Stronghold 3 Updated Impression Preview - Villagers and Combat

Stronghold 3 designer Simon Bradbury stops by to give us a closer look at some of the additions to this strategy hybrid.

Stronghold 3 is a game split between genres. Like its predecessors, it's part city builder and part real-time strategy. We recently got a hands-off demonstration of this upcoming hybrid alongside the game's designer, Simon Bradbury, of developer Firefly games. Bradbury was quick to admit that he and his team "threw it a bit too much on the sim side" with Stronghold 2. With Stronghold 3, they're aiming to have it feel more like the original while also upgrading a few mechanics along the way. We already covered some of those upgrades in our question and anwser session with Bradbury--such as any-angle building and animal artillery--but for more information, we jumped into the game itself.

Stronghold 3 features a new class of citizen, the villager, who accompanies peasants and soldiers in bringing your castle to life. While peasants toil away at their jobs and soldiers spread the glory of your kingdom, villagers will be living it up and taking full advantage of your castle's perks. A disgruntled old man might turn to drink and spend his days stumbling through town, while some local youths amuse themselves by punting poultry across the yard. How you treat these villagers feeds into your popularity. In previous Stronghold games, your popularity was in constant flux and could plummet without your realizing it. Now, it's more static and stays at a fixed number until influenced by the player or a random event in the world.

If you're feeding your citizens twice the normal amount of food, they're going to love you, right up until your stockpile runs out. Conversely, if you construct a few torture racks and stockades, your subjects will begin to fear you. Whether you're liked or feared, each side has its perks. A happy king attracts more subjects to his kingdom, whereas a scary king receives more gold and other lavish gifts from others. A happy king's troops are stronger but are generally limited in number, whereas a scary king's troops are weaker but more numerous.

Whatever your disposition, all your citizens will be influenced by the powers of Mother Nature. A heavy rainstorm will dampen your popularity and your troop's fighting capabilities. Battling at night is also a possibility now. The game forgoes the traditional fog of war in other strategy games, so when the sun goes down, your line of sight will be limited by how many beacon towers or other sources of light you've built. Your individual troops can carry torches, but their sight won't extend far past their own two feet. Of course, a more dramatic solution to the whole night time problem is the flaming hay bail launcher, which does exactly what you think.

The crime system from Stronghold 2 will not be making a return.

In addition to darkness, physics is another addition designed to make your soldiers' lives that much harder. During a brief combat demonstration we saw, a small band of archers assaulted some soldiers atop a wall. One by one the soldiers went tumbling over the side and flopped their way down a cliffside in comical rag-doll fashion. The wall itself had it coming as well. Under the barrage of a catapult, the procedurally generated stone wall shattered in realistic ways, creating a jagged hole in the center. And the tumbling debris that followed did more than just look nice; troops on the receiving end took damage from these falling stones.

Another skirmish tasked a small band of red troops with killing their way up a mountain path littered with blue troops. The red team's first obstacle was the new palisade trap, which looked like an unassuming wooden wall. However, when they approached, wooden spikes jutted up from below and damaged nearby troops. After this, the two sides clashed in a large skirmish. With Stronghold 3, the team at Firefly is aiming to create battles on a larger scale than in the previous games.

The battle animations have also been tweaked, replacing the exaggerated movements of the previous games with brutal strikes and swings. "It was a brutal period," said Bradbury, "and we want to try and capture that." Because the blue team was carving up the red team faster than a Christmas goose, Bradbury ordered his battered troops to pull through. This command disengaged them from combat and told them to elbow their way through the enemies and keep moving forward. Of course, they also took constant damage throughout but did end up making it to the enemy's castle walls. Then, they were run over by flaming logs. This trap came from within the castle and, while not as subtle as the palisade, was very effective.

Tower and circular sections may be snapped onto walls for some extra defense.

Stronghold 3 will include a campaign, a sandbox mode, and numerous historical battles, but it was one of the multiplayer modes that really caught our attention. Tentatively titled King Maker, this mode starts players off with nothing more than simple peasants and limited resources. From there, you must amass honor--another system being streamlined in Stronghold 3--to fund research into higher technology levels. However, at some point, you must decide to stop researching and start amassing troops. Do you try to produce simple units quickly or hold out for more advanced ones? You can discover these answers for yourself when Stronghold 3 is released on the PC this fall.

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Discussion

81 comments
SwedishCheese
SwedishCheese

@Hugo_Fahkov If you really are interested in this game you should definitely play Stronghold and Stronghold Crusader, they are by far the best games in the series.

aamir69
aamir69

Just played, its awesome

Calvin079
Calvin079

@darklord2160: I do believe they are; but we'll see.

Hugo_Fahkov
Hugo_Fahkov

Never played, no heard. of the Stronghold series. I'm glad I checked out this info. I'm definitely interested in this game, and will probably be purchasing it!

darklord2160
darklord2160

i think they should keep the honor system from stronghold 2, along with lord's kitchen, pig farm...Watching peasants prepare food for my feast make me feel like a lord.

ChaosUndivided
ChaosUndivided

Love constructing massive villages that grow. I guess with no crime though you can't set up public executions. It was fun seeing people get axed, hung, put in gibbets or publically humiliated. But I will admit that was the only good thing about SH2, good game and idea but just didn't quite pull it off. This one looks great need more RTS and RTS/sims.

lebman69
lebman69

Sounds like they got there S%!t together. Worth buying this time. 1 and the crusades were the best. Bringing back that style with an honor system and real popularity systems makes up a nice political realism for back then. Unit collisions and elemental factors in fighting would make fighting more interesting. i'm expecting more choices of castle buildings and wall/tower designs to make up different styles of castles. Brings out the culture of your estate.

wave_hun
wave_hun

What is your opinion for it: "sword of justice rts" (you can find 2 video on youtube)

CornelMosneag
CornelMosneag

Seeing the way the troops move. The way the catapult works I'm starting to become less optimistic about this. So instead of a mature-realistic game we would more likely see something like the latest Settlers or Anno. I'm not the one too look closely at details. but everything looks as if its made of Lego pieces. I hope the game will really surprise me.

squidbilly22
squidbilly22

Crusader is one of the best games ever made.hope they don't cartoon the fighting,NC-17 rating would be cool..

Berserk-GR
Berserk-GR

I loved the firsts 2d Strongholds.

noxboxlive
noxboxlive

Looks cool, i loved the first one.

ziadpayne
ziadpayne

yeah man H I S T O R I C rules I'll be waiting. You know what I'm gonna download age of empires cause I really miss this game which Stronghold reminds me of.

Gibsonsg527
Gibsonsg527

I hope this game is good I really want it to be.

assadkhan47
assadkhan47

My precious is coming . i hope it dosen't dispoint me...

jthewonder
jthewonder

graphics dont look that up-to-date, more like something from 08-09. then again why do i care, its not like ill ever even consider buying a game from this company, considering its last few titles (all except 1 really)

666NightsInHell
666NightsInHell

I feel this game will be bad like second part, developers trying to make money on first part dans, i wish i will be wrong

marcopolo426
marcopolo426

In a age of scripted corridor shooters, games like this helps me keep faith in the industry.

aamir69
aamir69

Among all RTS games made in the past decade, i say stronghold in still very unique in gameplay as mentioned by jollybest1. What actually killed the series is crappy maps, glitchy crappy graphics, extremely hard levels (1 vs 4, are you kidding me?) To make stronghold 3 succeed please concentrate what i mentioned. Nobody wants to buy an RTS that is repetitive.

jollybest1
jollybest1

build your defences prepare the balistas and catapults, prepare the dogs put the pitch around the castle, archers on the walls , oil cauldrons on the walls.......build your attack force , prepare the trebuches and catapults engineers, knights, spearmen, prepare the ladders and kill them with the cows :) (who played knows)

romulus45
romulus45

AT LAST! An RTS that the pc was made for. Since Company of Heroes the best RTS ever made in my opinion, and a series that I hope Relic will continue with. There's been nothing to speak of. My PC spends most of its time doing nothing, this could get my interest going again.

alzeer1
alzeer1

agree with foojam also pc is beast that unknown power

foojam
foojam

That's also why PC is the king of gaming.

dtheoeyes
dtheoeyes

finnaly, the first great RTS in this year

chinukarru
chinukarru

i need this download give it to me

evilcomesback
evilcomesback

this series is the only reason why i even play on pc, actually the only series i play on pc, crusader was hands down amazing.

plaanupam
plaanupam

Anyone who loves stronghold 1 will definitely loves this game as it looks in the preview...

Tidal_Abyss
Tidal_Abyss

I only had the time to skim the article, so I don't know if it was mentioned, but I hope 3 will keep Sandbox mode. I spend hours on that -my inner architect I guess ;)

satty5
satty5

Please don't screw this up. :( We need a great game. :(

satty5
satty5

I need the original Stronghold back. :( It was one of the first games that I played. It had a long lasting impression on my mind,

sagueneen
sagueneen

it's seem the wolf is back and alive !! the bastard. I thought kill a lot a time will be enough the first was great and crusader to

Vicsporche
Vicsporche

Looks amazing, Have been waiting for a RTS to play! Can't wait~

kebbun
kebbun

Shogun 2 Total War

GarGx1
GarGx1

Nothing wrong with the graphics. The other 2 were good fun, this one will most likely be fun aswell

kaeyny
kaeyny

ow my god, what kind of trailer is that?? ermm, hope the gameplay is more fun than the trailer its self.

j0abell
j0abell

Shouldn't villages have some sort of roads or something? They look like a bunch of buildings clumped together in the middle of a field.. and are any of them even houses?

j0abell
j0abell

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

j0abell
j0abell

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

jr1809
jr1809

iam thinking this will be a better version of the second 1 but tweaked for the flaws and polished up. a hope the second looked great but played bad well for the simple player like me

fzd88
fzd88

That was one weak game trailer.

iman79
iman79

awful graphic and animation even at promotional clip