I’ve always got my eyes peeled for interesting upcoming city builders, and the more ambitious the better. But sometimes a game comes along that feels maybe… a little too ambitious?
I’m talking about The Bustling World, a game set in ancient China that wants to be a whole lot of different kinds of game all at once, including an open world RPG, a city builder, a crafting and exploration game, a business management sim, a war and diplomacy strategy game, a farming and survival sim… and even more. It’s a lot for a single game. Heck, it’s a lot for three or four games.
On the other hand, it looks pretty darn good so far. Here’s the trailer:
Just that three-minute look shows off so much, from commerce on busy city streets to a quiet rural life of farming and fishing. There’s also store management and home building, plus combat, stealth, raids, and even bounty hunting, and construction of everything from a humble shop to an entire city. Golly!
“You can choose to lead a tranquil life—work, engage in trade, and build a family,” says The Bustling World’s page on Steam. “Alternatively, satisfy your insatiable desires for wealth, status, and military might. Embark on daring journeys, exploring, adventuring, solving mysteries, combating bandits, and recruiting heroes. Or, aim for the peak of power through establishing influence, city planning, policy formulation, diplomatic endeavors, and territorial expansion.”
Like I said, it’s really ambitious. It’s making some pretty big claims about the level of simulation, too:
“Inhabitants, driven by their unique character traits and familial ties, dynamically shape the cityscape based on players’ interactions. They’ll make their own decisions such as to stay at home, go to work, go out for fun, move to another city, build houses, run stores, avenge their family, run away from war etc.”
So on the one hand I’m pretty skeptical—the trailer is amazing but it also doesn’t show any UI elements so it’s unclear exactly how you play this game. The Bustling World is also being developed by just two developers, a married couple, according to the game’s Kickstarter page (the campaign did not raise enough to meet its goal). The two devs have been working on the game for nearly five years, but all those features still sound like a pretty tall order.
I’m definitely interested in learning more about The Bustling City, and I sure hope it can do everything it claims—because I honestly want to do every single one of those things it says we’ll be able to do. There’s no release date yet, but here is its page on Steam.