Crate Entertainment, a studio created after the demise of Titan Quest’s Iron Lore, has released one game since its inception 14 years ago. That game was the extraordinarily successful Grim Dawn, an action-RPG that went on to sell over 5 million copies. Today, they’re announcing their new project, Farthest Frontier, and it’s quite the departure.
With strong Settlers vibes, Farthest Frontier is a city builder with a very bucolic focus. You control a small group of settlers, establishing a town on the wild frontiers, taming the wilderness until it’s downright arable. Have a look at the trailer:
The goal here is not rows of gleaming skyscrapers, but rather an olde worlde city, supported by what Crate describe as the “most detailed farming system ever.” Farming Simulator might want words, but FF will offer ten different crops that grow in unique ways, requiring you pay heed to the likes of crop rotation and soil fertility.
Alongside the fields are the buildings. Farthest Frontier currently sports a promising 50 building types, with all the upgrades and advancements you’d expect from the genre. There are promises of villagers who “actively live their lives and perform their jobs in real time. Watch as villagers carry goods across town from remote work-sites to be processed into materials and crafted into items.” Then such items will be hand-delivered to specific homes as requested. Promises I think every city builder makes during development, then hides them in graphs by release, but maybe this time?
Oh, and because this is pre-modern medicine, it’ll have all those diseases you miss, like scurvy, rabies and plague. And if that’s not dangerous enough for you, switch off the pacifist mode and your people can be in danger of invasion from unfriendly neighbours, too.
There’s nothing in the information available just now that suggests anything stunningly original about Farthest Frontier, with what sound like incremental advancements on many a previous city sim. However, and it’s a very important however, the same could have been said of Grim Dawn during its early pitch on Kickstarter, and that went on to be a big deal.
The timing remains interesting, however. The Settlers 8 has been in development hell for so long, but is due to finally release in a few weeks. Ubisoft’s franchise has owned this space for decades, and with Anno having gone quiet too, some rivalry here could be a great thing. Especially for those wanting to avoid Ubisoft games entirely.
Farthest Frontier doesn’t have a release date yet, but is due to find its way onto Steam’s Early Access at some point this year. Early Access was an incredibly successful route for Grim Dawn, spending four years refining itself alongside its community. It’ll be interesting to see if the same magic can happen twice, especially in such a different genre.