Manor Lords publisher explains why we don't know the game's price yet, confirms special launch sale: "We're not trying to squeeze every last dollar out of people"

 Manor Lords.
Manor Lords.

What you need to know

  • Manor Lords, an ambitious medieval city-builder from Slavic Magic solo developer Greg Styczeń, is finally releasing in Early Access on Friday. However, its price still hasn't been announced, confusing many fans looking forward to its launch.

  • The CEO of the game's publisher, Hooded Horse, has taken to Reddit to clear things up in a new post.

  • One reason Hooded Horse isn't revealing the price is because it wants to avoid confusion about the game's cost in non-US countries, as not everybody understands how Steam regional pricing works. Another is that the publisher doesn't want to make it easier for "gray market" scam stores to sell players fake preorder keys for the game.

  • Additionally, the post confirms that Manor Lords won't have AAA pricing, and that its release will be accompanied by a special launch sale. "There's going to be a fair price there at launch with a fair discount."

Manor Lords — a highly anticipated medieval city-builder from Slavic Magic solo developer Greg Styczeń — is the most wishlisted game on Steam right now, and is slated to release April 26 in Early Access on Steam, GOG, the Microsoft Store, and PC Game Pass. Even though its public launch is just two days away, though, its price hasn't been announced yet, which has led to quite a lot of confusion amongst fans excited for its arrival.

This has prompted Tim Bender, CEO of Manor Lords' publisher Hooded Horse, to explain the situation in a new post to the game's subreddit. In it, he notes that Hooded Horse doesn't like to announce the price of its new games until they release, as "sharing the US price alone will lead to misunderstandings" about how expensive it will be in other regions. Though Steam has regional pricing — a feature adjusts game prices on a per-region basis to account for things like currency exchange rates and average wages — not everyone is aware of this.

"We don’t like to declare a price in advance of release. Because sharing the US price alone will lead to misunderstandings. People will be concluding the game is unaffordable in their region when at launch they will have pricing that will work for them," Bender wrote. "And whatever disclaimers we’d attach would probably be dropped when it is repeated elsewhere causing a bunch of people to lose hope and feel the game won’t be affordable in their country."

Manor Lords
Manor Lords

Bender also stated that another reason Hooded Horse isn't announcing a price pre-release is because it would make it easier for "gray market" scam stores to attempt to sell fake Manor Lords preorders. Even though they don't have any actual keys to sell, a price listing that matches what the game's publisher confirmed may trick fans into thinking they do.

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"They don’t have any keys, and they aren’t going to be getting any from us. But they are attempting to capitalize on the hype, and, despite our stance that we are NOT doing pre-orders because we don’t want to take your money until after release, they are claiming to take pre-orders for key sales," Bender explained. "They have no idea what the price will be, so they are taking their wild guesses and probably figuring they can get a key through some questionable means later (or just leave the customer not getting what they paid for if not perhaps)."

Ultimately, Hooded Horse's reasoning here makes perfect sense, though I do wish this explanation was given earlier. Still, I'm glad we finally have an official statement and some detailed context, as people have been asking about this for a long time.

Manor Lords
Manor Lords

Of course, the question of "what will the price be?" has still gone without an answer, though Bender thinks you shouldn't worry about it: "As a publisher, Hooded Horse has never done AAA pricing on a game. We have no current plans to do so, no matter how popular a game is." So, there you have it — hard confirmation that Manor Lords won't be in the $60-70 range. Most previous releases from the publisher have been around $30-40, so I'd say it's safe to expect an MSRP in that ballpark.

Notably, the CEO capped off the post with confirmation that Manor Lords will have a launch sale, commenting that it's historically sold new games for 10-25% off during their opening weeks. "We're not trying to squeeze every last dollar out of people, we won't be putting up 5 editions with a spreadsheet needed to understand them or locking up content into Day 1 DLC or any of that crap. There's going to be a fair price there at launch with a fair discount."

Regardless of whether it launches at five dollars or fifty, Manor Lords is a game I can't recommend enough to city-builder and/or strategy fans. As I wrote in my Early Access review, it's one of the most addicting games I've played in recent years, and I'm not even the type of person that's drawn to this genre often. If you are, you're sure to love it even more than I do. It's coming to Xbox at some point, too, so keep an eye out for its eventual release there if you're on console.