This game is being built by one person. A solo developer who's worked for three years "in the dark cave of my room." And yet Manor Lords is one of the most exciting early access titles I'm seeing on the horizon.
It already had my attention with the gridless, free-form Cities: Skylines-style city-building mechanics. Roads organically bending to accommodate foot traffic, wagon routes, and curving with the landscape. Stick-by-stick buildings going up, shaped and nailed into place by villagers. That would've been enough for me. But then Manor Lords further introduces Total War-like battles with swords and shields, a whole lot of suits of armor, and, yes, enough tactics to keep Total War fans scratching that itch.
Not sure I'm as sold on those kinds of battles. But I'll acknowledge that it's ambitious to combine those fights with such do-what-you-want city management. As long as those suits of armor don't come anywhere near my actual buildings. I didn't see a whole lot of defensive structures going up. It's not like these farmers can turn their plowshares back into swords, can they?
Manor Lords hits Steam Early Access in Fall 2020. Easiest wishlist I've made all week.