We’re really excited to have this opportunity to talk to you about our upcoming release, History Egypt: Engineering an Empire for PlayStation minis. We’ve been working on this game for nearly two years and it has gone through many iterations, but we’ve finally got something we’re happy with! Egypt Engineering an Empire is a strategy game inspired by the Engineering an Empire TV series by History and games like Civilization and Advance Wars. The TV series circles the globe and re-examines history’s most magnificent civilizations, surveying their architectural and engineering triumphs. Beginning with the Egyptians more than five-thousand years ago, the first of the 14 documentaries brings to life the spectacular glory of the Egyptian Pharaohs. We seek to do the same in our game.
While many strategy games play well on the PC, they are far too complex to play nicely on a console. They usually require too much information to be displayed on screen, or have a user interface designed around the mouse, and any attempts to bring it to the PSP require such dramatic changes that the gameplay is compromised. Other games come direct to the console and these can be great fun, but often lack a bit of depth. What we’ve tried to do is take the best of both worlds and develop a game with the depth and immersion of a PC strategy game but with the fun, approachable controls and look and feel of a true console game.
Egypt Engineering an Empire puts you in control of Egypt, or one of the many opposing nations of the time such as the Hittities, Assyrians, Babylonians, and many more. You are in control of the development of your empire, constructing utility buildings for the economic development or military buildings to improve your armed forces. You can even build epic structures such as the Pyramids and Ishtar Gate, which bestow great benefits on your city. Each nation has its own unique unit and epic structure giving you new ways to play each time. You’ll recruit troops, fight battles, and can enter in to diplomacy with your neighbors…or, if you prefer, you can ignore diplomacy and deal with everyone by the sword! You have a range of military units at your disposal, ranging from swordsmen to spearmen, cavalry archers and lancers, battle wagons, and the feared chariots. You can even recruit camels riders!
We’ve designed the map on a grid system of hexes. This allows players to easily select hexes using the directional pad or analog stick. The UI has been designed from the ground up to be playable on the PSP. The X button always selects things and the Circle button cancels. When you select an object, a list of options available pop up and you select the one you want from a list box. You don’t have to remember to press Square or Triangle to get different options. It makes it really easy to pick up and play the game because all the information you need is given to you when you need it. People who have never played a strategy game before will find themselves at home very quickly.
As a result of the collaboration with the History TV channel, the game is all based on extensive historical research to make sure it’s as accurate as possible, without compromising gameplay. If we have to choose between an “accurate simulation” and a “fun game”, we always go with “fun game”! All of the soldiers in the game really existed and their uniforms are accurate. Cities are in their real locations with their real names, as are the nations. If you like a bit of authenticity to your gameplay then you’ll definitely find it here.
We’ve also thrown in an option to allow you to play two-player head-to-head in hotseat mode, playing on the same PSP. You can play individual battles against another player, but the real fun is in playing multiplayer campaigns. You can either player as a team and take on the computer, or have a free-for-all where the last man standing wins. The campaign maps range from tiny ones with two nations and one city each, up to massive campaigns with 14 nations and almost 30 cities. In most campaigns you can choose which nation to play and each has its own set of victory conditions. In some campaigns you may have to conquer a specific enemy nation, while in others you might be outnumbered and just have to survive. The difficulty levels mean all players will be able to find a level of challenge to suit them and the game promises many many hours of gaming fun.
We really hope you enjoy Egypt Engineering an Empire. We certainly enjoyed making it!