The Banner Saga 3 Overture


Review by · October 21, 2018

♫If you’re having preorder problems, I feel bad for you son; I got 99 problems, but getting exclusive preorder content ain’t one♫

For backers of The Banner Saga 3’s Kickstarter, as well as anyone who preordered the game digitally (PC or console), a special recording entitled “The Banner Saga 3 Overture” was released alongside the game. This track is not part of the game’s standard OST. It is, in fact, a medley arrangement by Austin Wintory, with his top team of musicians from the OST performing this lengthy medley. Overture was released to those who qualified for it via preorder as DLC, but that DLC is currently — perhaps permanently — exclusive to those who preordered the title.

One strange thing about this release: it came as a fully uncompressed digital .wav file. No metadata is included with the file, nor any artwork. However, composer Austin Wintory stated via his Facebook account that if digital artwork should be associated with it, the standard artwork from the OST should be used for this track (hence the artwork you see here).

I think the most enjoyable aspect of this medley is that, well-versed as I am with the OST material of Banner Saga 3 (and, really, all three games in the trilogy), I struggle to identify individual themes. They are layered together so well, and commonly re-used motifs serve as grounding/substantive melodies in one moment, then serve as ephemeral transitions from one movement to another in the next moment. It’s kind of crazy how Wintory can make anything work as everything … the trumpet can take lead for 15 seconds, then fade to background just as quickly and surprisingly as Rook switching from ranged to melee in the game’s combat.

To clarify: it’s not as if these strange and special musical techniques are void on the OST, but they are far more plentiful on this arrangement. This “Overture” serves as a sort of guided tour, a curated mini-experience of the full game. And, I can’t help but wonder, did Wintory or others working on the track make sure the piece ended with a total time of 13 minutes and 37 seconds? Because, if they did, that would certainly be 1337 (LEET / elite) of them! Oh, old-school H4X0R-speak, it does my heart good.

Again, as of the time of this review’s publication, “Overture” is not available for digital purchase. If you’d like to see that change, feel free to make direct appeals to Austin Wintory or Stoic Studio. Meanwhile, I think I’ll go ahead and play this medley another time, reminding me of the wild adventures I experienced as Rook, Alette, Iver, Oddleif, and so many others.

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Patrick Gann

Patrick Gann

Therapist by day and gamer by night, Patrick has been offering semi-coherent ramblings about game music to RPGFan since its beginnings. From symphonic arrangements to rock bands to old-school synth OSTs, Patrick keeps the VGM pumping in his home, to the amusement and/or annoyance of his large family of humans and guinea pigs.