The Stronghold series started back in 2001 as a popular little medieval RTS that slid right in the wafer-thin gap between strategy and simulation; a kind of clean and simple city-builder with a combat conceit drilled into the centre of it. Talking with Simon Bradbury of developer Firefly studio, he waxes nostalgic about what worked with the series in the first place:
"What made Stronghold interesting I think is that it's a kind of mix of games," Bradbury explains, "it's always been about, yes, you can fight, but to do that you've got to have a good economy as well. So you've got your popularity, which is how much you feed your peasants, and if you want to feed your peasants then you've got to make farms. And to build that you need wood, so you need more people - it all kind of interlinks. So, you build this little Sim City thing and that allows you to expand quickly: it all feeds back into the RTS. Unlike a lot of RTSs, which are just base building and then you go off and mine to get resources to make troops - there isn't really any simulation side to that. There isn't really that builder side of RTS, so it's really a unique space."