Legendary designer John Romero has explained that his team’s upcoming strategy game Empire of Sin is intended to be accessible even for those unused to playing such games.
Speaking in an interview on Twitch’s official livestream, Romero noted that the systems are “not a big wall to climb.” The team is focusing on “tutorialising” the gameplay into easy-to-understand steps.
However, that does not imply a lack of strategic depth. Empire of Sin will be mechanics-led, similar to Age of Empires, and each new campaign will allow players to set their own parameters, including the size of the map and number of enemy bosses. With these parameters maxed out, a single playthrough should last up to 10 hours.
The game also provides the option to play from either a micro- or macro-level. A tycoon-oriented playstyle enables players to focus on business management with auto-resolved combat, though more hands-on players can control their characters directly as they patrol the streets and get into dynamic gunfights with “grid-based, turn-based, action-point based” combat.
Empire of Sin takes place in 1920s Chicago during the Prohibition Era, and the goal will be to become the kingpin within the neighbourhood. Diplomacy and the forging of alliances will be a part of that, but Romero says the path to success is through killing enemy bosses and absorbing their empires. He said that games tend to end with situations where “everybody is killing everybody.”
Beyond the diplomacy, numerous different business types are present and their placement can affect other businesses in the area. Brothels, for example, dampen patronage in buildings surrounding them. The setting also means that period-era weapons are in place, ranging from standard firearms to broken glass and shivs.
Development on the project is being led by Brenda Romero, for which it has a passion project for a long time.
Empire of Sin is set to launch on PC, PlayStation 4, Switch, and Xbox One in the northern hemisphere’s spring 2020.