Manor Lords Developer Stresses That It’s ‘Not a Total War Competitor,’ Nor an RPG

As Manor Lords prepares to finally make its way to the public, developer Slavic Magic has stepped in to make sure fans’ expectations are in check.

The one-person studio has been painstakingly crafting the medieval city builder for the last few years, and the PC community has taken notice. The promise of city-building features, realistic gameplay mechanics, and more have continuously positioned Manor Lords at the top of Steam’s most Wishlisted titles. Now, with its Early Access release just more than a week away, Slavic Magic has published a post to clarify a few things. Most notably, they want soon-to-be leaders to remember that Manor Lords isn’t an RPG or a game that’s meant to go toe-to-toe with Sega’s Total War franchise.

“Manor Lords is not a Total War competitor.”

“Manor Lords is not a Total War competitor,” Slavic Magic cautions. “It’s a citybuilder with battles. Yes, battles are there, but not as huge or as frequent as some of you might expect. The majority of gameplay is focused on citybuilding and management.”

Manor Lords isn’t competitive like Starcraft, and it doesn’t let players explore in first-person like Kingdom Come: Deliverance. Yes, you’ll be able to wander around town thanks to a third-person bonus mode, but Slavic Magic calls this feature “experimental.” The core Manor Lords experience is more about letting players know what its like to build and maintain their very own medieval city on a smaller scale than other empire management sim and grand strategy games.

Slavic Magic also reiterates that Manor Lords is launching in Early Access. There will inevitably be some kinks to work out, but they are excited to work through to rough edges with community feedback in mind.

“Yes, [Early Access] must be disappointing, but I think it’s the right choice,” Slavic Magic adds. “It’s my first serious game and not only some stuff is still unfinished, but I bet you guys will ask me to change some things you don’t necessarily like. But I want to pursue an open development strategy of a back and forth between me and you, I think it worked great for the game so far (I’m comparing to times where there wasn’t even a testing group and I was developing in a bubble).”

Lastly, as development on Manor Lords progresses, fans should know that Slavic Magic has no plans to release any sort of content roadmap. The developer is unsure if the testing phase for future patches will remain closed or open to the public, though they are considering hosting a pre-release beta branch for owners.

“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,” they explain. “So even if I have a plan, I want to adopt the philosophy of ‘listen, verify, implement.’”

Manor Lords launches in Early Access for PC via the Epic Games Store, Steam, and GOG, as well as PC Game Pass on April 26. A release on consoles and Xbox Game Pass is set to arrive at a later date. While we count down those last remaining days, hours, and minutes, be sure to check out more upcoming Game Pass titles. After that, don’t forget to look into more of April’s biggest releases.

Michael Cripe is a freelance contributor with IGN. He started writing in the industry in 2017 and is best known for his work at outlets such as The Pitch, The Escapist, OnlySP, and Gameranx.

Be sure to give him a follow on Twitter @MikeCripe.

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