The Banner Saga 3 is the 2018 sequel to The Banner Saga 2 and the conclusion to the Banner Saga Trilogy. It was developed by Stoic Studios and published by Versus Evil.
After a long journey, the caravan of Skogr has finally arrived at Arberrang, the capital of the kingdom of men, to make one final stand against the armies of dredge and darkness. Meanwhile, the legendary varl hero Iver and the enigmatic menders Juno and Eyvind commandeer the Ravens mercenary group to make a desperate journey into the heart of the darkness to save the world.
Warning: This page assumes that you have played the The Banner Saga, and The Banner Saga 2. Spoilers for those games will be unmarked.
This video game contains examples of the following tropes:
- Anyone Can Die: This installment really ups the ante with this trope to the point that even Rook/Alette can die right before the final act begins. If this happens, Oddleif becomes the viewpoint character for the rest of the story in Aberrang. There's even an achievement for beating the game with a low number of heroes alive.
- Bash Brothers: Petrus and Gudmundr become fast friends from fighting side by side and there's an achievement for having them fight in five battles together.
- Bears Are Bad News: If Eirik went back to Strand in the first game, he shows up here with the ability to summon a polar bear named Frost's Kiss, which will fight along with the party.
- Chekhov's Gunman: The dredge baby you could rescue in the first game. The Skogr caraven leader can return it to the dredge if it is still alive to create peace between dredge and humanity.
- The Corruption: The darkness. The dark void spawns warped versions of human, varl, and dredge units with special abilities that leave behind Warped Ashes, lowering your units' willpower while raising theirs'.
- Despair Event Horizon: After Ruin dies, the remaining dredge cease to attack Arberrang even though they still have the numbers to easily take the city. They just shamble around and sing a song of mourning for their doomed race.
- Do Well, But Not Perfect: Sort of. Gathering enough supplies and warriors can allow the player to finish the final part of the game without having to earn more time (see Timed Mission below), meaning they'll miss out on the story content of the Arberrang sections that would appear if they had struggled more, including the resolution of the Romance Sidequest. Of course, it's always possible to just wait in camp till your extra time is used up.
- Eldritch Abomination: There are massive, horrific beings existing in the inner earth, which have become even more twisted and incomprehensible since the darkness warped them. Juno defeats the Serpent by mindcontrolling one of these into attacking it.
- Eldritch Location: The darkness: the landscape is twisted and inhospitable, some rocks float, the sky is covered in a permanent night, and living creatures that go without a mender's protection for too long are warped into monsters. There's also the inner earth, the realm of the dredge, which is an alternate dimension located underground with its own sky. According to the menders, it was a bizarre place even before the Darkness took it.
- Fake Ultimate Hero: A sympathetic example. The Valka's great victory over the dredge during the Second Great War was a lie: in reality, the Valka gave the dredge the knowledge they needed to build a civilization with a purpose beyond killing in return for an end to the war. Since the Valka knew that humans and varl would never accept peace with the Dredge, they told the other races that they defeated the dredge in battle.
- The Hero Dies: Rook or Alette can be murdered by one of Rugga's assassins if they go out to negotiate with the dredge alone and do not have the dredge baby. In this situation, Oddleif becomes the new POV character of the Arberrang chapters.
- Irony: It turns out this apocalypse could be the thing that ultimately saves the world since the world eating Serpent was born early, and as large as it is, it is still not full grown. If Juno's plan is carried out, the Serpent is destroyed and won't be able to destroy the world as it was fated to do by the gods down the line. Of course, you gotta stop the apocalypse already in motion to benefit from this.
- Multiple Endings: The game has five endings:
- Convince Eyvind to go through with Juno's plan of sealing herself within the Black Sun to save the world. The sun is reborn, ending the darkness and killing the Serpent and all of the warped. The world is still in ruins, but the survivors will be able to rebuild. The Ravens are able to reunite with their friends in Arberrang, provided that the city has not fallen to darkness. However, Juno is trapped between life and death for all eternity.
- Kill Eyvind so he won't be able to make a deal with the Serpent and have Alfrun seal Juno instead. The sun is still reborn, the world is still saved, and the Darkness, Serpent, and warped are all destroyed, but since Alfrun is a less talented Mender than Eyvind, her version of the ritual kills her, Iver, and the Ravens in the process and Juno remains sealed away forever.
- Allow Eyvind to agree to the Serpent's deal. As agreed, the Serpent gives Juno the peace of death and releases half of the world from the darkness.
- Kill Eyvind while Alfrun is dead (which is only possible if you lose the final battle against Bolverk). With no way to revive the sun, the world is consumed by the Darkness. Juno wanders the world alone for all eternity.
- Tell Eyvind that Juno wouldn't have wanted him to make a deal with the Serpent after failing to convince him that the world is worth saving. Eyvind snaps and creates a magical explosion that kills everyone at the White Tower, including Juno. The world succumbs to Darkness.
- Nailed to the Wagon: Oli, once the Ravens eventually run out of meade for him to drink.
- Nostalgia Level: Chapter 19 takes place on the road between Vedrsfell and Ridgehorn, the same route traversed in Chapter 3 of the original game. The landscape has been twisted by darkness, but there are still several recognizable landmarks.
- No Ontological Inertia: Played with in the game's ending, depending on how the darkness is dispelled. If Juno is sealed into the new sun, all the twisted creatures turn to ash, but the landscape itself remains fractured.
- Philosophical Choice Endings: Once Iver makes it to the White Tower, all that's left to do is choose whether Juno's plan is carried out, and if so, who gets to do it.
- Scenery Gorn: Even as most of the continent turns into a dark, twisted hellscape, it's still quite pretty in its own way.
- Shout-Out: The achievement "I'm Being Repressed", with the description "Now we see the violence inherent in the system," obtained by beating Rugga to death after he kills King Meinolf, is a reference to Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
- Someone to Remember Him By: If Rook dies after he and Oddleif spend the night together, there are remarks in the ending that indicate she is pregnant.
- Super-Persistent Predator: Depending on how the final battle of the second game goes, Iver's band will be constantly chased by either Bolverk or the Bellower, depending on whether Bolverk was able to successfully remove the silver arrow from the Bellower's body. The Bellower is still chasing Iver in revenge for killing his lover Raze and their child and Bolverk is chasing the band to stop them from saving the world after he was revived and changed by the Serpent.
- Title Drop: Not for the game itself, but the epic poem Aleo writes consists entirely of the chapter titles of all three games.
- Timed Mission: The endgame: The game uses your total varl, fighters, clansman, and supplies, as well as how much effort you put into reinforcing Arberrang's walls, to determine how long Arberrang will be able to hold out against the Darkness while the Ravens are making their final push into the white tower. If this time limit elapses, the player must fight battles in Arberrang to buy the Ravens more time to finish their mission. If the game returns to Arberrang six times, then the city completely falls to Darkness and you get the worst ending.
- Together in Death: If Rook and Alette both die, the ending shows them reunited in the afterlife.