January 18, 2022 The Settlers is a series that is among the city-building and strategy greats with a rich and storied history but has not yet enjoyed the reboot and renaissance that other franchises have enjoyed in recent years. That is, at least, until now as Ubisoft has announced The Settlers, a soft reboot of sorts for the series.

Set to come out in just a couple of months on March 17, 2022, it will seemingly return to its roots while emphasizing multiplayer elements. Between now and then, players will have the chance to check out the game for themselves using a closed beta experience on PC. So far, The Settlers looks to be a fascinating refresh for the series but not entirely perfect by any means.

Custom Snowdrop Engine Delivers Beauty and FX

Upon viewing the first bit of gameplay in the new reveal trailer for The Settlers, it is clear that this is one of the most colorful and beautiful strategy games to release lately. With the Snowdrop Engine being used, developer Ubisoft Düsseldorf is no doubt creating a stunner.

The colors pop of each of the factions that you can choose in the game while the environments are greatly detailed and varied, even from the top-down perspective. The distinct styles are helped by the fact that this reboot shakes up the formula with three factions available in total.

Eschewing the real-world groups of past games, The Settlers returns to a more fantasy-based style with the three factions of the Elari, Maru, and Jorn. Each has its own visual appeal to them, showing some possible inspiration from the Native American, British, and Nordic cultures.

“Worryingly, this soft reboot seems to be emphasizing the war aspects of the game far too much.”

Many of the game features are determined by which faction you choose in a match, such as the exclusive military unit that each has and their backstory. With your faction chosen, you are thrown into the familiar but slightly different gameplay The Settlers is known for.

The crux of the series is mixing both city-building aspects and the real-time strategy gameplay together. Biomes and landmarks will help determine how players build their cities, starting out with just a few buildings and limited transportation paths, and upgrading from there to eventually be able to expand and even conquer.

Multiplayer, War-Focused Gameplay Concerns

The gameplay loop in The Settlers is similar to past titles of growing the economy, city, residents, and eventually your actual army. However, the issue that we have with this soft reboot is that it seems to be emphasizing the war aspects of the game far too much.

As for me, personally, I prefer the more relaxing, peaceful nature of games like The Settlers II and III where you could focus mainly on building up your city with the RTS battles being a slight afterthought for me. From what we know so far, it seems to be a more even balance between the two, with it even possibly favoring the war side more.

Much of what we know about the game is focused on battles, including the several multiplayer game modes that it will offer for up to eight players online. Thankfully, there are skirmish battles against AI available, but it does not assuage my concerns completely.

Like The Settlers 7, there is a story mode that will be offered, but, once again, little is known about it and it does not seem to be the main focus of this game so far. It looks like the story could even be a throwaway experience, with the main hook being the multiplayer modes and the few skirmish maps at launch.

At the very least, this looks much better than the failed Kingdoms of Anteria. It helps, too, that there is going to be a closed beta period from January 18-20, 2022. Players are free to share videos and screenshots from the beta, showing some confidence on Ubisoft’s part with regards to the quality of this title.

Unfortunately, the closed beta (Ubisoft sign-up) only shares a sliver of the game, such as the first three tutorials for newcomers to the franchise to whet their appetite. For experienced players, only two of the three factions are available on two different skirmish maps.

First Look Presumptions

In terms of game modes, only 1v1 and 2v2 will be available in the beta, but these can be played against other players or AI enemies. For now, it looks like The Settlers could be a solid return for the series after seemingly being canceled in 2019, but we will have to wait and see when it fully launches on March 17, 2022, for the Ubisoft Store and Epic Games Store. The new Settlers game will not launch on Steam.