I like to keep my eyes on the upcoming indie game market, and Distant Kingdoms is a game that stood out to me during the #PitchYaGame event over on Twitter. This monthly event lets game devs from around the world get a moment in the spotlight thanks to the popularity of the hashtag.
So what is Distant Kingdoms? It’s a medieval fantasy city builder featuring four different races, the orcs, humans, elves, and dwarves. Each race has their own unique buildings and tech trees, although the main aim of the game is to create harmony between the races after a cataclysmic event has destroyed their old world.
Developed by UK-based studio Orthrus Studios and set for a 2021 release date, Distant Kingdoms pivots the city-building genre in an interesting direction with its choose-your-own-adventure quest system built right into the gameplay.
Our game #DistantKingdoms blends city building, social management, exploration & adventure gameplay.
— Distant Kingdoms (@DistantKingdoms) November 24, 2020
City management is structured around a similar system to the Anno games, with different tiers of citizens that require certain resources to prosper. Each level of citizen, from peasant to noble, has unique buildings and cosmetic appearances. You have the freedom in Distant Kingdoms to play how you want.
There will be three different modes on the game’s release: a campaign mode, sandbox, or a half-way mode between the two, which offers some lore and events but doesn’t provide you with a strict objective.
The game is primarily a city builder and resource management game, but it’s with the inclusion of its quests/dilemma/scenarios that it begins to steer in a different direction. Self-described as a Dungeons and Dragons-esque text-based quest system, you build a roster of heroes, each with their own skills.
It’s through completing these quests – raiding dungeons, searching through haunted mansions, and gathering intel about the surrounding area – that you can expand your territory and lay claim to more of the world’s resources.
These heroes are recruited from an outside pool and might be structured around what types of buildings/citizens you have in your city. This adds a new and interesting mechanic to map exploration, one I haven’t come across in a city-builder before.
Distant Kingdoms has a fantastic art-style, blending the city-building aesthetic of Banished with some more fantastical, a bit more colorful. The game has been in development for the past three years and offers up some interesting USPs.
If the concept of a city-builder with a side-quest system built around a sort of DnD choose-your-own-adventure sounds promising, you can follow the official Distant Kingdoms Twitter page or wishlist the game on Steam to follow the updates.