Ubisoft has officially unveiled the latest game in Blue Byte's long-running Settlers series. It's called The Settlers - Rise of An Empire, and will be out on the PC this September.
As ever, the player's job is to establish a settlement and help it to thrive, building towns in the game's medieval setting, helping build the economy through resource-gathering, goods production and trading, and protecting the group from outsiders. With their tricks.
For the first time ever you'll also find yourself looking after female settlers, with the menfolk eyeing them up and potentially marrying them. To this end, you can employ entertainers and travelling fairs to help them get to know each other.
You will also need to become a master of diplomacy when it comes to dealing with people Not Of The Village, with road-planning elements, mining, and lots of building upgrades to consider, too, not to mention the impact of the weather and seasons on things like expansion and resource-gathering. There'll be four climatic zones in the new Settlers world, and the differences will be pronounced enough to influence gameplay.
Blue Byte is also promising lavish visuals this time, with each settler distinguishing him or herself through individual routines, actions and other behaviours that you ought to be able to spot.
It'll be brought together in such a way that you can get into it easily, but will still find new stuff to get on with the further you get into the game. You'll even run into the odd noble knight.
What's more, in addition to the single-player mode and freeplay option, Blue Byte's promising multiplayer over LAN and internet, and a map editor so that you can cobble together your own playgrounds.
It all sounds jolly exciting, and looks that way too, as you can see in our burgeoning screenshot gallery and the accompanying Eurogamer TV trailer. We're hoping to get a hands-on fairly soon, so check back for more rising empires in the near future.
Will you support Eurogamer?