming feature that’s there to give your campaigns more purpose and in this case also closure: retirement. Let’s find out what that’s about!


As mentioned last time, different players approach the game differently. For some, the journey is the reward, and the game doesn’t ever have to end. Others want to work towards a goal and then have definite closure to their game. We’re introducing the ability to retire from your company so that you can end your campaign, and have that closure, at any time of your choosing. The game won’t ever just end as you defeat an end game crisis, like the Greenskin Invasion, but it will only end when you choose to end it, or everyone is dead. Depending on the state you leave your company and the world in, and the ambitions you have or have not fulfilled, you’ll be presented with one of five different outcomes to your retirement. If you’ve already played Battle Brothers, you can probably imagine that not all of them are happy ends.


The image above is the illustration for one of those five endings, and it’s accompanied by a short bit of text recounting your exploits and telling you how the company continued to fare without your leadership. Does the company still exist? Who is their new captain? How is the company doing? All these depend on the state you leave your company in as you retire, and the more successful your campaign, the better the ending you get when you finally finish it.

Take a look at the video to see the painting process of the illustration in a time-lapse video of a few minutes, accompanied by an entirely new music track we’ll be adding to the game with the next update. It’s the second track that plays when fighting against a noble house in tactical combat – which may be happening more often now that a feud between nobles can escalate to open war as one of the three late game crises. If you want to listen to more music of Battle Brothers, you can do so on the SoundCloud page of Breakdown Epiphanies here.


Dev Blog #89: Ambitions

This week we’re talking ‘ambitions’, a new feature and part of the overarching campaign goals as announced on our roadmap to the finish line. What are ambitions and how do they work? Read on!


Battle Brothers is a game about leading a mercenary company. It’s also an open world game that relies heavily on replayability. When it comes to introducing overarching goals to the game, then, a linear story would quickly conflict with replayability, and any story straying from the mercenary narrative would quickly feel artificial and conflict with what the game is supposed to be about. Maybe you care about saving the world or the fate of some princess, maybe you don’t, but it’s for you alone to make that call, and we don’t want to force you into a story that may not align at all with how you want to play a game that should be about your mercenary company. Indeed, the one constant in every campaign, and the one constant for everyone enjoying the game, is building up your own mercenary company, and that’s why this is and will be the overarching goal of the game.

We’ll be introducing 3 different aspects to support this further and give you more sense of purpose, progression and challenge; ambitions, the ability to finish your campaign by retiring from your company, and late game crises. Each of these will be covered in detail in the weeks to come with their very own dev blogs, and we’re starting things off by taking a look at the first of these aspects today: ambitions.


Not surprisingly, players approach the game quite differently. While some easily motivate themselves to build up their company and pick up challenges on their own for dozens of hours, if not more, others crave for being provided with more direction and structure. We’re introducing ambitions as mid-term milestones for you to work towards on the path of forging a legendary company in a way that fits the game’s narrative and lets you earn unique rewards.


After the first few days of a new campaign, you’ll now be prompted to choose the first ambition out of many to come. This is framed as you gathering the men and giving an inspirational speech on what to do next, because the men care about the company succeeding as much as you do. As their commander, however, it falls onto you to choose the path that the company is to take, and we always want to give you multiple options to choose from. The ambitions you can choose from vary with the state of your company, the world, and the ambitions you’ve already fulfilled. The current ambition is then always shown to you on the worldmap, and the tooltip will offer additional information on how to fulfill it and what reward to expect.


In the beginning, ambitions are more small-scale and somewhat tutorial-esque, like getting the company to a strength of a dozen men, or gathering crowns to have a battle standard made. As the game progresses, ambitions transition to more mid-term goals, and eventually things like stopping a greenskin invasion to leave a mark in history. Fulfilling an ambition will raise the mood of the men, raise your renown (which works differently now – more on that in a future dev blog!), and often comes with unique rewards you can’t otherwise attain. For example, the ambition to have a battle standard made will reward you with a unique item based on your company’s banner to take into combat, while another may change your look on the worldmap.


If you fail to fulfill an ambition for a prolonged time, however, the men may lose confidence in your leadership, and their mood will suffer. Being a good mercenary commander also means making good on what you promise to the men.


Dev Blog #88: The Key Visual

This week we present to you our final key visual for Battle Brothers and dive a bit into the visual evolution of our game over the last four years. Why did we create a completely new artwork and why does it look the way it does? Find out!

The visual evolution of Battle Brothers

Battle Brothers has come a long way since its conception and has seen some significant changes in development. It started as a hobby into which we invested many an evening on top of our day jobs, and turned into our full time jobs. The original art assets had to be created in short sessions late at night, and as we gained the means to invest more and more time into the game, we eventually redid most of the assets in order to bring them up to a higher standard of quality. As the game design evolved, so did the art style from a light-hearted comic approach to a somewhat more serious and gritty, but still exaggerated one.

The different iterations of both the key visual and ingame assets illustrate the changes over time pretty well.


Why do a new key visual?

The key visual is of some importance for the success of the game, as parts of it are used all over; in the game itself, on Steam, on our website, in social media and as press material. It’s what catches a potential player’s attention first, so it really has to get people interested to learn more. Many of you want the development of Battle Brothers to continue beyond its initial release, and for this to work out, we need the game to be a success, which the key visual plays a part in.

So what’s wrong with the old key visual and why did it need to be redone? There are a couple of points we wanted to address.

Quality – The previous artwork lacks in overall quality. It’s more than two years old already and has been painted over countless short late-night sessions.

Design – The character looks don’t match our ingame assets anymore, raising memories of back when box cover art showed things not even in a game. Some characters also have a certain ‘knightly’ vibe about them, which may lead to wrong expectations for players. Finally, it still looks kind of light-hearted and the enemies are borderline cute, which is more commonly associated with casual mobile games and not a complex and challenging game like Battle Brothers.

Composition – Now we’re getting to the core of what’s wrong with the old artwork. It’s never a good idea to have a center-focused composition in a landscape format picture, especially if you need some space to show your logo. This puts you in a position where your main character and your logo have to compete for space and attention on the canvas.


Guiding the eye is very important in any artwork to help the observer find the focus point and not get lost while exploring the picture. As you can see, we used a variety of elements to emphasize the focus on the main character in our old key visual. Unfortunately, this absolutely excludes the logo from holding any meaningful position in the picture.


The Solution

Here is what we came up with to remedy all the above issues and add a good amount of additional awesomeness on top: the final key visual of Battle Brothers.


As you can see, the rendering quality of the picture is a lot better now. The whole picture features a broader format and an off-center focus, creating a more dynamic and visually pleasing composition. Additionally, a lot of space has been freed up to place the new Battle Brothers lettering where it doesn’t collide with the main characters. Designs are inspired by actual ingame assets, and the characters look more like mercenaries now and less like knights. The whole atmosphere is more serious and less light-hearted, while still retaining an over-the-top heroic battle style.

Another important point is that the landscape setup facilitates easier creation of header graphics and other assets for secondary websites like Steam, Twitter, Facebook and Youtube. To complete the visual rework of our assets, the Battle Brothers logo also got an overhaul.


Everything could be improved further, of course, but that’s always the case. We’re quite happy with our new artwork, so it’s time to move on to the next important items on our todo-list. Next week we’ll take a look at a new worldmap mechanic!


Dev Blog #87: Ghoul Rework

With the rework of all things skeleton done, we’ve moved on to do the last enemy rework announced in our roadmap to the finish line – that of the ghoul. He’s got new looks, new mechanics, a few lore changes and even a new name. Let’s find out more!
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Dev Blog #86: The Ancient Dead, Part II

This week we conclude our presentation of the ancient dead with the reimagined vampire and an entirely new opponent. If you haven’t read the first part yet, it’s recommended you do so here first. Otherwise, read on!
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Dev Blog #85: The Ancient Dead, Part I

We’ve put to rest the old skeletons only to resurrect them as the ‘ancient dead’. This week we’re taking a tour through their new lore, weapons and armor, fighting style and enemy types. Let’s delve in!
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