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A Tale of Two Empires

As if more proof were needed that Febrooairy and Marrtch were months made of strategy, we hear glad tidings of little army men achieving great commercial success. Across the world (including the US, UK and Oz) last week, Dawn of War II hit the top of the PC charts like a, er, Space Marine hitting a pile of Orks with a powerfist. Or something. God, it’s too early for tortorous similes.

However, come this week in the UK, DOWII’s down to number 3 in the PC charts, below the latest instalment of perennial UK man-magnet Football Manager. In the all-formats chart, it places a mere 29th. DOOM! PC GAMING, DEAD! DEAD LIKE MY ABILITY TO DEVISE FUNNY SIMILES! Except… we have a new champion. One that achieves even greater success.

Sitting pretty at number one in the UK PC chart is Empire: Total War. And at number one in the all formats chart? Woo-hoo! Empire: Total War, possibly the most PC-gamey game of all-time, is master of all it surveys. Eat that, Killzone 2 and Halo Wars. The PC is the ultimate champion once again – coo in envy and mild arousal as it performs the crab most muscular.

No word on its Yankee chart-placement yet, which is likely to be interesting. Empire’s Euro-focus, despite the introductory War of Independence campaign, seemed to rile a few of our more patriotic American readers a little while back – could there be a general sentiment that ETW be disrepectin’ the colonies?

Amusingly, I note that the game features different box art in the UK and US. It’s the same shouting Sean Bean-alike front’n’centre, but in the UK he’s wearing a red coat with a British flag waving behind him. In the US? Why, blue coat and star-spangled banner. See above for empirical proof.

LOLZOR. Though it totally makes sense, of course: that evil motherland-celebrating redcoat box sat on US store shelves would have riled tempers enormously. It’ll certainly be fascinating to see if ETW can achieve the same success in the US, or if there’s a genuinely a political/cultural/historical obstacle between it and megabucks.

Update – seems like there’s a ton of different Empires. LOLZOR once more:

Thanks to Winfred van Heerebeek for pointing that out.

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Alec Meer

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Co-founder of RPS. Dungeon Keeper & X-COM 4 Life.

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