Solo dev behind unique city-building game is "trying not to fear the reviews" as it launches against genre titans: "Whether it's loved, or not, it's my life's work"

 Bulwark: Falconeer Chronicles.
Bulwark: Falconeer Chronicles.

Tomas Sala, the solo dev behind the upcoming Bulwark: Falconeer Chronicles, is preparing for his extremely unique take on city builders and strategy games to launch against a pair of that space's most established names.

Calling Bulwark a city-building game is pretty reductive - the official description of it as "an open-world builder" is probably more apt - but it taps into the same spirit of resource gathering and expansion that powers all the best city-building games. Yet while the spirit is the same, the mechanics are not.

Bulwark asks you to effectively paint the connections between various resources and your outposts. You don't directly spend resources to construct buildings - instead, you sculpt out pathways, building spokes between the hubs of your civilization. You can try it out for yourself with a demo available on Steam, and if you've got any interest in strategic building games I think it's worth a shot.

But launching something unique can be intimidating, especially for a solo dev like Sala. "Two days until Bulwark and I'm trying not to fear the reviews," he says on Twitter. "This is as original and innovative a game as I can make, there is nothing like it. For whatever idiosyncratic faults, there will never be anything like it again. So whether it's loved, or not, it's my life's work."

The game is set to launch on March 26 - the very same day that Ubisoft's reboot of The Settlers comes to Steam and strategy titan Paradox Interactive is going to publish the Civ-style 4X title Millennia. "Can one innovative indie game stand against two builder/strategy giants stuck in the past?" Sala asks in another tweet.

If the "Falconeer" in Bulwark's subtitle sounds familiar, that's because of Sala's previous project, The Falconeer, which was basically to Star Wars: Rogue Squadron as Bulwark is to SimCity. That is to say it's also a very unique take on the spirit of a classic genre. Both games are set in the same fictional universe.

To survive as an indie dev, "I must reuse everything," Sala said as he pivoted from an aerial combat sim to a hotly-anticipated city builder.