Open-world city builder-exploration game Bulwark: Falconeer Chronicles shows off 30 minutes of all new gameplay

Bulwark: Falconeer Chronicles, an open-world city-builder and exploration game being made by solo developer Tomas Sala, is set to arrive on March 26, and now that the release date is nailed down we can get a proper look at what's coming in an exclusive new 30-minute gameplay video showcasing a range of new features and content.

Bulwark is a spinoff of Sala's 2020 game The Falconeer, but it promises a very different sort of experience. Where that game focused on "epic aerial dogfights" between giant birds of prey, Bulwark is all about the game world: Players will explore the Great Ursee, a waterworld dotted with islands and outcroppings, on a quest to rebuild civilization left ruined by the long-ago War of the Tree. 

Gathering resources, recruiting NPC commanders, upgrading units, and waging war are all part of the formula, but for those who'd rather immerse themselves in world-building without all the hassles, Bulwark will also offer a "cosy Freebuild mode" enabling players to build as they like without having to worry about the limits of resources or upgrades.

Along similar lines, Bulwark: Falconeer Chronicles is also designed to be very easy to play. "No conventional controls. One button to paint the landscape, another to move about," Sala says in the new video. "And while you paint towers and walls, people will start to make the world come alive. Keep building—that's the trick. This can be confusing at first, overwhelming even, but don't worry—there's also no mistakes."

The video features a look at Bulwark's campaign mode, which takes place in the aftermath of devastating war, and includes a tutorial laying out some of the game's more unusual features: The resource system, for instance, isn't based on how many workers you assign to a particular task, but on the distance those resources have to travel from the source to wherever it's needed. It's unconventional but not necessarily unintuitive, especially given the simplified interface and automation present in the game: A need to micromanage is clearly not going to be an issue in Bulwark.

From there, the video moves into overworld exploration, finding and recruiting new allies, and of course a spot of combat. Bulwark may be designed to be accessible, but it's clearly got a lot going on.

The Bulwark demo we were taken by last year is gone, but the good news is that an updated demo, with access to one complete scenario and settlements that can grow to up to 15 buildings, is coming to Steam (and consoles, if that's what you're into) on January 30. Bulwark: Falconeer Chronicles is set to go into full release on March 26.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.