I'm a sucker for historical city builders, so Manor Lords—announced back in July (opens in new tab)—has my complete attention. It's a medieval strategy game with cities to build and real-time battles to fight, and it's pretty easy on the eyes too. Check out the new overview trailer above.
Manor Lords isn't set in a specific century, instead drawing broadly on the medieval era, from the 11th century on. Developer Slavic Magic still says everything is inspired by historical references, however, and the aim is to create a city builder that's grounded in realism.
Rather than just focusing on one settlement, it looks like you'll have whole regions to take over and develop, exploiting their resources, building new towns and then raising armies to protect them.
When you get into a real-time scrap with an enemy army, you'll have to watch out for morale, fatigue, the impact of the weather, and outside of combat you'll also have disease, famine and other threats to worry about.
Building is free-form, so you can plonk your structures down anywhere, terrain permitting, and draw paths and fields to fit the shape of your settlement. Though you're not restricted by a grid, you'll want to consider where resources are, how close you are to trade routes and make your production chains as efficient as possible.
There's diplomacy between lords as well as conflict, a trade system, and development trees for every region, letting you customise them based on their resources or their role in your burgeoning realm. It's large in scope and doesn't seem to skimp on the detail, but it's the work of a solo developer.
Manor Lords is going down the Early Access (opens in new tab) route first, but a date hasn't been announced yet.