Manor Lords dev staves off early access disappointment by explaining his game isn’t here to murder Total War

Slavic Magic, the sole creator behind anticipated (sub genres forthcoming) strategy game Manor Lords, has written a transparent and refreshingly to-the-point blog post on Steam addressing both expectations and future updates. Specifically, Slavic Magic aka Greg Manor Lords has taken time to outline exactly what his game – currently the most wishlisted on Steam, ahead of Hades 2isn’t.

The list, which seems aimed at clearing up any unfounded expectations, cautions that players hoping to jump into Manor Lords when it releases on 26th April shouldn’t expect any of the following: a Total War competitor, an “Empire Management style Grand Strategy game,” an rpg game, or a “competitive, fast paced RTS like Age of Empires or Starcraft.” Instead, Slavic Magic makes clear that players should expect small-scale city building and management with a more relaxed pace.

“A lot of the game mechanics focus on aesthetics of your town and resources take some time to be transported around the map. This results mostly in a more of a relaxed experience, with high intensity moments spicing up atmospheric citybuilding rather than the game being at high intensity all the time.”

The blog post also goes on to detail Slavic Magic’s plans to support the game through its early access period, following what the dev calls “an open development strategy of a back and forth,” between player and developer. “The reception has been super positive so far for which I’m very grateful. I think the game should find a way into the hearts of players who expected Manor Lords to be what it is, a realistic, organic, authentic city builder with real time battles.”

Personally, I love all this. I love that Slavic Magic has put the potential of losing some prospective players aside and instead, in the name of transparency, has committed the first cardinal sin of gaming PR, and actually dialed down the hype-o-meter a little. I haven’t kept up with the entirety of Manor Lords’ timeline, but it’s all seemed like a fairly organic snowball-to-avalanche uptick in popularity, and I’ve believed Mr. Lords when he’s repeatedly expressed his surprise and gratitude at the amount of eyeballs on what began as a solo passion project.

The above comparisons aren’t necessarily unfair, mind you. The trailers have certainly left the game’s full scope open to interpretation – as our own Matt Jarvis wrote last year, it does look like there’s a generous dollop of Total War, 4X and RTS DNA in the mix at a glance. But games of this scope take a while to reveal themselves – longer than the average trailer, certainly.

The embargo for impressions doesn’t lift for bit yet, but we are able to tell you that Manor Lords is at least (mostly) solid from a technical standpoint, including on Steam Deck. I am allowed to tell you that, if nothing else, the game has taught me what a ‘Morgen’ is in terms of field size, so I’m now able to hold a semblance of conversation with any medieval European farmers I happen to meet. And, whatever other expectations you have, can you truly ask for any more than that?

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