Empire Earth: Defining a Genre

maxresdefaultSierra Entertainment, Mad Doc Software, & Stainless Steel Studios. It was one of the first realistic RTS war simulation games on PC, and in the words of EEHeaven, “Epic is definitely too small of a word”.

Three major versions were released between the gaming powerhouse trifecta as well as two expansions. I still favor the original with its expansion, The Art of Conquest. The war strategy timeline spans far more eras than most – if not all – games do even today, over 500,000 years so you can go from a caveman that only has a rock and a stick to far flung futuristic armadas attacking each other’s planets. The large-scale warfare of the game remains unmatched, even today.

Years before the game was released (prior to 2001) I was out talking to a friend about my ideal game. What I described was Empire Earth but nothing like it was out on the market at the time. There could be entirely different facets of warfare going on all at the same time. For example: having submarines at the bottom of the ocean attacking warships on the surface while those warships are attacking coastal defenses. Those cities trying to defend the civilization on land that is gathering resources to create their military. Launching airplanes and space vehicles who can then target those submarines at the bottom of the ocean; everything connected and happening simultaneously.

You could even get the same feel of gameplay in each of the various eras (or epoch) as the other games in the genre that ONLY offered the one era. Age of Empires is fantastic, another one of my all-time favorites, but the gameplay gives the same experience as the Renaissance Era in Empire Earth. That’s what Empire Earth excels at: being all encompassing.

The maps would be HUGE and wrap like the earth does instead implementing artificial boundaries. The dynamic map engine spawns a totally different map with alternate resource locations and remains the best method of giving players a unique experience each playthrough. Even with using common map seeds there are too many to count and memorize that it definitely succeeds at requiring a new strategy and style of play every time.

Very few games actually have that “front line” feel to the warfare, the action here can be all over the place, your time is always stretched thin as it becomes a question of “Where is the most important area to focus my time” as that is the commonly the thing in short supply.

Despite its quality, Empire Earth games never skyrocketed in popularity nor debuted with big release day blowouts; the fan base has grown slowly maintaining a steady, loyal following. After the manufacturer shut down all the servers, those loyal followers created their own modifications to allow the game to continue to be played online. That was 7 years ago and it’s still going today! The numerous websites that house other maps, addons and mods continue to receive updates to this day as well.

I and countless others would love to see an Empire Earth 4 released, so…. what do you say Sierra, give it another go?