Manor Lords creator "kind of" agrees that he isn't really a solo dev but says he's earned the title because "if I quit, it's game over"

Manor Lords
(Image credit: Slavic Magic)

Manor Lords developer Greg Styczeń says he's thinking of a new term to replace 'solo dev' when referring to himself after pushback from a competing game developer.

Since the hit city builder launched late last month, it's been said that it was developed by a single developer. This all started from the game's own marketing, with its official website saying it was "hand crafted by a solo developer." However, some folks are now challenging whether Styczeń deserves to be called that since, technically, he isn't the only person working on the game.

Namely, Crate Entertainment studio head Arthur Bruno, who released the city builder Farthest Frontier into early access in August 2022, told PC Gamer "it drives me nuts" that Manor Lords is generally considered a solo effort while his game isn't.

It's no secret that Styczeń, under his studio moniker Slavic Magic, had some help with Manor Lords thanks to his Patreon and a hefty grant from Epic Games a couple of years back. However, I reckon in this case Styczeń didn't stop using the term solo dev because he remains the primary creative driver behind the title as well as the only developer actively working on the meat of the game.

"I want to address some devs being angry that I call myself a solo dev even though my credits are so long," Styczeń said. "I agree! Kind of. I face a huge pressure to grow and hire and it's slowly happening. But also, THIS is the 'mocap department'. My best friends in child photography studio."

Not to take sides here, but I definitely wouldn't be surprised if it's fairly commonplace for "solo devs" to take on outsourced work and still refer to themselves that way. In Manor Lords case, Styczeń says he hired a few extra programmers in April to deal with build issues and because he and publisher Hooded Horse wanted to "mitigate risk." And although he says he'll think up a new term for himself going forward, he maintains that he's "earned the solo thing" because Manor Lords would crash into the ground if he simply got up and stopped working on it.

"'I'm going to start telling people I'm a solo dev that's just being helped out by a number of employees' says FF developer, it's a fair criticism and I get it, but I think he doesn't understand that if I quit, it's game over, no more ML. If he quits his studio, nothing changes."

Step aside, Drake and Kendrick, there's a new beef in town.

Meanwhile, the Manor Lords dev recently asked what the city builder should do next in Early Access, and the community is split.

Jordan Gerblick

After scoring a degree in English from ASU, I worked as a copy editor while freelancing for places like SFX Magazine, Screen Rant, Game Revolution, and MMORPG on the side. Now, as GamesRadar's west coast Staff Writer, I'm responsible for managing the site's western regional executive branch, AKA my apartment, and writing about whatever horror game I'm too afraid to finish.