by Sergio Brinkhuis
previewed on PC
I’ve been following The Guild 3 like a hawk since it was first announced. It’s been four long years but the game is finally nearing completion and is expected to hit Steam Early access somewhere next month. We had a chance to catch up with producer Heinrich Meyer and studio boss Jean-René Couture at Gamescom to talk about their labour of love.
If this is the first time you have heard of The Guild 3 and are wondering what all the fuss is about, let me give you a crash course. The Guild is like… The Sims for boys! You are put in charge of a family in medieval times. From humble beginnings you work your way up to the very top of society using trading, crafting, and scheming as your weapons. You will build businesses, manage supply routes, hire staff and fend off anyone who is ambitious enough to stand in your way. That’s The Guild in a nutshell.
Polishing it up
Last year we saw how some of the game’s UI was undergoing a transformation to being a bit clearer and less frilly. This time, only the game options screen was left in the old style and the difference was striking. With fewer distractions and a few optimizations the UI was definitely easier to understand.
It is not the only effort being made to streamline the game a bit before its release. One new feature that newcomers will definitely appreciate is that the area in which you start is somewhat limited. Instead of letting users roam around the entire map of the city and its surrounding lands – which can be confusing as hell if you haven’t played before – players now have a miniature sandbox in which to get acquainted with the game and its primary mechanics. Once you have proven your mettle and reach “Citizen” status the rest of the map is unlocked. Another improvement can be found in the in-game menus. If you’ve played The Guild 2 you will remember getting lost in its spider web of menus. Half way through the game it could be a real pain selecting one of your businesses, find a town – or worse – a market within a town. The Guild 3 takes pity on its fans and has a range of easy to manipulate filters that will make the search a lot less frustrating.
In my previous report I mentioned that players would no longer get the flying start they got in the previous games and would have to ply their trade in a more moderate fashion before they could afford to buy a workshop. The way this will work is a bit clearer now. Jean-René gave the example of starting as an herbalist. You would start by foraging plants and herbs with curative power and producing simple medicines from them. You have limited tools and no good place to work so it’s all very amateurish. Buyers may not even be fully certain that the medicines actually work but it can’t hurt to try, right? If you do well at this level you will be able to afford a workshop which opens up new recipes, improves your wares and gets you better customers.
And there’s more
There’s a few other improvements we talked about. There is more emphasis on personal development which helps you work on your negotiation skills, ability to handle alcohol and so on. Markets are now placed outside of the city which should cut down on the time required to gather resources and sell wares. A very welcome addition is the ability to purchases a horse which will help you traverse faster between towns and increases how much you can carry around. Lastly, it’s possible to send your family on trips across Europe, conducting trade and other business.
I asked Heinrich and Jean-René how they felt going Early Access soon and they are both thrilled and a tiny bit nervous. Not because they didn’t think the game was ready for it, but because their hard work would finally be judged by the fans. The Guild 3 has been a long time in the making and Jean-René said he was thankful for THQ Nordic giving them the time and space to do it right. I think I may be thrilled and a bit nervous myself – this waiting for The Guild 3 is driving me nuts!