13 January 2022

6 Min Read

the settlers

The Settlers Bring Exploration, Strategy, and a Bustling Economy to PC on March 17

The Settlers is coming to PC
on March 17, rebooting the long-running RTS franchise and challenging players to
explore new lands, build cities, and train an army, all while managing a growing
medieval economy that lets you watch your individual citizens at work. And if
you’d like to get a taste of what’s in store before then, a closed beta is
planned from January 20-24; to sign up, visit

Meet the Factions

Featuring a story-driven campaign as well as PVP/co-op Skirmish matches (which
can also be played against AI), The Settlers focuses on three factions: the
Elari (who, as refugees fleeing a military coup, take center stage in the
campaign), the Maru, and the Jorn. Each comes from a different biome, and each
has distinct advantages, abilities, architecture, and units.

“The Elari mostly come from the Forgotten Plains, a very lush and green
environment. They’re the faction known to build sturdy houses. They are
craftsmen, they are very, very inventive people,” says Game Director Nadim
Affani. “With the Maru, you have the Cursed Islands, essentially what happens to
a very fertile land if resources are taken from it too aggressively. So the land
has been experiencing drought, the lakes are salted, and this has driven the
Maru to move to the coasts over the centuries. Now they are coast dwellers, they
are people who live in close harmony with the land. They have learned from their
past, and because they live closer to the shore, they are varied in trading as

[UN] The Settlers Bring Exploration, Strategy, and a Bustling Economy to PC on March 17 - IMG 1

“Then you have the Veiled Islands, which are what happens if volcanoes and
swamps happen at the same time,” Affani says. “So [the Jorn] have a very
specific perspective on life; they take everything on as a challenge. They see a
problem, they consider it a challenge, and then they do their best to overcome
it and honor themselves for doing it. And because the Veiled Islands are quite
cold, the people there wear fur.”

Exploration, Economy, and Engineers

The Settlers draws inspiration from two fan-favorite games in the series –
specifically The Settlers III and IV – and aims to give players a similar sense
of control over their economy and military, while modernizing the classic RTS

“It's not about changing, it's about evolving,” says Creative Director Christian
Hagedorn. “Settlers III and IV had all of these specialists that used to do one
task, but you needed to have 20 units for each of those. You needed to have 20
geologists, 20 pioneers, 20 robbers. We have put them all together into the
Engineer, which has enabled the players to pay a lot more attention to what they
can do.”

[UN] The Settlers Bring Exploration, Strategy, and a Bustling Economy to PC on March 17 - IMG 2

Engineers are versatile new civilian units that form the backbone of your
settlement. Unlike your rank-and-file workers – who go about their tasks
automatically once the right facilities are built – Engineers can be commanded
to build structures and roads, discover mineral deposits, carry materials, and
expand your borders. Engineers are also the key to opening Landmarks –
mysterious ruins, caches, and raider camps scattered across each map, which hold
treasures for the player who finds them first (and can deliver the right goods
to unlock them).

“There were moments in Settlers III and Settlers IV, throughout the campaign,
where certain items were just found on the map,” says Hagedorn. “There was maybe
no context to them, but if you knew they were there, you could try to grab them.
So we grabbed onto that idea, and we evolved them into Landmarks. There’s a
challenge, there’s a reward, but the map is alive. There’s a reason to explore
all of it.”

Build an Army and March to Victory

Giving players more control over their military is another important evolution
The Settlers brings to the table, says Hagedorn. Throughout the game, you’ll be
able to build facilities that let you recruit and train basic soldiers for epic
battles, like swordsmen and archers, as well as rarer units like healers and
fire-throwers, all of which can be upgraded with new perks and abilities (which
can be researched once you build an Academy).

[UN] The Settlers Bring Exploration, Strategy, and a Bustling Economy to PC on March 17 - IMG 4

“Players were previously able to send their units around, but it was mostly
about basic commands. Now they're able to split groups, put them together, send
them with waypoints, use ambush tactics, prepare themselves, and make different
compilations of different units so they can all go together. What we're trying
to offer here are evolutions of previously very well-known mechanics.”

Combat is a vital component of The Settlers; not only will you need to defend
against regular raids and incursions from opposing factions, but military
conquest is the only real path to victory, says Hagedorn.

“When we took some extra time to finish the game, we realized that extra methods
[of achieving victory] were pulling away players’ attention from what was the
original core, which is a competition between different teams,” says Hagedorn.
“By adding more flesh into military conquest, we start to offer many more
variants, or military or strategic options, to what could be otherwise perceived
as a single track line of ‘hey, I have more, I win; I have less, I lose.’ There
are tactical possibilities: Splitting your groups, doing fake attacks, feinting,
going back, reinforcing yourself with towers, using chokepoints to your
advantage. Bringing enemies down with siege. All of these options have created
one strong victory method, which is full of options, and I think that's much
more enjoyable for players.”

In spite of the importance of combat, Hagedorn says, “there’s no faction war
going on.” In the campaign, he says, the Elari will meet and form alliances with
the Maru and the Jorn, and players will eventually play as all three factions
during the story.

[UN] The Settlers Bring Exploration, Strategy, and a Bustling Economy to PC on March 17 - IMG 5

“We can call it friendship,” says Hagedorn. “At first, it’s mutual assistance,
because they need each other, but the idea is that they grow together towards a
common place so they can find solace in each other, because each of them are
going through their own hardships. We’re trying to put all of the factions
together, and the opponents that they find are different people from those
factions who do not agree with them. So conflict rises – maybe from
misunderstandings, maybe from bad opportunities – but it will be interesting for
players to discover.”

The Settlers launches on March 17 for PC, and is included in a Ubisoft+
subscription. To sign up for the January 20 closed beta, visit
thesettlers.com, and for more on The Settlers, check
out our dedicated news hub.

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