Caesar With Cogs – Lethis: Path of Progress Trailer

Cit me up.

The vintage build ’em ups of Impressions Games (them lot behind Caesar and Pharaoh) were cited as influences in the announcement of steampunk city-builder Lethis: Path of Progress [official said] last month, but oh me oh my I hadn’t realised it’d be quite so much like them. A new six-minute gameplay trailer shows the early stages of establishing a city, starting from tents, caravans, and a whole lot of mud, and yep, this sure is Impressions-y. If you dug those, you’ll likely dig this.

The steampunk angle doesn’t quite come into play at this early stage of a city, but Lethis will kick right on through big industrial revolutions with grand buildings and spiderbots. Handling the dirty bits and social problems industrialisation brings will be a challenge as well as plain old city-optimising. Along with challenge missions, it’ll have a sandbox mode to build your steampunk dreams. Forge an opulent city, have those whose blood it cost rise up, smash the looms, extinguish the boilers, tear it all down, return to the forests, return to the seas, dive down, bury ourselves in the mud, become diamonds, vaporise in the death throes of the sun, end with the universe.

Developers Triskell Interactive plan to release Path of Progress later this year. Lethis is to be a wider steampunk universe they’ll set more games in.


  1. Gap Gen says:

    I hope an announcer repeatedly says “MORE COGS ARE NEEDED”

  2. Martel says:

    I’m definitely keeping an eye on this one as I do love a good build ‘em up. Do we call those BUPs?

  3. acheron says:

    Can’t say I’m a fan of a steampunk theme, but at this point I’ll take what I can get.

  4. ribby says:

    If they are making more games in this world I’m predicting point and click right now

  5. CKScientist says:

    This game looks quite nice, but it sure does look very derivative of the Impressions games.

    Something about those late 90s strategy games that a lot of the modern remakes miss is the theming. In the impressions games, the music, the writing, the graphics and the voice acting were quite important for immersing you in ancient Rome, Egypt Greece or China. I worry that this game will not have that very important part of the formula, particularly as it is set in a fictional world rather than real history.

    • Premium User Badge

      calcifer says:

      There is definitely some truth to this. I’ve played Pharaoh and Cleopatra for hundreds of hours and I fondly remember becoming fully immersed in the game with its absolutely amazing music and narrated story.

  6. Premium User Badge

    calcifer says:

    Soo, a remake of Pharaoh (and Cleopatra) with a different theme? Seriously, even the buildings, the order in which you build them and mechanics surrounding them are the same.

    Buildings: Place some crude huts, place a well at the end of the road, build some work camps further down the road, build some farms, a granary and finally a bazaar nearby the huts. Now that you have a basic town going, put some entertainment venues on the corners.

    Mechanics: Huts evolve as they get more residents and have access to more resources and services. Farms can only be placed on fertile ground, and fertility is determined by access to water. After you get a relatively wealthy neighbourhood, demolish a few houses and build your estate right in the middle.

    Decorations: You can place gardens between houses and roads get upgraded to plazas as the wealth of the surrounding areas increase.

    Still, I’m not complaining, it’s been a long time since Pharaoh and fans could use an update.

  7. krait says:

    Historical setting was always a huge part of the charm for me. Becoming a galley slave when I displeased Caesar, having feasts to the Roman gods, trying to defeat the emperor’s legion when they came to punish me for being a bad governor…

    I also liked the Casear 3 map editor, I made various new maps for myself and also gifted some away.

    Great games, great memories. Hm, I think I have Caesar 3 installed still…

  8. Cochise779 says:

    Did anyone ever play Zeus by Impression Games? That one always blew me away. I found it way better than Caesar or Pharaoh and yet I never hear it mentioned.

    • Soulstrider says:

      Yeah I’ve played it, it’s my favorite of them all (though I never tried Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom)

      Frankly despite having good memories of Caeser III, I bought it on gog and tried to play it but couldn’t stand the shitty pathfinding and AI, specially when it came to the market sellers.

    • Roboskib says:

      I bought it (again) from a few months ago when it was discounted, and I have to say, it it the best of them. Also was the last of them, but hey-ho.

  9. YeGoblynQueenne says:

    Last time I played Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom and Cesar II was last summer. I don’t care a dime if there’s nothing new in this game at all, I want it. I want it now! Give it to me! GIMMEEE!!!!

    Sorry about that :)

    On a more somber note, I too noticed that this is a very faithful reproduction of the original formula, even down to the road blocks placed to stop workers wandering away from where you want them. That was one thing I wished Impressions had done differently.

    I also noticed that buildings went through a lot of cycles of evolving and devolving, presumably as supplies dried out after a while. This is something I’ve never managed to avoid in Cesar III and Emperor (though it was much worse in Cesar III). This was the other thing.

    I’ve thought about it for a while and I guess, unless you give the player minute control over the paths of specific workers, it’s probably impossible to completely avoid this sort of thing. I hope Lethis can find a good work around.

    This game might look just a wee bit too cutesy. Oh well, I’ll still play it :D

    This post made my day. Thanks RPS :D

    • HTAPAWASO says:

      Well the trick in Cleopatra is to not give your service providers any option about where to walk – put them on a single street that’s exactly the right length. It looks like this would be the way to go in this game too but the person playing it is not trying to play optimally but rather to make it look pretty.

      But I agree that is a system that could use improvement.

      • Joshua Northey says:

        These games desperately needs to ditch the walkers and have a Simcityesque transportation analysis algorithm. Would make them so much more enjoyable.

        I loved Caesar, Caesar 2, Caesar 3, and Pharoh, but the path-finding was occasionally maddening, and very frustrating in that it made you build stupid road networks.

        Have the market decide if you have access by the number of minutes of walk it is, and the further the walk the less access. It is so much easier then modelling actual walkers, and so much more realistic. Houses don’t have trouble findings grocery stores.

    • Eawyne says:

      Actually, that really was part of the gameplay, in that Mission mode was more like “puzzle-city-game”. You had to find the best layout, the best way of using space, ressources, distance and storage to complete a map in the given restrictions.

      It can become a hassle if you play in sandbox mode, but then again, it more or less became a time-free puzzle for optimisation. The addition of road blockers was a nice touch, and I even liked the way “doors” worked in Emperor (where you could put some specific limitations as to who could cross them). In Emperor and Zeus, they even went to ditch the mandatory mini-city you had to build around any remote building you placed on the map, like it was in Pharaoh ! So at least regarding to employees, they was some sort of “transportation” notion to workers ^^

      I really think the games would have felt reaally different if that aspect of their gameplay had been absent. Maybe is it something that could be expanded and tweaked in modern games, but frankly… do not harm the old ones !

      • Joshua Northey says:

        I think those games worked in spite of those aspects, not because of them.

  10. MrFinnishDude says:

    Its nice to see a ceasar type game set in the industrial era, but what I would really like to see is a SimCity like game set in the industrial era.
    Imagine! The entire town springing from a factory you built next to a river to get it power. Opulent Townhouses with fancy gentlemen and slums with street urchin gangs. In the style of SimCity but without all the EA bullshit of course.

    • Joshua Northey says:

      There badly needs to be a Simcity title that focuses on city evolution through time. Where you start out with mills on a river and advance through the era where suddenly cars and running water make living far from the river feasible.