The city builder where you build on a giant animal's back has a release date

Zürich-based developer Stray Fawn Studio is making The Wandering Village, a city builder in which you cross a toxic wasteland on the back of a humongous creature called Onbu. As well as managing your settlement on this friendly kaiju dinosaur beast, you have to manage your relationship with Onbu, which may be a peaceful, symbiotic coexistence or something more parasitic and fractious. It'll be entering early access on September 14.

The trailer shows a village of berry-pickers and wood-choppers right out of Age of Empires' early game, growing as farms and towers are constructed, then dealing with a spore infestation by going at it with flamethrowers. The 2D villagers are easy to pick out of the 3D trees and crops, an interesting use of quite different art styles.

Chris played a demo earlier this year, in which he fell in love with Onbu and did everything he could to make the six-legged tarrasque-looking critter happy. "I focus on unlocking technology to make Onbu's life easier," he wrote, "like a food trebuchet. After building a special kitchen to make meals from the mushrooms I'm farming on its back, I have a citizen launch the food out of the village and right into Onbu's mouth. It's maybe the most fun I've had feeding a creature in a game, ever?"

Your own settlement may develop a spikier relationship with Onbu, and I mean that literally. As Stray Fawn describes it, "There's every chance a spike may have grown where villagers intended to place their kitchen, while a failed harvest may cause desperation and tempt villagers to draw blood from the creature for food." Onbu also reacts differently to the various biomes you cross together, and can grow sick or be harmed by environmental threats.

Though it's got a different atmosphere, there's something a bit Frostpunk about the idea of managing a settlement of people who may be the only survivors of an apocalypse. Just like in Frostpunk, you can send scouting missions to hunt for resources, only here they're balloons launched from Onbu's back and presumably you don't have to enforce child labor laws to fund them. Not that I would do such a thing, ha ha, not me.

The Wandering Village will be available in early access on Steam.

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, Five Out of Ten Magazine, and, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.