I hope you have your helmet and blueprints ready, because 2023 will be an important year for city builders. We’re in the middle of one boom in the construction of the cityin fact, and while there’s really only one major city building game these days –Cities: skylines– that means there’s plenty of room for other types of city builders, whether they focus on building in different environments, weathering treacherous survival scenarios, or creating cities in remote locations like outer space.
There are many exciting new city builders to look forward to in 2023. The cities you will build, grow and manage in the coming year will take you from the tops of mountains to the bottom of the ocean, and include environments such as medieval villages, dark fantasy realms, the savage Wild West, ancient Egypt and even the legendary lost city of Atlantis.
These are the city builders to look out for in 2023.
How excited are players for this strategic city builder? Among the most desired games on Steam like Starfield, Stalker 2 and Hollow Knight: Silksong, there is Manor Lords. Massively ambitious, the Medieval City Builder goes far beyond just building and managing your ancient city, with tactical battles and a diplomacy system at your disposal as you expand and defend your holdings. The gridless building system will hopefully yield some organic and realistic looking towns and villages, and it’s packed with historically accurate detail. I played the Manor Lords Demo in October and while it was quite short and didn’t include any of the combat systems, it was still excellent and extremely promising.
Another highly anticipated game, the sequel jumps forward 30 years as survivors of Earth’s deep freeze begin mining for oil to stay alive. We can only assume the goopy new resource will lead to cutting-edge technology to use in your chilly town, but with every step forward there’s a challenging battle to keep your citizens warm, happy and hopeful. frostpunk 2 lets players experience what happens when you “survive the unsurvivable” and again, the cold isn’t the real enemy, it’s human nature itself. We’re not sure if Frostpunk 2 will be out in 2023 – 11 bit studios haven’t confirmed a date yet – but we’re keeping our frozen fingers crossed.
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 adventure with city building and citizen management systems. Picture Diablo 2, but you’re the mayor of that grim and gritty starting city, tasked with growing and defending it, sending adventurers out into the world to complete missions and gather resources, and keep your citizens alive and well as happy as possible. possible in what looks like a dark and dangerous world.
Laysara: Summit Kingdom
I wanted to play this from the moment I first saw it. Building a city on the side of a mountain is intriguing enough, but a look at how you can zoom out, pan the camera around the mountain, and zoom back in on the other side looks great. Add to this the challenges of managing resources and moving materials around sheer cliffs, and the threat of natural disasters such as avalanches, and Laysara: Summit Kingdom should be at the top of your city building wish list.
City of Atlantis
It’s back! The Lost City of Atlantis has reappeared above the waves, and now you are in charge of it. In this isometric survival city builder, you manage production chains, unlock new technology and building types, and struggle to expand Atlantis as it continues to thrive. Above all, you must protect the ancient city from another devastating fall by defending against naval attacks and destructive tsunamis.
Atlantis may have sunk unexpectedly into the sea, but in Aquatic you deliberately build a city at the bottom of the ocean after the surface of the earth has become uninhabitable. Manage a fleet of submarine drones, set up production chains to keep resources and oxygen flowing, and create a bubble of civilization to support your human population (and their pets). There’s not much more to wait for Aquatico: it’s out January 12.
Pharaoh: a new era
Finally you can revisit a city builder from 1999. Sierra Studios classic Pharaoh is being re-released as Pharaoh: a new erawith remastered graphics and an updated user interface, and even includes the 2000 expansion Cleopatra: Queen of the Nile. Build your city, cultivate the fertile lands of the Nile Valley, and erect monuments such as the Great Pyramids and the Sphinx.
This game takes the concept of building cities quite literally. Instead of being a mayor or superintendent, you’re in charge of a construction company that actually builds. Design and plan neighborhoods, tear down old buildings and build new ones, hire subcontractors, interact with customers and concerned citizens, and manage resources, labor and construction logistics as you bring a city to life. The constructors is from the same publisher as the surprise hit House Flippers, so we look forward to renovating and building on a larger scale.
Wild West dynasty
An ambitious mix of survival, resource management, six-shooter action and city building. Wild West dynasty task you with carving out a life for yourself and creating a thriving frontier town. One minute you’re hunting deer and boar, the next you’re battling outlaws, all the while building shops and homes and hoping to transform a dusty outpost into a profitable town. The trailers haven’t shown much of the actual building of the city yet, but since the game comes from the same publisher as Medieval dynastywe have high hopes that it will work.
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 in 2023 – that you can play right now.
Against the storm: A post-apocalyptic city builder in a dark fantasy world.
Land of the Vikings: Survival of settlements in the Viking Age.
Farthest border: Challenging survival city builder in a medieval inspired world.
Sweet transit: Build small towns into thriving cities through a network of train lines.