Stronghold 2 is a real time strategy computer game released in April 2005 in which the player develops a stronghold in the middle ages. It is the sequel to Stronghold, released in 2001, also by Firefly Studios.
The game engine was enhanced over the original Stronghold to provide full 3-dimensional graphics, although the assembly code is all in one subroutine. Other changes include new military and peace campaigns and the addition of crime and punishment, allowing players to torture unruly peasants. A number of new characters were also introduced.
In the game, the player plays as a lord who rules over a medieval castle. With his available resources, the player places buildings or features, including many different kinds of food production, industry, civil, or military buildings and defences. Available peasants automatically choose jobs whenever a building requires one, so player micromanagement is minimal, he mostly needs to set up the various buildings in an efficient way while providing safety for his peasants. Military units are directly controlled individually or in groups, sometimes quite large with sieges or battles involving many hundreds on each side. One new addition to the original stronghold is the inclusion of estates, that a player can "buy" with his accumulated honor (gained by popularity, holding feasts, dances, jousting, etc.). Estates are semi-independent villages (without castle fortifications) that produce their own goods that the owner can send through carts to his castle or his allies. The inclusion of fully 3D-rendered graphics allowed Stronghold 2 to include tower interiors as battlegrounds for units, and the ability to go observe castle inhabitants very closely, which is useful considering the new features of waste & rat management. As in the original Stronghold, players can choose very different styles of play modes: Kingmaker, Siege, War Campaign, Peace Campaign, Freeplay, Custom scenario, and in Multiplayer (Hosted by Gamespy). An extensive map editor allows for endless replayability.