Over the past weeks a lot of the same questions emerged regarding Battle Brothers and all of its aspects. We thought it would be helpful for many to compile them here with our answers so that you don’t have to traverse all the internet to find them yourselves.
In this article we feature just a small selection of these questions. You can find the full FAQ on our new subpage here: FAQ
If you have any questions not covered here, feel free to head to our forums or to leave a comment!
Q: How is the development of Battle Brothers funded and what are your future plans?
Right now we are funding the development out of our own pockets and most of us work on the game in our spare time. Here’s a quick overview of our future plans in chronological order:
1. Steam Greenlight campaign – we will start this step as soon as our trailer is finished, probably in September 2014.
2. A possible Kickstarter campaign by November 2014. If Kickstarter decides to come to Germany, that would make the process a lot easier.
3. Early Access to fund further development by the end of 2014 or early 2015.
4. Full game release sometime at the middle of 2015 via digital distribution plattforms.
Q: Is the game a sandbox or does it have a linear progression with a beginning and end?
Battle Brothers will have a completely open world which doesn’t restrict the player to go anywhere based on story progress, but only on being able to survive. Concerning progression, the game will have a beginning and an end given by the general setting, loosely framed within a narrative related to one of several “greater evils”. There’ll also be several milestones along the way, though they don’t necessarily have to be completed in linear sequence or at all. We won’t have forced and repetitive story missions that conflict with our open world gameplay or get in the way of replayability. However, the ultimate goal of every campaign will be to destroy the source behind the “greater evil” and stop the invasion. At some point the player will have to face the enemy or see the land get swept away.
Q: Will there be magic for the Battle Brothers like spells or enchanted items?
The player won’t be able to command a magic-user in the sense of a wizard or similar. However, there will be some items with magical properties to be found in the world. They’ll be rare and hard to get, but some will come with unique active skills that allow for otherworldly feats. In addition, some enemies also drop crafting materials (e.g. vampire dust) which can be crafted into a variety of accessory items, sometimes with magical properties.
Generally, we want to keep things down to low power fantasy and promote a certain asymmetry between the player and the opponents in the game; Battle Brothers will always be common humans in a pseudo-medieval setting that sometimes have to go up against non-human and supernatural foes. It is for this reason also that we try to avoid skills for the player that feel clearly unrealistic and superpowery (e.g. shooting 3 arrows at once) to keep things grounded a bit.
Strategic Worldmap Questions
Q: How many Battle Brothers will be in the party at maximum?
A: The roster will hold around two dozen or so Battle Brothers of which 12 can participate in a single tactical battle at a time. Brothers will get wounded in battle and take time to heal, so there should always be enough replacements available. Also, they tend to die very easily. The player has to consider that all Brothers will consume money and food constantly, though, so the bigger the roster of backup troops, the higher the maintenance.
Q: What other factions beside the undead will be in the game?
A: Besides the undead, we currently plan on including the following enemy factions in the base game. In the future, we might add more.
Bandits – Basically human opponents of all sorts that use hideouts as base of operations and will try to attack and raid caravans and villages.
Orcs and Goblins – We’ll have our own interpretation of the classic greenskins with some special twists.
Beasts – Werewolves and other mythological creatures roaming the world. Inspiration for these is often drawn from folklore and myths so you will definitely see a lot of unknown and interesting creatures here.
Q: Are there any non-combat skills like crafting?
Yes, on the strategic worldmap there will be crafting all sorts of items, from common equipment to accessories with magical properties out of ingredients obtained from slain enemies. Crafting and other non-combat activities will be done by so-called followers, not your Battle Brothers. Followers are sort of an entourage dedicated to the auxiliary and logistical tasks of a pseudo-medieval mercenary company. They are separate from the fighting force and can not engage in battles themselves. There will be a variety of them, like a hunter providing food while traveling or a monk helping the wounded Brothers to heal faster. Your party can only support a limited amount of these followers, so you’ll have to decide which ones to hire for your mercenary trek based on what best fits your overall strategy.
Q: Will there be an ironman mode and what is done against “save scumming” to make it viable?
We plan on including an ironman mode. While the game punishes mistakes with individual Battle Brothers quite heavily, losing even most of your men does not mean you’ll have to lose the campaign. The player will often be able to recover from losses and defeat, especially in the beginning of the game. Since there are up to a dozen Battle Brothers in battle, and more than that in reserve, losing some of them won’t be as impactful as in e.g. the new X-Com game where there are just 6 men and where losing just one of them can be really crippling and send the player into a downwards spiral to lose the campaign later on.
We generally also try to avoid game mechanics that boil down to pure luck and which can be beat simply be reloading. Everything should be beatable with the right strategy from the start. For example, we don’t have critical hits that do massive unavoidable extra damage on completely unpredictable random occasions. Instead, in Battle Brothers, there is a 25% base chance to hit the head instead of the body for 50% extra damage. Essentially, we flattened the curve to make this less of a random game; combatants will do critical hits way more often, but also do less extra damage than in other systems. Enough to still be relevant, but in a way that is more predictable. Importantly, the player can also actively counter critical hits by equipping Battle Brothers with headgear.
If the player accepts that he or she can’t win every battle all the time and that sometimes fleeing from battle is the right option, we think the game should be very much completable in ironman mode. That certainly is our goal.
Tactical Combat Questions
Q: Is there a flanking or backstabbing mechanic?
Battle Brothers does not have a flanking mechanic per se. We toyed around with the idea, but two points irked us: A combatant in real life can turn around in a split second, so determining that any combatant would be attacked from the back only for the fact that he couldn’t turn around because it isn’t his turn currently seemed very artificial. Second, it would require a very clear indicator of what direction any character is currently looking at – in other words, we would have needed character busts for every one of six possible directions. Sadly, our resources are very limited, and we’d rather spend them on more important things.
What we came up with instead is the “overwhelm” mechanic. The more individual characters attack any defending character in close combat within a single round, the easier it gets for them to score a hit. Or in other words: We grant a to-hit bonus for each character that attacked a target previously in the current round. This way we simulate the difficulty of defending against multiple opponents that attack from multiple sides without the need for any fixed character headings.
Q: Will there be different kinds of tactical combat “missions” or “set-ups”?
Yes, we will have different flavors to how tactical battles start out, depending on how two opposing forces engage each other on the worldmap. For example, if one party ambushes the other, the ambushed party will start at a disadvantageous position (i.e. not in battle formation). If two parties engage each other head-on, they’ll generally start just opposite of each other in organized battle lines, similar to the “Line Battle” scenario of the combat demo. Attacking an enemy encampment before being detected, or coming to the aid of a village that is currently being raided, will have one party scattered all over the map and take a while to realize your presence. All of these starting conditions should feel slightly different to play, some going straight to a short and decisive battle and some supporting more of a careful approach of slow advance and exploration. We’ll try to find a good balance for the final game to keep tactical combat as varied as possible.
Q: Will the player be able to set up ambushes with archers and other ranged troops using some kind of overwatch system during tactical combat?
The player will definitely be able to set up ambushes – both on the worldmap and on the tactical map. The AI plays by the same rules of limited vision, line of sight and fog of war as the player (except for perhaps a few special enemies that have an in-lore justification not to). However, we won’t have an overwatch system like in X-Com; it wouldn’t work well with the initiative-based turn system we use.