Stronghold 3 presents the new entry to the series devoted to construction of medieval villages and castles as well as to waging wars. The line-up was created by the UK-based Firefly Studios. Their first game, Stronghold (2001), was an unusual RTS-hybrid with an intriguing economic model entrenched with castle-building duties.
Certainly, there you often had to fight enemies. The opponets were keen to destroy your keep and were frequently invading your lands, but you could beat them not only at the expense of manpower, but also with placing of ingenious traps behind the walls.
Stronghold: Crusader (2002) and its more complex version, Stronghold Crusader: Extreme (2008) became the thematic variation of the same game formula, but with minor changes and the landscape set in the sandy deserts. Stronghold 2 (2005), by contrast, tried to explore the area of innovations. In many ways, the increased responsibilities of a medieval lord has already included fighting local crime and punishment system and waste micromanagement as well.
Among other important things, for points of prestige you could acquire the neighboring county, receiving from them some resourceful tribute. However, the main innovation at that time was the brand-new graphics engine bringing the series into the 3D-environment. It is noteworthy that Stronghold 2 was well-received in sales than its predecessor, though, the enemy AI there seemed to be somewhat weaker.
Stronghold Legends (2006) featured and 24-missions long campaign and went to explore the world of fantasy. Along with the overall simplification for the first time the game offered to deal with some fairytale and mythology creatures having various skills. These beasts could accompany your usual sodiers during any assaults.
The global economic crisis tried to shaking the PC platform place in the modern game development. However, Firefly Studios looks to be confident that the time for successful strategies on consoles has yet to come. So the remarkable Stronghold series stays a rare PC-exclusive nowadays. Stronghold 3 will come out in October of 2011.
Its international publisher is the US-based SouthPeak Games. By the way, the latter owns the Gamecock Media Group, which a few years ago launched Stronghold Crusader: Extreme. Further on, we’ll summarize everything we currently know about the upcoming game.
At the core of Stronghold 3 still lies the same idea of managing your own castle along with its associated infrastructure. Being a Lord can be difficult, but still easier this particular time around. The game made another step towards realism in managing your housing assets. Earlier you could place hovels where you like even at remote islands where they were completely safe from possible enemy attacks, and many players started to adapt this tactics.
Now the capacity of a house is influenced by a distance to it from your keep. The farther the building is placed, the fewer citizens will find accomodation inside. Surely, limited space will still be a challenge, since you always have to decide what valuable constructions should be kept closer to your castle, where it is easier to fefend them. The crime and the torture features have been completely excluded not to tire you out with managing them.
Campaign missions in Stronghold 3 will take place not only in day time, but also at nights. Once, for example, your garrison will be required to withstand an enemy’s attack in a total darkness. Here you will definitely feel the improved lightning system, which is one of the notable features of the third episode.
In previous titles of series the sun was always shining on the battlefield, but now you will greet different parts of a daytime cycle including dusk, day, dawn or night. Fire will become your closest friend in the darkness allowing you to set it on to a haystack from which the flame will be spread on across the nearest trees. Lighting the lamps on watchtowers will help to detect upcoming enemies, and men with torches can light up the way for the armies.
The in-game camera will provide various views over the battlefield from the bird’s eye height to close zooming. It can be especially handy, when you are building a castle in Stronghold 3. There you will also enjoy greater freedom with placing wall sections not only in straight lines. All of this will certainly affect your tactical opportunities. When building a keep in the hills area, you can narrow some special places to fill them with dangrous traps for any invaders.
The physics model in the game is powered by the famous Havok engine. It is another big step forward towards creation of more spectacular battles. For example, soldiers can now fall of a cliff or walls, and the guards can be killed by walls falling into pieces. The wooden logs will roll further if the way’s starting point is higher, and also you will once again meet the returning pots of boiling oil. Though this isn’t a complete list of all the new intrigued additions.
Stronghold 3 in-game graphics promised to deliver advanced building lights and create some stunning arrow clouds effects which will burn in the darkness. All the building and siege engins are fully destructible, and the walls can be crushed in various of ways including making a holes in them. The weather conditions will also vary from sunday mornings to dark rainy storms. Hopefully, they can influence in-game physics as well.
The authors spent a lot of time learning the Medievail history and the life of their inhabitants, often, surrendered to the mercy of the invaders because of disease and starvation effects. So fans of the series Stronghold remember the possibility of throwing dead cows to enemy’s camp.
However, this time creature weapons are presented in different sizes. Pigs, sheeps and others are used to provoke an epidemy inside the castle walls. To save your villagers, you will have to quickly improve the town’s health system adding some new pharmacies to the attacked areas. Though one healer won’t save you from all the problems, and you will need to supply him with more help, what adds an extra layer of urban planning to the gameplay in Stronghold 3.
The return of the series to the original roots is certainly a positive move for the whole franchise. The new innovations introduced to the graphics, lighting system and in-game physis are to be welcomed as well. However, the team at Firefly Studios believes that the entertaining gameplay is more important than the visuals for this particular case, and we do agree, while keep on waiting for our new chance to battle the even more evil Wolf.
Stronghold 3 will be released worldwide on PC on the 18th of October, 2011.
See also: Interview with Simon Bradbury about the game.
From dusk till dawn with a Medieval castle
Stronghold 3 is the long-awaited third installment in the award winning castle-building series. Set 10 years after the original, the Wolf has cheated death, and during his painful recovery he’s become even more bitter and twisted. Now he seeks revenge. Raiding villages and towns during the dead of night, the Wolf has created a tide of panic. You and your allies are the only force that stand against him. In this stunning new update to the world’s favorite Castle Sim – will you triumph by day or die by night?
- Attack or defend accurately re-created castles from the pages of history;
- Dramatic night time sieges add a new dimension to the Stronghold franchise;
- Watch your village spring to life in an amazing depiction of medieval village life;
- Story-driven gameplay engages players across two campaigns: combat or economic;
- Realistic physics and cutting-edge graphics make siege warfare more brutal than ever;
- Besiege other players’ castles or defend your own in a range of several action-packed online multiplayer modes;
- Build and manage mighty castles with an improved building system allowing unprecedented levels of realism and intricacy.