Manor Lords: Solo developer's highly anticipated medieval strategy game hits this month

By Brian Crecente, Contributor
The culmination of a nearly seven-year journey by a single developer comes to fruition this month with the release of medieval strategy game Manor Lords in Early Access on April 26.

Developer Greg Styczeń said his early work with RPG Maker 2000 and introduction to Unreal Engine led him to create the hotly anticipated game, which combines city-building, tactical battles, and social hierarchy.
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Manor Lords features a gridless and organic city-building experience—meaning you're fully free to place and rotate buildings as you see fit, though there are snapping tools to make things a bit easier to lock in. You'll also have to manage goods, from processing and production to transportation and sale, all of which will impact the growth of your city. And war, according to the Manor Lords website, will force players to weigh the costs—not just the loss of numbers, but the potential death of beloved loyal subjects.

In creating the game, Styczeń prioritized historical accuracy whenever possible.

“I try to find a balance between gameplay and realism. I don't want it to become just a simulation or something,” he said in an interview on “It should be a fun game. Usually we can find a compromise. Sometimes it can be a little annoying, but often it is inspirational and inspires true creativity so I can add mechanics (or visuals) that no other game has.”
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The result is a game inspired by historical references to Europe from the 11th to 15th centuries. Manor Lords increases player immersion by layering on detail and features, including plowing fields with teams of oxen, herding sheep, smelting iron, passing seasons, and more.

There’s also disease, famine, and—of course—war. The game’s battles feature large-scale unit formations, morale, flanking, fatigue, and even changing weather.

Styczeń built the game in Unreal Engine 4 making use of photogrammetry, motion capture, and pre-calculated destruction simulations. He said he hopes to build in real-time chaos physics in the future. Other expected additions include cavalry, fortifications, gunpowder, and siege engines.

While major updates to the game are expected during the Early Access period, Styczeń took his time and worked hard to get Manor Lords fairly polished before this point. In 2020, Styczeń made the decision to delay the release of Manor Lords to rework significant elements of the game.
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Changes, as he said back in 2022, had a massive impact on the current look of the title. One of the most significant, it seemed, was adding something called a residential plot system which helped integrate the homes and their surroundings as players built up a town. The change, Styczeń said at the time, was inspired by medieval "burgage plots.”

He also reworked how towns grow and age, to ensure they remained relatively historically accurate. Another major change led to enlarging region sizes to add realism to the space.

There’s a lot to dig into in that 2020 post, all of which makes a strong argument for why Manor Lords has quickly risen to the top of wishlists. This is clearly a game in the hands of an auteur developer who has a very specific vision in mind—and the willingness to listen to his community to improve that vision.

You can become a part of that community now by wishlisting Manor Lords on the Epic Games Store and hopping into the game’s Discord.