Unfortunately, Stronghold: Warlord fans will have to wait a bit longer as FireFly Studios announced they've been forced to delay the game for the "second and final time".
This means that instead of January 26, 2021, Stronghold: Warlords will be launching on March 9, 2021, i.e. six weeks later.
While the delaying of Stronghold: Warlords isn't great news in itself, the reason behind it as legitimate as any - FireFly want to keep the promises they made during development. In the official statement, the studio wrote:
"The reason behind this is that the game's Multiplayer mode is simply not ready to be released yet. We have run into some unexpected issues with it and, while we have worked very hard to resolve these with our current deadlines, we need more time to iron them out.
We want to be as transparent as possible with you about this and we did consider releasing as planned, delaying Multiplayer to go live in a future update. However, as we have promised Multiplayer functionality for Stronghold: Warlords for over a year now, releasing without it wouldn't be fair to players."
FireFly Studios were indeed touting Stronghold: Warlords' multiplayer component, along with co-op gameplay. This includes the mode where two players control a single castle, which should require some serious communication.
Being a frequent talking point in earlier Stronghold games, AI cheating has finally been removed by FireFly, so Stronghold: Warlords uses an AI with far less hardcoded behaviours than its predecessors.
AI will stick to a set of behaviours predetermined by a distinct style of play, and the resulting flexibility makes for a more challenging experience for Stronghold: Warlords players.