Empire of Sin director Brenda Romero has revealed that a major inspiration for the 1920s-set turn-based mafia strategy game was her seedy home-town bar.
In Empire of Sin, players will rule over a criminal empire in Chicago, navigating the prohibition era, rival gangs, and police.
In an interview with Shack News (embedded below), Romero revealed she drew from popular television shows such as Peaky Blinders, but her original inspiration was a bar in New York.
“I grew up in a town in northern New York […] there was a bar that was the oldest continuously operating bar in the United States called The Place. And I wanted to know a simple question; how come they didn’t shut it down? And my mom didn’t want to say, ‘well you know, it’s a grey area, cops are dirty’[…] I became fascinated with the time period and I’ve had that fascination for 30-plus years.”
In terms of gameplay in Empire of Sin, Romero confirmed that each mob boss has unique skills and flaws depending on their area of expertise. For example, some bosses will have a higher diplomacy statm whereas other may be better at combat or a particular industry. In addition, each boss has bonuses and a special ability.
Another mechanic of gameplay coming as a surprise is the ability to conduct execution moves during combat. However, rather than just being a finishing move, it serves a much more powerful but potentially dangerous role.
“Back in the 1920s—well now even—if you do an execution you are sending a message, and you want that message to be heard loud and clear, so an execution move can intimidate the hell out of people who are in combat with you. It can also obviously really piss off whoever you are sending this message to.”
Romero warns that the game operates with the Butterfly Effect in mind; in basic terms, every action has a reaction.
Empire of Sin provides an opportunity to build illegal empires from the ground up on either micro- to macro-levels similar to Age of Empires. A violent playstyle coupled with a shrewd eye for business enables players to focus on business management and expansion with auto-resolved combat.
Empire of Sin is set for release in early 2020 on Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.