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Songs of Conquest graduates from Early Access in 2024

Lavapotion’s love letter to Heroes of Might and Magic is nearing its full release
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The Songs of Conquest developers love their genre and the game they created inside of it – and they’re a bunch of goofballs, as I got to experience at gamescom 2023 when I dropped by the Coffee Stain booth for a bout of Lavapotion’s turn-based strategy game. We had ourselves a little hot seat match during which they chatted to me about the title and what it’s like to play around in their favorite sandbox as a job.

Turns out, it’s pretty awesome. Obviously, Heroes of Might and Magic is still the number one title every entry into this sub-genre has to compare itself with, but the developers don’t let nostalgia blind their vision. Songs of Conquest is inspired by HoMM and Age of Wonders, but it’s not a dull copy. “Wouldn’t it be better if this thing worked that way, and not the other way around?,” is one of the key questions the team asked itself over the years when playing their favorite games of the genre, and Songs of Conquest is the result of those deliberations.

Songs of Conquest screenshot of Barya.

A town of the Barya faction, which completes Songs of Conquest's launch line-up.

All systems in Songs of Conquest are incredibly well thought out and influence each other like a bunch of tiny gears in a well-oiled and intricately designed machine. For example, your army compositions will have great influence on the available magic spells for the hero leading it as each unit brings a certain amount of magic types to the table. While it’s always a great idea to build an army around a hero’s strengths and weaknesses, in Songs of Conquest this system is a lot more flexible and rewarding. Towns are sprawling entities with several structures you can build, not just a single keep stuffed full of different tabs.

Little improvements like that compared to its spiritual prequels are a continual theme in the game.

Lavapotion basically consists of a bunch of fanboys getting to make their perfect game, and that gets very apparent when you hear them explain everything. They also admit that they “have the luxury” of time on their side, since their financial situation allows them to spend a good deal of effort on fine tuning even the smallest details, which brings us to what’s next for Songs of Conquest.

Songs of Conquest roadmap for 2023/2024.

Here's your roadmap for the Songs of Conquest release.

Q3 of 2023 will see a host of improvements on the technical side as well as some new events and other small content pieces. Q4 of 2023 brings with it the official start of Steam Deck support – I’ve seen a little bit of the game on the Deck, and the old-school visuals look great on it. Funnily enough, Lavapotion only got the idea for Steam Deck support after fans managed to get Songs of Conquest to run on the device by themselves. After that, the developers asked themselves “Why not?” and ran with it. This will go hand in hand with gamepad support and achievements.

Then, in Q1 of 2024, Songs of Conquest will get its 1.0 version – full release. This update will include the Barya Campaign, more AI improvements, and a wave of skirmish maps. Beyond that? Well, going by the smirk the developers were giving me, they have some more trump cards up their sleeves.

Right, I wanted to tell you why these guys are goofballs: They showed me the title’s auto-resolve feature for battles and then had me undo the result of a fight to see if I could do better. During the unfolding battle, I naively trusted them when they told me to use a certain spell – now, the name “Apocalypse” should have given me a hint, but surely they had my best interest in mind, right? Anyway, the spell blasted away more of my own troops than of my enemy’s, giving me a Pyrrhic victory in the end – much worse than the auto-resolve, naturally.

Honestly, 10/10, would play another hot seat game with them.

Songs of Conquest is out on PC via Early Access and will get a full release in 2024. You can currently get the game with a hefty 50% discount during Steam Strategy Fest 2023. For more gamescom 2023 coverage, check videogames.si.com.