Cozy sim Lakeburg Legacies shows the real perfect match is city building and dating sims

Lakeburg Legacies answers a question I didn’t know I had: which two genres should totally get together? 

The unlikely genremates forming this promising union are a city sim and a dating sim. Instead of your garden variety city simulation, Legacies wants you to roll up your sleeves and get deeply invested in not just the building codes and street placement of your newly established fantasy zip code, but its inhabitants' love lives. It seems like a lot of effort for increased productivity, but if you make a proper match you could see the effects for generations of children down the line.

(Image credit: Ishtar Games)

With cutesy but hyper-detailed character cards, each potential match in Legacies will require planning. Positive traits can really help citizens thrive when working the correct jobs, so should you try to get two people with excellent traits together even though they’ll probably hate each other? It might be a lot of trouble, but an angry home might be the lesser evil when you’re facing famine. I can see a situation where an otherwise perfect match has one person longing for the countryside while the other wants the city life—and that gameplay conflict seems like fertile ground for the kind of developing stories that make The Sims a bottomless storytelling well. Sure, I don’t want my budding kingdom to freeze to death in winter, but Devon the lumberjack simply cannot marry Blake the woodcutter—his true love is Oliver the underwater basket weaver!

Legacies isn’t just going to leave it all up to you, though. In addition to procedurally generated "everything," Legacies also includes narrative events that can influence the success or failure of both your matchmaking and city management. In other sim games—whether it’s Stellaris or Rimworld or others—these emergent stories have always led to my favorite memories from the genre, whereas in dating sims, excellent characterization has been what hooked me hardest. With procedurally generated content in Legacies, I worry that this characterization will suffer, and leave all the heavy lifting for the narrative events. Though perhaps Lakeburg Legacies is more like the doomed dynasty management of Crusader Kings 3 where procedural events are consistent soap opera generators.

If you’re a sucker for pastoral graphics and playing matchmaker like I am, Lakeburg Legacies looks to be the perfect way to plot world domination (and the perfect rebound relationship for your favorite citizen). Lakeburg Legacies appeared at today's Wholesome Games Showcase to announce you’ll be able to settle in for real and start your new career as a love doctor when it releases on July 20. There's also a new demo available on Steam.

Philip Palmer

Phil is a contributor for PC Gamer, formerly of TechRadar Gaming. With four years of experience writing freelance for several publications, he's covered every genre imaginable. For 15 years he's done technical writing and IT documentation, and more recently traditional gaming content. He has a passion for the appeal of diversity, and the way different genres can be sandboxes for creativity and emergent storytelling. With thousands of hours in League of Legends, Overwatch, Minecraft, and countless survival, strategy, and RPG entries, he still finds time for offline hobbies in tabletop RPGs, wargaming, miniatures painting, and hockey.