Every action has a consequence when building a home.

Have you ever gotten tired of those same old city-building games with the huge skyscrapers and modern townhouses always in need of constructing, and those pockets full of endless in-game currency? Well it turns out you aren’t the only one. A new game called Banished is set to bring the city-building genre back to the basics, and simulate the creation of an idle forest town, with nothing but the land on your side.

Banished is being made by a one-man development team called Shining Rock Software, who used to work in console game development for Xbox 360 and PS3 titles. In the game, players will control a group of exiled travelers, who must band together with nothing but the clothes on their backs, and establish their own town and sense of community completely from scratch. The top-down view works perfectly for this type of city-building simulation, and the serene woodland aesthetics of the different towns you can manage are strongly reminiscent of something you might come across in an Elder Scrolls game. The scenery changes with the seasons, and there is a ton of detail in the game’s design: right down to the billowing smoke that rises out of the chimneys.

The game will employ some really neat survival challenges, such as making it through the winter by crafting warmer clothes and burning firewood. However, as the Banished announcement page explains: necessities have a price. For instance, cutting down a forest will reduce the deer population that you will be able to hunt. If you continually farm in the same place for many seasons, you run the risk of ruining the soil. Wandering nomads can increase your population and provide for more manual labor, but also bring with them the chance of new illnesses from faraway lands. Every action you take in Banished has a real-life consequence for your group of travelers.

The inhabitants of Banished function just the same as the inhabitants of any real-life civilization: they are born, they grow old, they work, and they die. Building families and establishing homes is the key to success in the game, as you ensure the continued growth and survival of your population. Players can hunt, fish, and trade with neighboring communities, and they can even start families of their own as the cycle of life repeats itself. One of the coolest things about the game is that there are no skill trees in Banished, no money, and any higher-end structure can be built at any time, provided your travelers can obtain the necessary resources to do so.


The release of Banished is currently planned for some time in the second half of 2013, but if you’re itching for some more naturalistic city cultivation right now, then you can check out the Shining Rock Software blog for frequent updates on the game, as well as new screenshots and early gameplay videos (those animations for chopping down trees look amazing!). The blog also gives some really cool developmental and industry insights from someone who’s been there before: like the manipulation of screenshots with increased resolutions, and the constant battle with long loading times.