Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden Interview – Gameplay, Length, Choices, and More

DON'T NOD's Stéphane Beauverger and Philippe Moreau shared some insightful details about Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden.

Don’t Nod Entertainment, the developers behind Life is Strange, Tell Me Why, Twin Mirror, and Vampyr, are making another new game in the form of Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden. Narrative and Creative directors Stéphane Beauverger and Philippe Moreau sat down with us at SegmentNext to talk about the game, starting off with its inspiration.

[SB] Since the core team of Banishers was approximately the same as Vampyr, we naturally aimed for a new historical-with-a-supernatural-twist setting for our next project. The idea was to take what really worked in Vampyr, and enhance what was not good enough. Hence the melancholic world of Banishers, where ghosts, specters, hauntings, and tragic stories abound. And, as people who played Vampyr may discover while playing this new game, it is not impossible that Banishers and Vampyr are actually set in the same universe 🙂

[PM] We also had the idea very quickly after Vampyr of creating a duo of star-crossed lovers. We wanted to make a dramatic love story as not many games have done it before. Something very intimate and powerful. We knew that players really enjoyed the romance between Jonathan Reid and Lady Ashbury in Vampyr, but we somehow felt frustrated to not have developed this side story further. So for Banishers we decided to put the couple at the very center of the experience.

Strong narratives and characters are a key part of any Don’t Nod game, so it’s no surprise that the studio would build on its story-writing experience for a new narrative, especially one that is also focused on the supernatural, as many of its other games were. According to Moreau, don’t Nod has also been taking it slow with this game’s development.

[PM] The game has been in development for 5 years. Starting right after Vampyr. 80 people on average worked on the game (with a peak of 100+ people during the end of production). Compared to other big AAA productions, we want to keep our dev teams at a reasonable human scale with a more limited budget, but with the ambition to create experiences which can compete with other narrative-driven A-RPG titles. We try to build on our strengths, our know-how, in a continuous process of creating better and better games. I hope you can feel the difference between Vampyr and Banishers!

Of course, fitting its name, Banishers has a way to work its actual title into the game itself, fittingly enough for a game that deals with ghosts and how to get rid of them. Since fighting ghosts is a big part of its title, Don’t Nod put a lot of effort into working out a way that makes sense. While talking about the “Banished” mechanic in the game, Beauverger said:

[SB] A Banisher is a trained ghost hunter. When trying to resolve a haunting case, he or she will have a few options when they’re about to close the case: release the ghost (inciting the spirit to gently leave the living, whatever the reason it remained and lingered), banish the ghost (force the spirit to leave since it won’t gently go), or blame the living (to appease the ghost, if the haunted person is finally considered guilty). During the fight, when fighting specters (hostile and vindictive spirits), you don’t have the time to investigate or chat with the attacking spirit: your only option as a Banisher is to Banish, meaning you strike the spirit with a powerful spiritual blow able to send it away for good, or at least hurt it a lot. This Banish move on the spot requires that the Banisher has filled their Banishing gauge before being able to deliver such a powerful hit.

And, according to Moreau and Beauverger, there’s a lot of stuff you can do with the Banishment gauge besides just banishing ghosts. Players will have a wide variety of ways they can put it to use in gameplay as well, even in regular combat.

[PM] It’s the “Banish” bar, which fills up every time you deal damage to an enemy. It’s a finishing move, dealing heavy damage to specters. You have the possibility to really build a strong playstyle around that gameplay element if you find the appropriate pieces of equipment and/or unlock specific skills. For example, with a special trinket, you can deplete your banish bar entirely when shooting with your rifle to create a huge amount of ranged damage!

There’s also a number of other different gameplay styles that you can use that don’t involve the Banish bar, either, including progression and skill trees much like the various powers players could get or not get while playing through Vampyr as they developed their vampiric powers.

[PM] Yes, the game features a unique skill-tree combining both Red and Antea’s abilities (since Red is “haunted” by Antea, it makes sense to create a 2-in-1 skill tree). The skill tree focuses on developing passive boosts for both characters or new gameplay functionalities such as the “perfect switch” (pressing the switch button at a specific moment while playing Red will trigger a unique signature move from Antea) and the “team assist” (Antea will automatically performs actions on screen while you play as Red). 

You also have access to pieces of equipment for both Antea and Red to create different kind of builds. Each piece of equipment has a unique perk with a strong embedded gameplay effect. For example, a set of weapons will allow you to regain health while defeating enemies with a heavy attack. This can completely change your playstyle, and, combined with the right skills in your skill-trees, it creates deadly combinations.

Finally you can also improve your equipment via a crafting system.

Gameplay isn’t the only thing characters can have an influence on, either. Don’t Nod’s games often have significant narratives that can change as players go through them, and Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden is no exception, as players guide protagonists Red and Antea through the story.

[SB] Just like Vampyr, or many other DON’T NOD games, players can expect to craft their own narrative experience through the story by taking many decisions which will influence the fate of individuals, of entire communities, or the fate of Red and Antea, the two main characters. Each time you decide to solve a haunting case by releasing/banishing/blaming one of the involved characters, each time you decide to support or accuse a community leader, each time you decide to feed the ghost of Antea with the Essence of a living character (just like in Vampyr, you could sacrifice a London citizen by drinking their blood), you generate minor or major consequences for the survivors. And without spoiling the end, players can expect five different outcomes for Red and Antea, depending on the pact they made and how they stuck to it.

With protagonist Antea being a ghost, how the player treats her in her mission to finish up whatever unfinished things she has in the land of the living is a vital part of the game’s storyline. Players will have their own morals put to the test as they come across various ways to deal with ghosts across the setting, with some choices even affecting the game’s ending.

[SB] As I was explaining above, after Antea’s death, Red and the ghost of Antea will have to make an oath: to let Antea go (to give her her Ascent) or to bring her back to life (by performing a dark ritual which involves the consumption of the Essence (=soul) of many alive settlers. The nature of the oath they made, and the way they stuck to it or betrayed that promise, will define the couple’s final fate.

[PM] Yes, we have designed the Haunting Cases (a.k.a side quests) so that the ending choices (the “Closures”) will always be morally ambiguous. The goal is to challenge the players on the oath they decided to follow at start. We really would like players to think about the choices they made and see how it reflects on the couple’s evolution. It’s completely possible to back away from your initial oath, and we have implemented specific endings that reflect this uncertain path.

Of course, with all of the Haunting Cases that the game is slated to have, players can expect a good amount of side content in the title, which will contribute to the game’s overall length should players choose to try and complete everything.

[PM] We have developed a semi-open world with different kinds of side content activities, all of them linked to your Banisher job. For example, there are Spectral Nest activities at different locations of the world that require to be cleaned by an expert Banisher. As Banishers have access to different kinds of Rituals, they can, by performing the correct one, force the spectral entities to manifest and confront them. 

There are lots of collectibles hidden in the world. Some of them require the help of Antea to be seen as they are invisible in the real world. 

Side quests (Haunting cases) are very important as it’s the only way to give Antea the resource she needs to ascend (Essence). After the ending choice of the side quests which require you to Sacrifice the living or Ascend or Banish a ghost, there is even specific content to extend the storyline and put a proper conclusion to the settler story. 

We tried to offer a really rewarding exploration experience overall, something people who have played our previous titles will be surprised to discover!

It takes between 20 to 30 hours to complete the game. Expect more than 40 hours to unveil all the secrets of New Eden…

You can replay the game to see how your choices can affect the communities, and the couple’s relationship in a different way. 

Of course, the game won’t be entirely missions. Players will have the opportunity to explore the world of New Eden throughout their adventures, and more and more of the world will open up to you as you go through the main quest or do various bits of side-content in what might be Don’t Nod’s biggest game yet.

[PM] As mentioned earlier, Banishers is a semi-open world structure, with a lot to discover. Different environments (forest, swamps, mountains etc.), biomes and communities with their own beliefs and problems to solve. The game is narrative-driven so you can expect a very compelling main storyline that you can decide to follow straight to the end if you want to. At some specific moments of the story, new content and missions are unlocked in the Communities you have visited before, thus inciting you to come back and check it out.

If you like exploration and side content, you will be able to discover more areas and rewards as you progress and unlock new powers. At some point, you also unlock the fast-travel option to travel from hideout to hideout in order to ease your exploration.

As a current-gen game, Don’t Nod is also going to make sure that the game looks visually appealing, so players won’t have to worry about being stuck with one way to see Banishers when the game releases. New Graphics technologies like DLSS and FSR will be there.

[PM] We are working on a “performance” (dynamic resolution @60fps) and a “quality” mode (native 4K @30fps) for both PS5 and Xbox Series. The optimization phase is still in progress and we are confident in delivering a smooth and consistent experience whatever the mode you choose. The game includes DLSS and AMD FSR 2.0 features.

Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden will release on November 7 for the PlayStation 5, and you can look here to see some newly-unveiled gameplay.

Hunter is senior news writer at He is a long time fan of strategy, RPG, and tabletop games. When he is not playing games, he likes to write about them.