It’s fun to be in charge. Whether you’re ordering troops around a battlefield or deciding where to put your industrial districts in a city-builder, being the boss is its own reward. It seems the gaming industry agrees; the tycoon genre, which involves managing complex multi-layered organisms like cities or football teams, is thriving. Tycoon game lovers have plenty of choice, and in 2022, even more options are arriving to give you the kick you get out of playing management sims. Here are the best tycoon games (and tycoon-adjacent games) arriving in 2022.
Total War: Warhammer III (February 17th)
We’re starting with a game that may not technically be a tycoon or management sim, but it’ll almost certainly give you the same feeling of control and power. The Total War series has long married grand strategy with epic battle scenes and done so with aplomb, and Total War: Warhammer III promises to continue this hybrid gameplay with a focus on the grim fantasy of the Warhammer universe. The campaign takes place in the Realm of Chaos and will have a map twice the size of the one in Total War: Warhammer II, so there’s plenty of content here to sink your teeth into.
The Settlers (March 17th)
The long-running Settlers series is an odd duck. It’s a real-time strategy and management hybrid in which you’ll build a town (or “settle” one, as the case may be), taking care of the needs of your settlers and building resources so you can upgrade your town. This reboot has gone through a long development cycle; it was originally announced back in 2018, but numerous delays saw the release date eventually moved to 2022. It’s currently slated for March 17th, but we’ll have to see whether Ubisoft decides to delay the game once again.
Arcade Paradise (Spring 2022)
This quirky arcade management sim is currently slated for some time in spring 2022. You’re tasked with taking a run-down laundromat and turning it into the titular arcade paradise, complete with retro-style games. Each game is fully playable, and there are over 35 to check out, so you should be plenty busy with this one for a while. You’ll also be able to oversee your arcade and dictate what direction it goes in, so this one is definitely wishlist-worthy for those who love arcade gaming and management sim-style gameplay alike.
Frostpunk 2 (2022)
The original Frostpunk was nominated for a BAFTA for its unflinching take on the city-building genre. If you didn’t play it when it came out, you should check it out; it’s an emotionally draining experience, but there are also some intensely rewarding moments, and it’s an accomplished city-builder in its own right. Frostpunk 2 promises to continue the original’s mixture of wintry management gameplay and difficult morally grey decision-making. Put this one on your list if you’re looking for something a little more emotionally involved than the standard city-builder.
Ixion’s Steam page describes it as a city-building game set in space, but with survival and exploration elements as well. You’re a space station admin, and it’s your job to make sure your station’s inhabitants are happy. Your station has been cut off from the corporation that began this expedition, so you’ll need to scavenge resources from the vast, uncaring vacuum of space. Along the way, you’ll have to manage and grow your colony, deal with emergent natural and man-made disasters, and explore the stars around you to expand your knowledge of your universe.
Pharaoh: A New Era (2022)
We don’t have a concrete release date for this one, but we’re banking on it launching in 2022. Pharaoh: A New Era is a remaster of the city-building strategy classic, which is 20 years old (yes, really). It promises to update the visuals of the original Pharaoh while maintaining the gameplay and gorgeous aesthetics that made the Egypt-themed city-builder so special. As you’d expect from the genre, you’ll be tasked with building and overseeing a thriving Egyptian metropolis, although whether or not it is indeed thriving will be entirely up to you, of course.
Two Point Campus (2022)
Two Point Hospital proved a surprisingly effective and popular update of the classic Theme Hospital formula, so now, the creators of that game are expanding their repertoire with Two Point Campus. Rather uniquely for the genre, it’s a university-building simulator. You’ll be able to build your university, hire the staff you want to teach your students and maintain the buildings, and watch as your students attend a number of quirky lectures including Knight School and Gastronomy. You’ll also be able to augment your students’ social lives by building clubs, putting on events, and creating societies.
STONKS-9800 provides a tongue-in-cheek look at the stock market through a filter of 80s-style text adventure aesthetics. If you’ve ever played Wall Street Kid on the NES, you’ll know roughly what to expect here. Anime-style graphics, lots of financial minutiae, and thinly-veiled takes on real-life companies (GemuStop and Nintento are two of the corporations you can invest in) are the orders of the day. You’ll also need to make sure you don’t overwork yourself, or you could end up in hospital. STONKS-9800 is a tycoon game in the truest sense of the phrase.
These are some of the tycoon games we’re most looking forward to in 2022! Of course, the genre will throw in plenty of surprises we can’t predict yet as well, and we’re looking forward to getting to know those games. Are there any here we’ve missed? Which tycoon games are you most looking forward to this year?