After eight years of development that TaleWorlds Entertainment described as “blood, sweat, and tears,” Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord launched today on Steam Early Access.
That’s a day ahead of schedule, with TaleWorlds citing a “pretty ideal time to release a game” in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and widespread lockdown measures forcing many to stay home.
The decade-long wait for a sequel to 2010’s Mount & Blade: Warband has seemingly not deterred fans – at least if player count is anything to go by.
Currently, there are no less than 168,026 concurrent Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord players on Steam. The number is likely to surge even higher as more North American players jump in this afternoon.
The figure has catapulted the newly released game into the very exclusive “top ten games by current player count” list. Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord now sits alongside illustrious company that includes perennial Steam mainstays Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2, PUBG, and Grand Theft Auto V.
Paralleling this success, Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord was briefly the most-watched game on Twitch, with a staggering 229,000 concurrent viewers (down to 182,000 at press time). It currently trails only the Just Chatting category (265,000) and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (204,000).
The appetite for Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord is undoubtedly a surprise given the ten-year gap between releases and the fact that the build is very much in an unfinished, early access state.
As TaleWorlds says:
And while there is definitely plenty of content for players to dive into and enjoy, we must be clear in reminding you that this is an Early Access release. There may be bugs and glitches, there will certainly be balancing issues, some features may be missing or currently disabled, and certain aspects of the game might not receive full-support until later down the line.
The game is currently available for 10% off. This may have factored into the impressive sales as gamers reckon with the impact of the coronavirus on personal finances. A price cut, however small, is a boon in these uncertain times.
But more likely, the vast number of people stuck at home means there’s an audience eager for and ready to jump into Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord.
Steam itself has broken record after record this year, surging past the 23 million concurrent user mark multiple times last week.