Steampunk City Builder Lethis Announced

Steampunk style might never again look as cool as it did in (and on) the hands of Justin Bieber, but we shouldn’t give up on steampunk simply because it’s peaked. It’s looking good in Lethis: Path of Progress, a newly-announced city-building sim set in a world kicking off a steam-powered industrial revolution. That’s perhaps an interesting setting for a city-builder because the disparity between rich and poor, those who run the city and those who keep it running, is so marked in industrial eras. Lethis is pretty, at the very least. Come watch the announcement trailer.

Lethis: Path of Progress will put players in charge of building steampunk cities, making them opulent with architectural boasts to honour the Emperor, swanky squares, and all that while also expanding production, trading, and handling problems like pollution and class warfare. Sounds tricky, that. Our own industrial revolution could be a dirty, cruel, and bloody thing. As well as specific missions, it’ll have a sandbox to play in.

Developers Triskell Interactive cite the ’90s build ’em ups of Impressions Games, which include series like Caesar and Pharaoh, as a big influence.

They plan to release Path of Progress later this year. For now, they’re having a crack a Steam Greenlight, which is also where you’ll find the most information about the game. Here’s the announcement trailer, which I do like for quietly revealing a lot by showing everything going on around one single building:


  1. jeeger says:

    “Big influence” from City Builder games? That walker mechanic is exactly the same thing. I don’t know why one would buy a modern City Builder game though — in my opinion, the old games have aged really well and they’re still lots of fun. If the “steampunk” theme is used well, I could be persuaded though.

    I do like the look though — extremely clean and quite detailed.

    • Lacero says:

      It can’t be the same as the impressions ones, their layout has hundreds of junctions. Any impressions city would burn down in minutes looking like that.

      • jeeger says:

        Okay, that’s true. Doesn’t keep it from looking very similar though.

  2. RARARA says:

    Peak Steampunk? He wasn’t even wearing goggles!

    • Alice O'Connor says:

      He is at the start – when they’re needed. Justin is blue collar steampunk, wearing goggles to do his work, while those fops with goggles on their top hats are posh folk who think that poor is coo-oo-ooo-oo-oool.

      • RARARA says:

        Ah. Yes. Point taken.

        (Of course, your comment on posh folks’ fashion is deliciously ironic since Bieber’s sagging trouser has been appropriated from poor American prisoners not being allowed to wear belts so that they can’t be used for murder and suicide.)

      • April March says:

        They don’t think poor people are cool, they think they’re smashing, jolly chap.

  3. Distortion says:

    I think I missed the steam, and I don’t think I saw any punk running around there…

    I kind of picture more….I don’t know, exposed pipes or something. Maybe I’m just being a grumpy person, but I love steampunk and this looks more like…just a Victorian period city builder. I really hope there’s more to it than just labeling a resource “steam” and calling it steampunk. To me, there’s a certain expectation set when you put a label like that on your game, and I’m not seeing it really here.

    • RARARA says:

      Maybe instead of electricity, they’ll have high pressure steam pipes running throughout the city, which are powering pneumatic appliances!

      • Distortion says:

        “Greetings city builder! welcome to your town! click here to give your citizens steam powered hair dryers!”

        Uhm…sure *click*

        “Great! Your citizens are now 15% more steampunk than before! If only you could see inside those buildings, why, all the steampunkery would amaze you. Trust me, they are totally steaming it up punk style in there, despite what those boring exteriors look like. Yes indeed, it’s all whirring gears and flashing lights”

        • TechnicalBen says:

          Why my dear whipper-snapper, have you not heard?
          “Juuuuuuuust Glue Some Gears on it…!”

          link to

          • Distortion says:

            I had not heard that, I have been living deprived and did not know it.

            So yea…basically that.

      • Gap Gen says:

        Or, like, natural gas, which powered homes and streetlights at one point. I admit I’m a little tired with “STEAM CAN DO ANYTHING [launches steam jetpack to the Moon]” thing. Obv it’s not wrong or bad or whatever, it just gets in the way of what made steampunk a worthwhile concept in the first place.

    • Lacero says:

      There is a woman walking past the building with a little steam powered spider box following her.

    • SquireBev says:

      Agreed. If it looked more like Vendigroth, or even Tarant, I’d be a happy boy.

  4. Eawyne says:

    There’s something that bothers me to no end in so many games lately is that sad overuse of “grayish” tones. Just look at screenshots from Pharaoh, Zeus or Emperor and come back to this. Where’s the sun ? Where are the colors ? It’s a bit of a nitpick but it really puts me away from such games, that I wish I could love more…

    • Gap Gen says:

      You can use it well as a mood thing in cases like this one. For example, you could imagine industrial browns and greys for low-income workers’ housing and factories, then shift to lighter tones and shades for the richer districts.

  5. Gap Gen says:

    I mean, is it steampunk if you’re just describing the Industrial Revolution? I think there’s a lot of scope for dealing with issues of income inequality and class struggles that grew as the 1800s progressed in this kind of thing, and I sort of feel like a lot of steampunk has lost its way by focussing on the aesthetic rather than, say, Moorcock’s take on alternate histories post-1900. I’m tentatively pretty interested by this if it takes a stab at stuff like this.

  6. Stardog says:

    It looks awesome. Caesar/Emperor are some of my favourite games.

    I wonder if the walker system is updated to be more like Caesar 4, because if not the game can get old when you find the perfect layout.

  7. Shardz says:

    This sounds cool, but the general color palette seems a bit dull to me. All the buildings kind of just meld together into one big mass of medium ranged tones. Even the grass seems washed out in my eyes. After playing several Kairosoft sims on Android, it’s difficult to look at.

    • SquireBev says:

      Might be just me, but it looks a lot like the rows of terraced houses on the “Not Blackpool, Honest!” map in RollerCoaster Tycoon.

  8. smr1973 says:

    For the love of pete, can any currently-being-developed city builder PLEASE at least put in diagonal roads and building facings? No city ever, much less older ones, had rigid 90-degree-angle roads everywhere :(