It stood out like a sore thumb in Nintendo’s E3 Direct livestream: in a sea of cartoon characters and sword-wielding shaggy-haired dudes, three toughs in zoot suits stood in the shadows, talking in gravelly voices. The camera panned up and the title “Empire of Sin” displayed. Fade to black. So what did we just see there?
More details are out now, thanks to the press release from Paradox Interactive and Romero Games. Empire of Sin’s setting is exactly what it appears to be — 1920s Chicago. As any historian will tell you, every single human being in the 1920s was a dapper gangster wearing a fedora and wielding a tommy gun. However, it’s still a subject of debate whether or not all of them were Al Capone.
You can play as Capone in Empire of Sin, as well as 13 other historical gangsters like Stephanie St. Clair — it’s your choice. Gameplay is much like XCOM, and takes place in a top-down view where you have to position your gang carefully to out-maneuver and out-shoot the competition. Your goal is to conquer buildings and bring them under the order of your syndicate…but you’ll have many rival gangs trying to do the same.
- Build A Crime Empire: Raise your criminal empire from the ground up in several seedy enterprises (be it speakeasies, union skimming, or casinos) and building a team of loyal mobsters to make your mark on the streets. Once you make a name for yourself, expand your influence by taking over rival territory and adding more ventures to your repertoire.
- Defend and Expand Territory: If it comes to blows (hypothetically, of course) and your posse needs to send a message, face off in brutal turn-based combat. Recruit your goons strategically to build a strong chemistry within your crew to maximize combat damage and help secure your hold on the city.
- Explore a Living, Breathing City: Explore the streets of vibrant 1920s Chicago and interact with a full cast of living, breathing characters, each with lives of their own that inform how they react to what you do (or don’t do). Schmooze, coerce, seduce, threaten, or kill them to get your way.
- Wield Your Influence:Make and break alliances, bribe cops, and trade on the black market to gain an edge and expand the influence of your crime family. Always keep your enemies close and ensure you have a mole on the inside and eyes everywhere.
- Pursue Multiple Victory Strategies: Whether you make it to the top with violence, business smarts, or city-wide notoriety, there are a number of ways to become King or Queen of Chicago. With various starting conditions and constantly changing crew dynamics, no two playthroughs will ever be the same.
Empire of Sin 23-skidoos its way to Playstation 4, Nintendo Switch, XBox One, PC and Mac in 2020.