Scheduled for release in Q3 of this year, our recent demo was the first time we laid eyes on Port Royale 4. Focusing on trading and conquest in colonial times, it features four distinct single player campaigns that focus on the English, Dutch, Spanish and French forces. Which country you choose to follow will affect the scenarios and gameplay that follow, for example by being more combat or trade-oriented and having different tech trees.
The latest in the Port Royale series also features more city building aspects, some of which we got to see during our developer-guided time with the game. Building a plantation, for instance, can give boosts to nearby buildings (and or adjacent plantations). Everything’s handled through a dynamic game map as well, which you can use for a broad overview or for the option to zoom into your town and add to or modify it with new buildings and features.
Zooming out wider, you can start working on your trade routes between the islands and towns you’ve discovered, as long as you’re not at war with them and have paid for the rights to conduct trade. Because the maps are realized in 3D, the depth of the water also becomes a factor, affecting currents and forcing you to steer clear of certain areas during bad weather conditions. Setting up trade routes to account for these things is easy to do, but might mean you’re taking a longer time to get places (at a lower risk).
Also new for the series is a turn-based combat for your ships, as you face off against other nations and/or pirates on the high seas. We briefly got to see this mode in action as well, showcasing a grid-based system where positioning your ship (in close harmony with the move/attack points you have) quickly becomes crucial. This’ll be an interesting part of the game for those who enjoy turn-based strategy, but if you don’t then you can always choose to auto-resolve these battles.
Our guess is that Port Royale’s not coming out before September, so hopefully we’ll catch it again at a trade show in the summer.
The video below shows the brand new turn-based combat that features in the game, with explanations coming from the developer.