The Architect: Paris is not a citybuilder. There’s no strategy, or goal, or economy, or traffic simulation underpinning its recreation of the French capital.
Instead, it’s a realistic map of the city in which you can edit every building. You can tear down 18th century apartments and replace them with a park or a gaudy skyscrapers, if you wish, then customise every detail. I propose a name for this new genre: a buildingbuilder. It’s out now on Steam.
The game’s various websites and Steam posts talk about wanting to create something anyone can use, but with the flexibility of real technical drawing tools. That can be a little hard to picture, but this video showing the game’s plot editor gives a better sense of what it entails:
I like that you draw any shape and the game will fill that space with a believable building. When I wrote about The Architect last month, I speculated that it might be like a more photorealistic Townscaper, and this sort of confirms it.
You can customise the building further than what you see above, tweaking materials, roof height, and more. I would be curious to know if it’s possible to create a city that feels as organic and complex as the real thing; the danger in games like this, as in more traditional citybuilders, is that your city looks best if you pick one building style and just apply it uniformly.
What The Architect isn’t, as noted above, is a standard citybuilder. You might be expecting different, since the game was originally pitched as something substantially more traditional when originally announced. Its management elements were jettisoned over the course of development in favour of focusing on what was unique about the game.
The Architect: Paris is out now in early access on Steam, where it’ll cost you £14/$15.29/€12.66. It’s aiming for a full release in September.