I hope you've got your hardhat and blueprints ready, because the second half of 2023 is shaping up nicely for city builder fans. We're in the midst of a city building boom, and there are a lots of exciting new city builders on the horizon, with a whole bunch of them launching before the end of the year.
(Unless, as sometimes happens both in construction and gaming, there are some unforseen delays. We'll cross our fingers there won't be.)
The next six months are packed with a variety of city builders, from modern skyscraper-filled skylines to muddy medieval villages and even fantasy realms filled with werewolves and witches. If you're looking for strategy, survival, or just some casual challenges, this golden period for the genre probably has you covered.
Here are seven great-looking city builders coming before the end of 2023.
Developer: Slavic Magic
Release date: TBA 2023
How excited are players for this medieval strategy city builder? Among the top-wishlisted games on Steam like Starfield and Hollow Knight: Silksong, there's Manor Lords. The medieval city builder is ambitious as heck and goes far beyond just building and managing a town, with tactical battles and a diplomacy system at your disposal as you expand and defend your holdings. The gridless building system will hopefully produce some genuine-looking towns and villages, and it's packed with historically accurate details. I played the Manor Lords demo in October and while it was pretty brief and didn't include any of the combat systems, it was still excellent.
Cities: Skylines 2
Developer: Colossal Order
Release date: October 24
A sequel to the only major, modern city builder on the market was inevitable, and from what we've seen so far of Cities: Skylines 2 looks fantastic. It boasts bigger maps, more buildable tiles, and some interesting new tools for roads and traffic, not to mention a fully-realized weather system. There are even some new disaster scenarios that include rat infestations and hail. We're eager to see how this sequel stacks up against the beloved original.
Pioneers of Pagonia
Developer: Envision Entertainment
Release date: Q4 2023 (Early Access)
If you're looking for city building experience, look no further: Pioneers of Pagonia comes from the designer of the long-running strategy city builder series The Settlers, which began way back in 1993. Pioneers' first gameplay trailer showed off some lovely animation and finely detailed buildings, and the fantasy setting means that not only will you build and expand your village but train sorcerers and witches to contend with malevolent entities like werewolves and ghosts.
Laysara: Summit Kingdom
Developer: Quite OK Games
Release date: TBA 2023
I've wanted to play this since the moment I first saw it, and the demo does not disappoint. Building a city on the side of a mountain is intriguing enough already, but being able to zoom out, revolve the camera around the mountain, and then zoom back in on the other side is amazing. Throw in the challenges of resource management and moving materials around steep cliffs, and the threat of natural disasters like avalanches, and Laysara: Summit Kingdom should be at the top of your city building wishlist.
Release date: August 8
Gord caught our eye when it was announced in 2021, developed by Covenant, a studio founded by CD Projekt Red producer Stan Just. Gord is a dark fantasy strategy game with town building and citizen management systems. Picture a Diablo game but you're the mayor of that grim and gritty starting town, charged with growing and defending it, sending adventurers out into the world to complete quests and gather resources, and keeping your citizens alive and as happy as possible in what looks like a dark and dangerous world.
Night is Coming
Developer: Wild Forest Studio
Release date: TBA 2023
Build and manage a settlement in the Carpathian Mountains, assigning citizens to jobs and keeping them warm, clothed, and fed. And then hang on tight because long dark nights, freezing temperatures, and an onslaught of monsters are headed your way in this survival city builder based on Slavic folklore and culture. The city and citizen simulation in Night Is Coming looks great, as does the variety of horrors that will try to destroy your town.
Circle of Kerzoven
Release date: TBA 2023 (Early Access)
Building a city can be a violent act as trees are downed, land is cleared, and wildlife is displaced. In Circle of Kerzoven, you can take that into account as you build, and try to find a balance where the needs of the wildlife are kept in mind just like the needs of your citizens. Expand your borders, plant crops, trade with other factions, and grow your settlement—but take care not to drive animals out of their habitats or they may go extinct.
Currently in Early Access
If you just can't wait for the new city builders above, there are several in Early Access—hopefully with full releases coming before too long—that you can play right now.
Fabledom: Storybook looks, fairytale charm, and lots of little surprises.
Terrascape: Enjoy a chill challenge in this city-building strategy puzzler.
Farthest Frontier: Challenging survival city builder in a medieval-inspired world.
Against the Storm: A post-apocalyptic city builder in a dark fantasy world.
Land of the Vikings: Settlement survival in the age of Vikings.
Havendock: Build a bustling town on the ocean in this charming colony sim.