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Amazing what a little bit of elbow grease can do.

"And just like that, the Bastion comes alive. Starts growing again... growing stronger. Kid's got to put its power to good use"
Rucks, Bastion

So you've just inherited an ancestral castle. Or you've just moved into a cozy little village. Or you've moved your rebel army into a secret hideout while plotting your revenge against The Empire. It might not have the best schools nearby, and there might be a bit of a draft in the winter, but with the real estate market being what it is, this is the best you're going to get right now.

But maybe you're not the type to settle for less. Is the roof drafty? Repair the roof! No schools nearby? We'll build one ourselves! The more resources you pump into your home base, the more people come into town, the higher you raise the towers of your castle, the more it starts to feel like... well, a home.

This trope is a feature of a video game where you expand and develop a central hub area. Physically expanding the headquarters, recruiting new people to live in your hub area, constructing new buildings—if the game allows you to do these things as a side activity, it's probably an example of this trope.

See An Interior Designer Is You for when a game allows the player to decorate a space with items, and A Homeowner Is You when a game allows the player to own a home. Compare Player Headquarters, Hub City. For games that are entirely about base-building, see Construction and Management Games or Real-Time Strategy.


Video Game Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Action-Adventure 
  • Assassin's Creed:
    • Assassin's Creed II: Villa Monteriggioni serves as this for Ezio, providing a safe haven after his family is ousted from Firenze. Quite a bit of the game is spent acquiring artwork, trophies, and decorations, as well rebuilding the town's infrastructure and shops. This is Ezio's best source of new weapons, clothing, and upgrades, as well as consumable items at a reduced price.
    • Assassin's Creed III: Achilles's Homestead takes Monteriggioni's place for Conner, allowing him to find prospective settlers to move in and help build up the place as a proper town. The homesteaders can provide Conner with raw resources to make more or better equipment, as well as provide local color when Conner visits with them. The settlement can be further improved by doing tasks for the residents, further enhancing the resources you can gather.
    • Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag: The nature of the game makes your ship the Jackdaw a more mobile version of this trope. Again you can improve it, allowing Edward to use it to collect valuable items such as whale oil and treasure chests. Improving it also allows the Jackdaw to also fight other ships, making travel much easier.
    • Assassin's Creed: Valhalla: Ravensthorpe is a new village founded by the Raven Clan of Norwegian Vikings colonizing England. Although nominally second in command, player character Eivor collects materials (by raiding monasteries) and authorizes all the buildings anyway. With each new building options open up ranging from customization of Eivor's own look to a Fishing Minigame to unlocking the game's assassination side quests. With each few buildings put down the settlement grows larger and fancier as it increases in renown.
  • Bastion has the titular Bastion. After every level, the player can use collectibles to build and renovate various parts of the Bastion, adding buildings like a bar, a shrine for idols, and a forge.

    First-Person Shooter 
  • Battlezone (1998): Despite being a FPS, one of Battlezone's biggest draws is the base-building aspect that the majority of the game's levels encourage or sometimes require. Using a unique material called Bio-Metal, which can only be collected by the Scavenger units, players can build large bases full of hangers, ammo depots, power suppliers, silos, command centers, barracks, and gun towers (which will defend the base from the player's opponents and/or enemy AI).

    Grand Strategy 
  • Crusader Kings III: In addition to holding upgrades, if your player is a monarch and not just a duke or baron, they can upgrade their throne room for prestige bonuses and other benefits.

    MMORPG 
  • Star Trek Online: Multiple players can join together in fleets, with a Starbase and several other planetary or orbital bases. The amount of resources the players collectively invest in their bases increases the size of the base and variety of vendor items available until the base reaches maximum level. Several optional decorative projects are additionally available. The Armada update allows multiple fleets to link together and donate resources to fleets they are not members of.
  • One of the features of the Warlords of Draenor expansion of World of Warcraft. The base has three tiers, and an additional port, that unlocks many different buildings. Many of these are related to crafting and gathering professions, enabling the players to order their workers to make items they could not craft for themselves or gather crafting reagents they would not be able to get in the wild without the right professions. The player can also take on other tasks to improve the base, such as recruiting followers and sending them on missions to get gear and gold.
  • Kingdom of Loathing:
    • Individual players get a Campsite they start the day in. They can get various types of shelters, a bookshelf, a Robot Maid, and a couple kitchen gadgets (a fancy Magitek range and a cocktail shaker).
    • Clans can buy various upgrades for their members, like exercise equipment and meat bushes. They can also get various dungeons in their basements accessible through portals: a sewer grate to get to Hobopolis, a travel poster of Dreadsylvania, or a pit of slime to enter the Slime Tube.

    Platformer 
  • Kirby and the Forgotten Land features Waddle Dee Town, which expands as Kirby rescues Waddle Dees. As more Waddle Dees are rescued, new buildings and shops open for Kirby to use.
  • Shovel Knight has the King of Cards campaign, which sees King Knight as the mascot of a rapidly-growing crew of sky sailors. Throughout the game he recruits many new members (some of which tag along against his wishes), and sees the addition of multiple vendors to buy various upgrades from.

    Roguelike 
  • Darkest Dungeon sees the player character inheriting a run-down hamlet from their Ancestor at the start of the game, which can be upgraded with facilities to relieve your heroes' stress, strengthen their abilities, teach them survival skills, and buy items. The ''Crimson Court'' and ''Color of Madness'' DLCs add Districts, a special kind of town building which offer hero-specific incentives and a monument which does absolutely nothing besides give you an achievement for building it.
  • Enter the Gungeon, similar to the Dark Souls example (fitting, as it is one of the game's inspirations), features a hub that slowly gains new inhabitants as you make your runs through the titular Gungeon and rescue them. Some of them open up shop, granting you new items to find within your runs, while others open up shortcuts to the Chambers you've accessed before. Others yet, added in the A Farewell to Arms update, give you special modifiers and game modes to tack onto your next run.
  • Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity: The Pokémon Paradise can be further upgraded by expanding its area, introducing open and more specialized shops, dojos to power up your moves at, and farms that can grow seeds and berries, among other uses.

    Role-Playing Game 
  • Bravely Default: A little ways into the game, the player begins reconstruction efforts on the protagonist's Doomed Hometown. As population increases through the game's Streetpass and Spotpass features, more villagers can be assigned to quicken the pace of facility reconstruction, on such buildings as general stores and armour shops, some of which contain items not found in the main game, like the part shop, allowing you to customize your party's Limit Break abilities. This sidequest is also the player's ticket to Streetpass/Spotpass-delivered Optional Boss encounters, called Nemeses.
    • Bravely Second follows in the footsteps of its predecessor by giving you the moonbase, Fort Lune. It functions nearly identically to the Norende Village sub-mode from Bravely Default, but calls its Nemeses "Ba'als", of which pose a much more significant role in the game's story.
  • Breath Of Fire 2 has side gameplay where the player can recruit several characters to help them repopulate a village, adding life and vibrancy to the town and offering goods and services, like selling items or playing the in-game soundtrack.
  • Dark Souls:
    • Dark Souls 1: Many characters the player meets throughout the game will come back to Firelink Shrine after being discovered, becoming merchants, or performing other useful services.
    • Dark Souls II: The deserted village of Majula, where the Emerald Herald lives (which makes Majula the player HQ, as she is the only one who can trade their accumulated souls for Character Levels), is slowly restored back to life, as the player rescues NPCs from across Drangleic, who come to Majula, rebuild its ruined structures (such as the smithy) and set up shops and other services.
  • Deltarune: Starting in Chapter 2, the player gains the ability to 'recruit' all spared foes, building up the population of and unlocking new facilities in the Castle Town in the Dark World. It also gives the player all of Chapter 1's foes regardless of if you spared them, as a starting levy.
  • Dragon Age:
    • Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening opens with the Gray Wardens being legally rehabilitated in Ferelden and granted a castle by the crown, the ancient fortress of Vigil's Keep. Unfortunately for them, Vigil's Keep is in a state of major disrepair following its fall during the Orlesian occupation and the subsequent rule by Arl Rendon Howe who preferred to spend most of his time in the capital or plotting against the Cousland teyrns. Throughout the game, the player can invest large sums of money into renovating the castle, such as rebuilding its outer walls and upgrading the armory, which has a moderate impact on the expansion's ending.
    • Downplayed in Dragon Age: Inquisition, where the Skyhold castle, the Inquisition's HQ from Act 2 onward, starts off in ruined state, having been abandoned to the elements for over a thousand years (the fact that it even still stands after all this time foreshadows a major later plot point). As the player progresses through the main plot, the castle is gradually rebuilt, with makeshift scaffolding and piles of debris disappearing and new areas opening up. However, this happens automatically as the plot progress (and the Inquisition grows in power), without the player having to also invest their resource into it. You can, however, customize it to your liking, adding in various decoration styles from all over the game world as you discover them.
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: As the player completes small jobs for Delvin and Vex as part of the Thieves Guild questline, the guild will slowly start to upgrade itself as it regains its reputation, including new fences and merchant stalls within the Guild headquarters and the Ragged Flagon.
  • Lunarosse: The player's hidden base will gradually expand as they gather more party members which can unlock more features and rewards.
  • The point of the first half of Might and Magic VII: your player characters win a castle and some lands around it during a contest in the tutorial level, only to find out that it's a dilapidated ruin full of vermins, and its surrounding lands are infested by hostile goblin hordes. After clearing the castle of hostile creatures, you're then tasked with finding somebody who can repair it back to working order. Towards the end of the game, your castle will have its own blacksmith, armorsmith, a healer, a potions lab, several treasury and storage rooms, a golem that acts as a security guard, and a room where you can meet with envoys from other nations.
  • Neverwinter Nights 2: After the player drives out the King of Shadows' minions from Crossroad Keep, they are rewarded a title of nobility that grants them ownership of the keep and are given tasks such as recruiting NPCs to help man it, investing in renovating various parts of it and forming a militia unit to protect the land surrounding it.
  • Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom: Once the kingdom of Evermore is established, the player can recruit new citizens from the other nations of the world through side-quests and have them staff various buildings. They can also collect taxes from its citizens, which can be invested in upgrading its buildings or carrying out research to make other aspects of the game easier.
  • Downplayed in Overlord. Your tumbledown Evil Tower of Ominousness can be refurbished with new tapestries, a capstone, and looted idols for a statue garden to decorate the driveway, but with the exception of the Tower Heart—a Power Crystal that powers the lights and teleporter—these do nothing but improve the look of the place.
  • Pillars of Eternity: One early story mission has the player assume control of an old keep, able to renovate and upgrade it extensively over time. It can add merchants, resting opportunities, and a treasury.
  • Rakenzarn Tales: New party members tend to settle into your HQ and house as the game goes on. You can talk to them for optional cutscenes if your Relationship Values are high enough and unlock sidequests.
  • Skies of Arcadia: The Blue Rogues' Island needs some serious love when Vyse finally gets ahold of it. This is accomplished by finding NPCs in the world and convincing them to come, greatly improving the little village's aesthetic AND how it can support you. Interestingly there are actually two of each character type to find, with the allowance to choose which sets up shop in the village and which helps crew the Delphinius. The choice will change what kind of bonuses you get in either location.
  • The Suikoden series frequently features a hub village that you can expand and develop over the course of the game.
  • Dirtwater in West of Loathing has several vacant lots available, which are filled in with certain shops when the corresponding sidequest is completed.

    Turn-Based Strategy 
  • Fire Emblem Fates: My Castle, the area players spend time between battles, has various features, such as farms, statues, and shops, that the player can place and move around at will (provided they don't overspend).
  • In XCOM: Enemy Unknown, XCOM's Elaborate Underground Base starts with the basic requirements to fight an Alien Invasion, but to successfully win the campaign, you'll need to excavate deeper and build additional facilities - an alien containment area to house prisoners for interrogation, labs to research alien tech, workshops to train engineers who keep your base running smoothly, satellite uplink networks to increase the territory you can protect, power plants to keep all this running, and even stranger projects.
  • XCOM 2 starts La Résistance out with an Airborne Aircraft Carrier, the Avenger, which is capable of flying to scan locations and launching a Skyranger to run missions, and has science and engineering areas capable of basic research and constructing standard equipment. Unfortunately its interior is still a mess of alien debris and broken-down equipment, so XCOM's engineers will have to spend days clearing sections out before additional facilities - communications centers, training facilities, power stations, defense modules, specialized production areas, etc. - can be constructed. Though on the plus side, this means each section you clear will yield a pile of resources that can be used to fund the next phase of expansion.

    Wide-Open Sandbox 
  • Animal Crossing:
    • In the original game and all of its sequels, the player is provided a small one-room tent at the start of the game. Paying Tom Nook a few thousand bells will have him replace the tent with a small one-room house with storage. Paying more will have him expand the room size, and even more has him add on another room to the back of the house. From then on he will instead add more rooms via building a basement and second floor.
    • Animal Crossing: New Leaf and Animal Crossing: New Horizons allow players to customize their town/island, the former game with public works projects and the latter game with normal furniture.
  • Disney Dreamlight Valley: The player character is awarded a house that can be progressively upgraded with extra rooms, exterior renovations and a second floor if desired. Furniture can also be purchased to decorate the interior rooms.
  • Fallout:
    • Fallout 3: You get a home (either a house in Megaton or an apartment in Tenpenny Tower) that can be decorated in various styles, and equipped with a chemistry set (for making drugs), a medical table (treating injuries), and a vending machine (which converts the room-temperature Nuka Cola you find into the more potent "Ice-Cold" variant). It also comes with a robot butler, Wadsworth.
    • Fallout 4: Many areas in the game can be claimed as a settlement, either by helping (or evicting) the current inhabitants, or by clearing out whatever post-nuclear nasties are lurking in the area. These settlements can be heavily customized within the limits of their borders and the build budget, allowing the player to break down rusted cars or charred tree stumps for raw resources to build structures and furnishings, which can then be inhabited by NPC Settlers attracted by a crafted radio beacon — though if you haven't set up enough crops, water pumps and beds for them, those Settlers won't be happy or productive. With the right perks and investments of resources, settlements can have elaborate automated defenses, caravan stops, and NPC shops and doctors, making them excellent sources of income and incredibly helpful when playing in Survival Mode. The Vault Workshop DLC also gives access to a special settlement, Vault 88, which had only begun construction when the world ended, allowing the player to build their own Vault.
    • Fallout 76: While not as expansive in build budget as the previous title in the series, Fallout 76 allows you to create miniature home bases complete with defenses, gardens, pets, and a recruitable companion. A later expansion allowed the addition of a Vault to the home base, an interior instance that can also be highly customized. Multiple Vaults can be chained together if the different kinds are available.
  • Gas Station Simulator has your character purchasing a ramshackle Route 66 gas station and slowly expanding it into a profitable venture staffed by other employees and with extra service stations located on the premises.
  • Mafia III: The 'Sign Of The Times' DLC allows the player to rebuild Sammy's bar after it's destruction in the prologue by funneling profits from Lincoln's criminal activities into various upgrades for the building. This serves no actual purpose in terms of gameplay and is effectively a money pit but it's still nice to see the ruins of Sammy's be restored to it's former glory and get a few heartwarming scenes of Lincoln helping the community in the process.
  • Minecraft: Generally the player will be establishing one central base and slowly expanding it over time, whether through digging mines, establishing farms, or various other activities.
  • My Time at Portia allows the player to renovate and expand on a house with several upgrades.
  • No Man's Sky allows the player to construct and expand settlements throughout the world, adding farms, factories, or leisure buildings.
  • Saints Row 2:
    • The Saints headquarters starts off as an abandoned hotel that has collapsed underground, accessible from an abandoned church. After eleven campaign missions have been completed, construction begins, and after twenty-two missions, the hotel's inside is turned into a luxurious nightclub called Purgatory.
    • Any of the properties that The Boss can purchase have the ability to upgrade their interior, including hotel suites and dilapidated buildings.
  • Stardew Valley presents the player with a small, down-on-its-luck town and allows them to revitalize it. Over the course of the game, the player can repair bridges, re-activate public transportation, and even rebuild the old community center.
  • Subnautica starts you in an escape capsule on the surface of an ocean, but as you find blueprints and recover salvage and natural materials, you can create undersea bases and equip them with an array of features that will help you explore the planet.
  • Terraria: Building new rooms in the Player Headquarters allows new merchants and helpful characters to move in, some of which can be found out and about on the world map.

Non-Video Game Examples

    Tabletop Games 

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