Manor Lords dev has 'grand plans' for castle siege warfare but still thinks non-combat is 'a viable way to play'

A medieval city
(Image credit: Slavic Magic)

So far, Manor Lords has made a name for itself thanks to its quirky medieval setting and brilliant city-building and management features. While small pitched battles are possible, the fighting is far from the star of the show. 

This fact was made abundantly clear even before Manor Lords entered early access. The developer Greg "Slavic Magic" Styczeń wrote a lengthy post on the game's Steam page explaining what Manor Lords really is. "Manor Lords is not a Total War competitor," Styczeń says in the blog post. "It's a city builder 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 city building and management." 

You can even opt out of fighting altogether, as there are three difficulty settings for Manor Lords. The easiest, Rise to Prosperity, removes battles and bandits and allows players to focus purely on growing their town and managing the population. If you're looking for a city builder with no other distractions, then this is the best choice for you. Styczeń even tells us in a Q&A, which you can read in issue 395 of PC Gamer Magazine, that the non-combat option is "a viable way to play for those who want to avoid the real-time combat mechanics." 

But just because battles aren't a massive focus in Manor Lords doesn't mean they won't ever be. Styczeń says during the interview that castle siege warfare is certainly a possibility that could be included in the future: "Castles, sieges, and siege engines are a fairly iconic part of the time period, and I have some grand plans for the implementation of these aspects. I've previously showcased how some of the systems might work, and some of them were even in-game for testing at various points of development. Currently, I'm not yet sure how much of it will be available to play with at launch, and how much will be added over time during the early access period instead." 

I, for one, would love to see siege warfare added to Manor Lords. After bulking up my town considerably and working out all the supply kinks and population growth, it's nice to have other focuses now that my town is becoming increasingly self-sufficient. The battles are already impressive, with the possibility of epic 900-man battles or intense five-man stand-offs. And while I've had plenty of fun taking on small-time bandits, engaging in a military campaign would be such a cool way to secure more land or resources. 

So far, Manor Lords has done pretty well, even without intensive battles. It passed the milestone of 1 million copies sold and exceeded 100,000 concurrent players only two hours after it was released to early access. So, while castle siege warfare would certainly be a cool addition, it's probably not necessary to keep players interested.  

Elie Gould
News Writer

Elie is a news writer with an unhealthy love of horror games—even though their greatest fear is being chased. When they're not screaming or hiding, there's a good chance you'll find them testing their metal in metroidvanias or just admiring their Pokemon TCG collection. Elie has previously worked at TechRadar Gaming as a staff writer and studied at JOMEC in International Journalism and Documentaries – spending their free time filming short docs about Smash Bros. or any indie game that crossed their path.