The developer of Manor Lords reminds us that this is not a Total War competitor or a fast RTS like Age of Empires

The developer of Manor Lords reminds us that this is not a Total War competitor or a fast RTS like Age of Empires

The developer of Manor Lords reminds us that this is not a Total War competitor or a fast RTS like Age of Empires,Ahead of Manor Lords Early Access on April 26th, developer Greg Styczen, aka Slavic Magic, has clarified what the city builder actually is in an effort to calm potential players’ expectations. The game is currently ranked number one among Steam’s featured titles, and while that’s a welcome challenge for any developer, it means expectations are high, so Stychen wants potential players to know what they’re getting into.

Although Manor Lords is a full-fledged city builder, the inclusion of real-time battles and a mode that allows you to roam your settlements has drawn comparisons to games from other genres. Stychen wants to set the record straight.

One of the games it is most often compared to is Total War. In the screenshots and short clips, the rows of warriors rushing into battle are very reminiscent of Creative Assembly’s powerful strategy series, but the similarities end there.

Manor Lords is not a Total War competitor. This is a city building simulator with battles. Yes, there are battles, but not as large or frequent as some of you might expect. Much of the gameplay is focused on building and managing the city.

In those rare moments when you’re fighting other armies, you have a few commands you can give out, but simplicity is the name of the game.

Many game mechanics focus on the aesthetics of your city, and resources take a while to transport across the map. This results in a more relaxed experience, with moments of high intensity peppering the atmospheric city building, rather than the game being in a state of high intensity the entire time.

This is definitely not a fast RTS like Age of Empires or StarCraft.

Also, don’t think that a large map divided into different regions means you’re dealing with an empire management game.

There are regions on the map, but you won’t be able to conquer all of Europe or make marriages or anything like that. The game is designed for a much smaller scale.

You can conquer these regions, build new settlements, and then create a trade network tying them all together, which does make Manor Lords different from other city-building games, but not to the point where it starts to feel like you’re playing Crusader Kings.

One of the features is a simple walk through the settlement, but Stychen notes that this is only an “experimental, cosmetic bonus feature.” You can’t do anything significant in this mode, so “it’s not an RPG”.

Stychen also explained why he decided to release Manor Lords into early access first.

This is my first serious game and not only are some things still unfinished, but I’m sure you guys will ask me to change things that you don’t necessarily like.

His goal is to stick to an open development strategy and get feedback from players to help him improve the city builder. With this in mind, he also decided not to publish the roadmap for now.

I want to stick to the philosophy of “listen, test, implement.” As such, I expect the first month of patches to be dedicated to bug fixes and polish only. During this time, we will work with Hooded Horse to collect your feedback and then prioritize work based on what we hear.

This all seems quite reasonable. While one of the benefits of being an indie developer may be a clearer vision, it’s a double-edged sword when the developer focuses on features that players aren’t really that interested in. This way, Stychen can be more flexible and work on what players care about most.