A new developer called Coin-Operated Games – made up of former staff from Crytek, Codemasters, Creative Assembly, and others – has announced Empyre: Lords of the Sea Gates [official site], an old-school-styled RPG that looks pretty interesting.
Its hook is that it's set in a flooded version of 1911 New York. Problem is, none of the water is drinkable, so the city is slowly succumbing to thirst. It's like raaaiiin on your wedding day.
So, it's up to you to mop up the irony, and cobble together a crew to find a fresh water source. The developers say it will give you "feelings of some of the classic story driven RPGs of the 90s". I like those feelings.
Now, I'm not fully sold on it yet. The turn-based combat looks pretty rudimentary, some of the animations are stiff, and the environments aren't the most polished. But the idea of exploring a twisted version of old New York is definitely appealing, especially if it's filled with interesting characters, and we're promised "cutthroats and rogues of every stripe". Here's the announcement trailer:
In the end, I guess it all comes down to the quality of the story. It's good to see developers putting time into making old-school RPGs, and I really hope they can nail it.
It's due out this autumn, with no specific release date yet. Do you like what you see?