Mode 7 to publish planetary settling sim The Colonists


Robots should be either adorable or terrifying. That’s my view and I’m sticking with it. Sure, it’s probably more important that they’re angular and efficient when they’re building cars, or that they’re a bit more suited to their work than this poor fella, but the little bots in The Colonists [official site] look like they’ll combine adorable automation and industrial efficiency.

Frozen Synapse folks Mode 7 will be publishing The Colonists, described as “a settlement building game inspired by classic titles like The Settlers and the Anno series”, and it’s the work of one-person studio Codebyfire.

This will be the first solo game from Richard Wallis, the designer behind the Codebyfire name, but he’s been working in the industry for ten years. The Settlers with synths seems like a heck of a pitch to me, considering how much of my love for the early games in that series related to the way supply lines were so machine-like. If you’ve never played a Settlers game, you’ve missed out on one of the most soothing experiences in gaming. The beautiful calm of those games is particularly notable given that they’re essentially in the management genre; you’re plotting fairly complicated supply and demand routes, and there’s probably mathematics involved somewhere, but it’s all just so charming and relaxing.


If The Colonists can capture even a little of that feeling, and we only have screenshots to go off so far, it might well be a lovely thing. We’ll find out soon enough, with an Early Access release planned next month. It might have something in common with the early stages of Surviving Mars, another colony building sim with lots of bots. For now, here’s what we do know:

“You’ll advance from the Stone Age to the Space Age as you build the infrastructure for your colony by constructing complex road, boat, train and drone transport systems.

“Harvest natural resources, set up farming and food production, sculpt the terrain to optimise your networks, conquer other settlements or trade with new allies. Explore, research, manage, tweak and refine to your heart’s content!”

Drone transport systems, eh? By 2018, every game will contain a drone. Or an eagle with all the abilities of a drone if it’s historical.


  1. Premium User Badge

    Drib says:

    I just like the little robot with the > < face up there.

    Also, I like this sort of settlement/colonization/city-building thing. The Settlers was good fun, and this looks like a cute expansion of the idea.

    I'll have to keep this one on the list.

  2. Someoldguy says:

    It sounds great. It also sounds like there’s more of a goal than in relaxing settle-em-ups like Banished. I do like to have a sense of purpose.

    I wonder how a stone age robot evolved?

  3. robotslave says:

    “…with an Early Access release planned…”


    I know, I know, I’m hopelessly old-fashioned. This is the fiscal reality of games development now, especially any kind of building-things game. People are willing to pay to mess around with whatever you’ve managed to get working so far, so you’d be crazy not to let them do that, and then when you don’t want to support it anymore or just get bored with it, you put a “1.0” on it and “release” it.

    I’m old and confused and I used to love all the building games but I just don’t know what to do in this strange new world and I feel sad.

    • Premium User Badge

      Drib says:

      Something about those sentiments with your username makes for an interesting sort of pair.

      Maybe just because it’s an article about robots doing work, or something.

    • Crocobutt says:

      You’re not the only one. I always get excited when a new game is announced, but then the “Early Access” part comes in and everything collapses.
      Only exceptions I had were KerbalSpaceProgram and Factorio, since those games had so much in them when I bought them, and now they got even better. WarZ burnt me hard tho (hate that genre, yet I see the appeal of it).
      Things change, we need to keep up somehow.

  4. LuNatic says:

    Surely robots should be both adorable AND terrifying!