People often talk about having been born in the wrong century or wishing they could travel back in time to “the good old days.” But let’s be honest, no one would actually want to forgo all the modern conveniences we take for granted today in exchange for living during the Middle Ages. Luckily, we can sort of have our cake and eat it too cby playing medieval games from the comfort of our homes. And, as it happens, there are more than enough new video games that can scratch that historical itch either already out or launching in the very near future.
Right off the bat it’s worth mentioning that we’re going to make a distinction between realistic medieval games and medieval-themed fantasy games. We’re going to cover both types in this list but each of them will have its own category. Why is this important? Well, the term medieval tends to be used very loosely these days in the context of video games, which often leads to misconceptions about what this historical period was really like. With that out the way, let’s go ahead and take a look at some of the best new and upcoming medieval games you should check out in 2021 and beyond.
Siege Survival: Gloria Victis
Sieges were an important part of medieval warfare and we often see them included in both historical and fantasy games. But rarely do we get a game that focuses entirely on them. That’s where Siege Survival: Gloria Victis comes in. The game, which came out a short while ago on May 18th, combines resource management and survival elements as it puts you in charge of the defense of a city besieged by a massive invading army. Your city is the only thing that stands between the enemy and the realm, so losing the siege is not an option.
Unlike what you see in most medieval games or movies, sieges tended to last for weeks or even months. That is being represented very accurately here. Siege Survival: Gloria Victis features a system somewhat similar to what you can find in This War of Mine where you scavenge for resources during the night and use them to craft supplies and infrastructure during the day. Of course, here you’re in charge of an entire city and will have to manage a lot more stuff, including the few remaining soldiers trying to hold the line.
Age of Empires IV
Age of Empires is one of the longest-running series of historical real-time strategy games around. The franchise was extremely popular back in the late 90s and early 2000s but almost ended up falling into obscurity in recent times. Sure, we’ve had the occasional remaster or HD edition but it’s been well over a decade since we’ve had a proper entry into the main series. That’s finally going to change (hopefully) later this year when Age of Empires IV launches. There’s still a lot we don’t know about the upcoming title but we can expect it to follow the formula established by its predecessors pretty closely while also introducing new features and, of course, much better graphics.
One of the game’s main selling points will be its campaigns based on historical events, one of which is set to revolve around the Norman Conquest of England. Although the game is set in the Middle Ages, a period almost always associated with Europe, Age of Empires IV will also include civilizations from other parts of the world. A few examples include the Mongols, the Chinese, and the Delhi Sultanate. Another interesting thing to note about Age of Empires IV is that the game is being developed by Relic Entertainment. The studio is known for creating some amazing (and some less than stellar) RTS games, with series such as Company of Heroes, Homeworld, and Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War. Age of Empires IV will be the studio’s first foray into medieval games.
There has been a lot of buzz surrounding this game recently thanks to its impressively positive Steam reviews. Launching in Early Access on June 1st, Going Medieval is a sandbox city builder often compared to the likes of Rimworld. Despite its overall clunkiness and occasional performance issues, Going Medieval came out in a surprisingly polished state compared to most other Early Access titles. Not bad at all for an indie project. It’s a bit early to say for sure, but if the devs keep up the good work we might be looking at another success story similar to what we’ve seen with Valheim earlier this year.
So what’s this game all about anyway? The basic gist of Going Medieval is that it takes place in an alternate history 14th-century setting where 95% of the global population was wiped off by the plague. You take control of a small group of survivors charged with rebuilding civilization pretty much from scratch. From there it’s all up to the player. You can choose to build huge sprawling colonies, massive fortified castles, agrarian-focused villages, or almost anything else you can think of. Going Medieval gives you all the tools you need to live out your medieval city-building fantasy.
Speaking of medieval city builders, next up on our list we have Manor Lords. The game is similar to Going Medieval in that it also lets you build and manage settlements, though in this case, the process is closer to what you can find in a traditional RTS. In addition to the city-building aspect, Manor Lords also focuses heavily on large-scale battles that look ripped straight out of a Total War game. There’s a surprising amount of emphasis on historical accuracy when it comes to the battles and, to some extent, the city-building aspect as well.
Manor Lords is shaping up to look like one of the most interesting upcoming medieval games we’ve seen in a while. That’s pretty impressive considering this is a one-man project, and a very ambitious one at that. The game doesn’t currently have a release date but it’s probably going to take a couple more years of development work until it’s finished by the looks of it. Luckily, we don’t have to wait that long to get a closer look at it because the game is preparing to launch in Early Access in the near future. Definitely make sure to keep an eye on this one.
Do you like fighting games but wish they could replace punching and kicking with slicing and stabbing? Well, you’re in luck because there’s a sword dueling game out there that fits that description perfectly and it goes by the name of Hellish Quart. Taking part in the 17th century Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Hellish Quart is essentially a historical fencing sim with period-accurate weapons, clothing, and fencing techniques. Not to mention realistic ragdolls and physics. The game came out on February 16 in Early Access and the reception so far has been overwhelmingly positive.
If you read our list of historically accurate video games, you already know we love what Hellish Quart has to offer. We highly recommend it if you’re a fan of HEMA or historically accurate medieval games. Since the last time we looked at it about two months ago, Hellish Quart received around a dozen or so updates containing various tweaks, bug fixes, and even some new features and content. It’s clear that the developers are putting a lot of hard work into the game and we’re eager to see what the future has in store for it.
Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord
The original Mount & Blade (and especially Warband) is the very definition of an unpolished gem. The game looked dated even for its time and was incredibly janky from start to finish. Yet in spite of all its problems, Mount & Blade managed to combine RPG and strategy elements in an incredibly unique and enjoyable experience. Now, its sequel tries to continue that legacy by making everything bigger and better while still sticking close to the original formula. Don’t get me wrong, Bannerlord is still as janky as its predecessor in many ways. But the developers over at TaleWorlds have implemented many improvements and are doing their best to make the game better and better with every new update.
Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord has been out in Early Access for over a year now so it feels a bit wrong to put it on a list of new medieval games but we just had to give it a shoutout. The game is currently marked for a Q4 2021 full release but I wouldn’t be surprised if TaleWorlds decided to push it back because there are still a lot of problems that need to be addressed. Bannerlord has the potential to become something really special but it needs a lot more polish before that can happen. The game is very fun even in its current state and we highly recommend checking it out, but maybe try to keep your expectations in check for the time being.
Chivalry 2 is one of the primary reasons why I decided to put together this list in the first place. After pouring about two dozen hours into the beta, I can say without hesitation that it was the most fun I’ve had in a multiplayer game in years. The game is unapologetically brutal and over-the-top in all the right ways. You can fight alongside your brothers in arms in massive 32v32 battles across open fields, take part in multi-phased sieges or test your skills in epic 1v1 duels.
Despite being marketed as a first-person slasher, I recommend doing yourself a favor and running it in third person unless you’re playing an archer. Sure, in first person you’ll get a better look at all the blood and gore, which is quite plentiful, but that perspective won’t help much when you’re trying to fend off three or four enemies at once while also dodging arrows and oil bombs. My only real gripe with Chivalry 2 is the lack of mounted combat. That’s quite an ironic oversight for a game called Chivalry, a word associated with knights, who were primarily mounted warriors. But hopefully that feature will be added at some point further down the road. Chivalry 2 is set to launch on June 8th across all platforms.
Medieval Fantasy Games
As mentioned near the beginning of this article, we wanted to make a clear distinction between medieval games and medieval fantasy games. The latter category includes the sort of games that feature things like magic, dragons, mythological creatures or various other fantasy themes. Yet their settings are based on or inspired by the Medieval Period, so roughly between the 5th and 15th centuries. Medieval fantasy games tend to outnumber their more historically accurate counterparts and indeed we have no less than 10 of them to look forward to in 2021 and beyond.
Hood: Outlaws and Legends
Kicking off this second part of our list is a multiplayer-focused action RPG that came out fairly recently on May 10th. Hood: Outlaws and Legends hasn’t received the best reception thus far but most people seem to agree that the core concept is quite interesting. The gameplay revolves around 4v4 battles between gangs of outlaws trying to execute the perfect heist. In addition to trying to outmaneuver and outsmart each other, the two teams also have to avoid or eliminate AI-controlled guards in order to reach the coveted treasure chest.
Similar to other games in this genre, there are different classes to pick from, each with its own set of abilities and weapons. A competitive multiplayer game that focuses on stealth and assassination is certainly not a bad idea but the game seems to have quite a few issues at the moment, which makes it difficult to recommend. If these issues can be ironed out, however, Hood: Outlaws and Legends does have the potential to become a very fun and unique game.
This is arguably one of the most obscure medieval games coming out in the near future. Lost Eidolons is the debut project of indie developer Ocean Drive Studio who managed to fund the game via Kickstarter back in May. The game is set in the fictional world of Artemesia and plays like a turn-based RPG with some strategy elements thrown into the mix. Unlike other turn-based RPGs where you get to control a small party of heroes, Lost Eidolons lets you command small armies and you can even take part in sieges by the looks of it.
At first glance, the game seems to draw some inspiration from the likes of Dragon Age, however, Lost Eidolons also has a very distinctive eastern RPG vibe going on. But that probably shouldn’t be too surprising given that Ocean Drive Studio is primarily comprised of South Korean developers. This combination of eastern and western influences is quite intriguing and we’re looking forward to seeing how the game evolves. Lost Eidolons is set to launch on Steam Early Access in Q4 of 2021. Meanwhile, the full release is expected in Q4 of 2022 at the latest.
King Arthur: Knight’s Tale
King Arthur: Knight’s Tale is the latest project of NeocoreGames, the same studio that brought us Warhammer 40K: Inquisitor – Martyr and The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing, among other things. The game launched earlier this year in Early Access accompanied by a fantastic cinematic trailer showing a dark fantasy take on the Arthurian legend. The game puts an interesting twist on things by having you play as Sir Mordred, the knight who kills King Arthur but is fatally wounded himself in the process. In this universe, both of them are brought back to life and your main mission will be to finish what you started and slay King Arthur once and for all.
The story of the game is quite interesting and the gameplay doesn’t look too bad either. By all accounts, King Arthur: Knight’s Tale started off on the right foot but the development process seems to have ground to a halt recently. Neocore Games promised monthly updates back in February but the studio only managed to deliver one update so far, as of this writing. King Arthur: Knight’s Tale has the potential to become a very good game if the developers can deliver on their original promise but as of right now their plans moving forward are unclear.
Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance
Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance is an upcoming four-player co-op action RPG that seems to want to go for a different vibe than your typical D&D game. If you look at other D&D-based games like Baldur’s Gate or Neverwinter Nights you’ll find intricate world-building and deep tactical combat. From what we’ve seen so far, there won’t be a whole lot of that in Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance. The game seems a lot more focused on the action than any meaningful RPG elements. Which could be either a good or a bad thing depending on what type of gamer you are.
Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance takes place in the Icewind Dale setting and one of its main selling points are the four playable characters, all of which are based on iconic characters from classic D&D lore. The other big reason why you may want to give Dark Alliance a shot is of course the four-player co-op mode. You can play this solo as well, but Dark Alliance looks like the very definition of a game that’s better played with friends. Ideally, friends who enjoy fast-paced third-person brawlers. Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance is set to launch on July 22nd.
Baldur’s Gate 3
Speaking of D&D stuff, here’s a game that’s a lot easier to recommend. Baldur’s Gate 3 is being developed by Larian Studios, the creators of the Divinity series, which includes the amazing Original Sin 2, and very much follows in the footsteps of the other games made by the studio. Technically, the game is (sort of) part of the same series as Dark Alliance but the gameplay is very different and stays a lot more faithful to the traditional D&D formula. In many ways, Baldur’s Gate 3 plays just like Divinity: Original Sin 2, which was a near-flawless game in our opinion.
Baldur’s Gate 3 launched on Early Access late last year so it feels a bit like cheating to put it on a list of new medieval games, just like with Bannerlord. But games like these tend to change a lot during Early Access, so the full version of Baldur’s Gate 3 is likely to be very different from the version we can play right now. At the moment, only the first act of the game is somewhat finished, with the second and third acts still being a work in progress. Larian is going with the “it’ll be ready when it’s ready” philosophy here, so it may take a couple more years or more until the game is fully completed. But you can definitely have a lot of fun even with the currently available build and we strongly recommend checking it out.
King’s Bounty 2
King’s Bounty is one of the oldest series of turn-based strategy games around. The original came out way back in 1990 and ended up serving as inspiration for the famous Heroes of Might & Magic series. HoMM overshadowed its spiritual predecessor for more than a decade but King’s Bounty eventually made a comeback in 2008 under developer 1C Entertainment and received a number of expansions over the next few years. The developer finally announced a full sequel in 2019, which is set to launch later this year in August.
Short history lesson aside, King’s Bounty 2 is shaping up to be one of the best fantasy medieval games you should have on your radar if you’re a fan of the TBS genre. The game plays a lot like HoMM during the combat stages, but everything else is much more akin to a classic RPG. Unlike its predecessors, King’s Bounty 2 looks to feature a third-person perspective outside of combat, a pretty big change for the series. And ultimately a good change in my opinion, as King’s Bounty is equal parts RPG and TBS. The new perspective works really well at immersing the player even more into the RPG side of things. King’s Bounty 2 is set to launch on August 24th.
The original Gothic, which turned 20 earlier this year, and its first sequel served as a major source of inspiration for a lot of open-world RPGs, including The Witcher 3. Yet, this series never got the attention it rightfully deserved but that will hopefully change soon. Back in late 2019 publisher THQ Nordic came out of nowhere and released the Gothic Playable Teaser in an attempt to gauge interest in a potential remake of the original game. While the teaser itself wasn’t very well received, and understandably so, the interest was definitely there and prompted the publisher to announce a full remake in early 2020.
Unfortunately, that was more than a year ago and we haven’t received any major updates since. We did get a couple of new screenshots and some artwork back in March but that’s about it. With Gothic being one of my favorite games of all time, I’m both excited and worried about the future of the remake. On one hand, the developers are building this thing from scratch now, which is great news seeing as how the teaser was pretty garbage. On the other hand, the remake is being handled by a newly formed studio instead of the original developers. The lack of information regarding their progress with the remake isn’t particularly encouraging either. Despite all of that, however, I’m still very much looking forward to the Gothic Remake and recommend you keep an eye on it as well.
Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is one of the most unique and memorable fantasy medieval games ever made. And we’re not saying that lightly. The game is an emotional roller-coaster from start to finish and touches on a number of important themes that are not often represented in video games. Or rather, not often represented well I should say. Hellblade isn’t the type of game that necessarily needed a sequel, but we’re sure glad we’re getting one anyway because there’s huge potential in the dark but beautiful world created by Ninja Theory.
Hellblade 2 was first revealed back in 2019 alongside an intense trailer that gave us a couple of clues in regards to the direction of the sequel. The action of the original took place during the Viking Age and while it focused mainly on Senua and her struggles, the game also tells about a conflict between Celts and Norsemen. The ancient Celts were long gone by the time the real Viking Age (8th to 11th centuries) came around, but Senua could have been part of a small community that still hanged onto old ways and traditions. We sort of see this in the Hellblade 2 trailer where Senua performs some sort of pagan ritual or incantation against the Vikings.
There’s not a whole lot else we know about the game at the moment but we’re likely to find out more on July 13th during the Xbox & Bethesda Showcase.
Total War: Warhammer 3
The final part of Creative Assembly’s excellent (so far) Total War: Warhammer trilogy is almost upon us. Officially announced earlier this year, TW: W3 brings with it a number of new playable factions, including Kislev and Cathay, as well as the four Chaos factions of Nurgle, Khorne, Slaanesh, and Tzeentch. More factions will likely be added further down the road, as was the case with the first two installments, but the six new factions coming at launch should be enough to keep us entertained for a long time. Especially if CA also adds a Mortal Empires style map similar to the one we have in TW: W2.
The game took the number one spot on our list of upcoming Warhammer games to keep an eye on so you can probably tell we’re really looking forward to this one. We don’t know exactly when the game will release but CA says we should expect it sometime in late 2021. That seems like a long time to wait but Total War: Warhammer 2 just got a new DLC pack that should keep us busy until the sequel comes out. If you’re unfamiliar with the series do yourself a favor and grab the second installment when you get a chance. It should give you a good idea of what to expect from Total War: Warhammer 3. Also, you will need it to unlock more playable races in the upcoming game, so there’s that too.
Dragon Age 4
Bioware is slowly making its way back into our good graces thanks to the recently released Mass Effect Legendary Edition. However, the company needs to deliver a new big hit to make up for Anthem, and Dragon Age 4 could be exactly that. Although the game is still shrouded in secrecy, we have seen Bioware and EA talk about it more often recently, which seems like a good sign that the development process is going well. We even got a cinematic trailer a while back focusing on Solas, though no gameplay just yet, unfortunately.
The question on everybody’s mind now is, will Dragon Age 4 be fully revealed at E3 2021? And the answer is maybe. While EA will be present in some capacity at E3 this year, the publisher will be hosting its own event on July 22nd dubbed EA Play Live. It seems more likely that Dragon Age 4 will be showcased there. Either way, it would be fantastic to hear some fresh Dragon Age news in the near future regardless of where it comes from. Dragon Age Inquisition launched more than six years ago at this point so it’s definitely been a while since the last entry in Bioware’s excellent series.
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