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Thrive: Heavy Lies the Crown is inspired by god games like Black & White

Become a tyrant or create a utopia in this city-builder with a RTS spin
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PlaySide Publishing and Zügalü Entertainment have announced their first joint project, Thrive: Heavy Lies the Crown. A city-builder with a real-time strategy twist, this game is taking lots of inspiration from classic god games like Black & White. Players can choose to rule over their people in a benevolent way or follow a path towards tyranny.

Each of these paths not only will offer players different buildings and units to solve challenges ahead, but features a distinctive visual style reflecting their leadership. For example, a mill to grind wheat into flour created by a benevolent ruler will be powered by wind, whereas a more tyrannically inclined ruler’s mills are going to be powered by forced labor – including a cruel overseer cracking his whip.

Thrive: Heavy Lies the Crown keyart.

Thrive: Heavy Lies the Crown is a city-builder about hard choices.

Thrive: Heavy Lies the Crown takes place in a medieval setting that’s generally pretty realistic, but contains some fantasy elements – like the large mystic threat looming around the corner. Think of Game of Thrones as a direction. Zügalü wants to provide lots of replayability value through the path systems as well the event-driven narrative of the game, which offers players many different roads to take, which in turn lead to them unlocking different kinds of buildings or units.

Speaking of units, Thrive: Heavy Lies the Crown features full RTS combat and provides some depth to this system by requiring players to actually supply their armies with food – offensives will need to be carefully planned and prepared, for an army marches on its stomach. Wasteful generals must be cautious as well, because manpower is drawn from your actual townspeople, which means that heavy losses will have a direct impact on your economy. Losses will decrease the morale of your people as well when families realize that their fathers, brothers, and husbands will not return from your latest expedition.

Showing the cost of war is one of the focuses of the game, one of the developers told me at gamescom 2023.

Thrive: Heavy Lies the Crown will contain a single-player campaign as well as multiplayer with up to four players. It will be released on PC in 2024, but a beta test will be available towards the end of 2023 for people to try.

Visit for more gamescom 2023 coverage.