The Banner Saga—that beautiful strategy game made by ex-Bioware devs—is releasing sometime later this year. But you can play the multiplayer segment of the game right now, if you want. It's out on Steam, on its own—for free, to boot. Check out the launch trailer above.

I'm a big fan of this move. In fact, I wish more games did it, because there's plenty of franchises that I buy solely for the multiplayer (most shooters, actually). I'm sure there's no shortage of people who buy games solely for the single player, too. What if we could buy only exactly what we're interested in? What if we could buy just the multiplayer portion of a game, for example?

I can't help but muse on that and how it would hypothetically work for other franchises, especially when you consider that so much about games and their payment models is being turned on its head of late. Some triple-A titles have experimented with it already, but not many. I'm betting we'll see more of what The Banner Saga is doing here; more games that segment the experience (but, continue to offer it as a 'whole', too.)

Regardless of how plausible it is for more games to do the same, you can go play The Banner Saga: Factions—the multiplayer standalone of The Banner Sagahere, right now, if you want. Sweet deal.