Living in medieval times wouldn’t be anywhere near as exciting as we think it would be. Disease, grime, and plenty of other things could easily kill you before you reach the age of 40, and even if they don’t, there’s likely a life of hard toil and little reward ahead of you, unless you’re a lord. With that in mind, playing as a medieval peasant probably isn’t something many people would want to do in a game, but playing as a lord…well, that’s a different matter entirely.
Enter Manor Lords, a medieval city-builder and RTS hybrid currently in the works over at developer Slavic Magic. The game, which is being published by Hooded Horse, was actually revealed some time ago; indie projects like this usually take a long time to complete because they don’t have a huge amount of studio money or time being invested into them. Here’s everything we currently know about Manor Lords, including any potential release date, the platforms it’ll be on, and more.
Manor Lords release date – when will you be able to play the game?
Manor Lords’ original announcement trailer was released in July 2020, giving us a taste of what we could expect from this exciting-looking city builder. That trailer didn’t offer any kind of release date, and indeed, a follow-up video, which advertised the game’s demo as part of the Steam Next Fest program, didn’t give us any further information about when we can play the finished product either.
Taking a look at Manor Lords on Steam, the release date is listed as simply “2023”. Of course, that might be subject to change; a release window that vague could easily be shifted towards 2024 if the developer feels like the game isn’t going to be ready in time for this year, which is entirely possible given the fairly limited scope of the team. However, we’re hopeful that Slavic Magic can turn Manor Lords around and put the finished product into our hands sometime this year. We’re rooting for you!
When Manor Lords does launch, don’t be surprised if you see an Early Access release for it. This kind of game tends to thrive in Early Access; players can suggest features and improvements ahead of the full release, but there’s no real story to ruin through constant iteration. Indeed, the developer tweeted that they’re currently “working on the Early Access build” for the game, so it looks like we will be able to play Manor Lords in an early state to get an idea of what the gameplay will be like.
Which platforms will Manor Lords be on?
You’re probably thinking that Manor Lords will be a PC-exclusive game, since it’s a city-builder with RTS elements. Indeed, it looks like that’s going to be the case; right now, the game has a Steam listing and a GOG page, and that’s pretty much it. Getting the game onto consoles is probably a fairly big ask for such a small development outfit, and after all, although this is one of Steam’s most wishlisted games, the devs have no way of knowing whether or not it would achieve any measure of success on consoles. It’s likely that Manor Lords will be a PC-exclusive game for the foreseeable future.
What gameplay features will Manor Lords offer?
Manor Lords’ unique gameplay blend promises a mixture of Total War-style tactical battles and medieval city-building, so it’s bound to be unlike anything you’ve ever played before. Here’s a list of some of the gameplay features you can look forward to when you do finally get your hands on Manor Lords.
- Gridless city-building. Unlike many other city-builders, Manor Lords will let you build your city however you like, with free placement and rotation. You’ll begin with a marketplace, then gradually build up your city with different districts a la Cities: Skylines or SimCity. As you assign residential areas, your villagers will begin building burgs just like real medieval peasants would, and you’ll have to guide them through harsh winters, bountiful summers, and more.
- Resource management. As a city-builder, you’d expect to need to manage lots of resources in Manor Lords, and indeed, that will be the case. You’ll have to keep an eye on various different goods, including crops, livestock, and more. If you allow your city to expand unchecked, then the environment will respond; you’ll find animals less plentiful, too much tree-cutting will result in deforestation, and a lack of crop rotation will harm the fertility of the soil.
- Real-time battling. The combat in Manor Lords takes a cue from Total War; it’s a grand strategy-style affair in which you must command your armies into battle against others. Of course, there’s also a diplomacy system to help you avoid getting into combat in the first place, but once you’re there, you must position your armies, take weather conditions and other variables into account, and plan carefully to win.
- Passionate development. The developer is a self-confessed one-man outfit, and Manor Lords represents a “passion project”. Looking at the screenshots and videos on the Steam page, it’s pretty incredible to think that the game is the work of a single person, but it’s true. The dev promises to “listen to your feedback”, too, so if you’ve got something you want to tell them about Manor Lords, then make sure to make your opinion known on social media. Who knows? A feature you suggest might even make it into the game!