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Manor Lords dev downplays hype ahead of early access launch

Slavic Magic has put out a statement explaining what Manor Lords is, and what it isn't, to try and manage hype as the launch draws near.

Manor Lords dev downplays hype ahead of early access launch: A scene from Manor Lords showing a villager walking towards their home, with a few houses behind them.

Launching a game can be a perilous business. We often talk about the issues surrounding a game if it doesn’t perform well, but what about the risks when a game’s popular? Manor Lords is one game that’s incredibly eagerly awaited with over two million wishlists on Steam and counting. Ahead of its upcoming launch into Steam Early Access, developer Slavic Games has put out a new statement, trying to head off some of the issues it foresees might arrive when a game this anticipated finally gets into people’s hands. It’s not Age of Empires, an RPG, or a Total War rival, the creator says. This is something else.

In Manor Lords you’re put in the leather boots of a medieval lord, and tasked with shepherding your starting village as it grows into a city, all the while eying up a spot of warfare as you build and manage your army to make your mark on the Middle Ages. This strategy game combines a city builder with resource management, tactical real-time battles, and even contains a hint of medieval life simulation. It’s this melange of genres that seems to have prompted Slavic Games to speak up, attempting to ensure fans know exactly what kind of experience they’re in for.

“Manor Lords is not a Total War competitor. It’s a citybuilder with battles,” says sole developer Greg, also known as Slavic Games. “It’s not a Empire Management-style Grand Strategy game either. The map has regions, but you won’t be able to conquer the whole of Europe.

“It’s not an RPG either,” Greg continues. “There won’t be any first person gameplay.” Neither is the game a “competitive, fast-paced RTS like Age of Empires or Starcraft.” Instead, players should expect something a little slower in pace, focusing on city building and management on a smaller scale. You’re a Manor Lord, after all, not a Manor Emperor.

It’s extremely understandable that on the verge of launching the most wishlisted game on Steam that there may be a need to put out fires before they truly start. Part of the hype cycle does naturally include disappointment, with many players often getting a distorted view of the game they’re waiting for. Slavic Games’ attempt to put Manor Lords in context and manage expectations is a breath of fresh air in a field usually only concerned with seeing numbers go up.

A battle in Manor Lords showing a medieval army lined up in a clearing, surrounded by dense forest.

In addition to setting out the stall on what the game is and isn’t, Greg goes on to talk about the Steam Early Access launch and the future for Manor Lords. Of particular note is the announcement that there will be no roadmap for future updates for the game, at least not yet.

“I’ve made a mistake once or twice before, of promising and working on a feature only to find out that the testers didn’t care as much as I did and that they actually wanted something else,” says Greg. “So even if I have a plan, I want to adopt the philosophy of ‘listen, verify, implement.'”

So while Manor Lords will continue to receive updates following its launch, we can expect the nature of upcoming content releases and changes to be kept close to the developer’s chest.

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Manor Lords will launch into Steam Early Access on Friday, April 26 and you can head over to Steam to add it to your wishlists right now.

If you’re eager to dive into more historical gaming, our guide to the best medieval games on PC will send you back in time in style. Meanwhile, our best city building games guide should satisfy any town management cravings you have.

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