Post-Apocalyptic 4X War Game Shadow Empire Finally Steps Into the Light

By Joe Robinson 09 Oct 2019 0

The further we move from the point of transfer between ownership by Slitherine/Matrix, and ownership by Network N, the less I recognise the games I see announced by our former Lord and Masters. Working for the digital war games company wasn’t so bad, as I was allowed to get some behind the scenes looks at what they were working on ahead of formal announcements.

Most have come out now, others have disappeared; but a few have yet to turn up, one of them being (until today) Shadow Empire. I rarely saw much on this game; there was the impression that it was early days and I never really had a good sense as to what the timeline was going to be. It’s made by the same team who made the Decisive Campaigns series, and this has been their only project (as far as I know) for the past couple of years.

Shadow Empire 4X war game

They’ve been posting semi-regular dev blogs to their website, the latest of which was July 31st. Now it seems they are confident the project is far enough along for Matrix to officially acknowledge its existence. Or they were getting bored of waiting, who knows? Despite the announcement going into great detail as to what the game is about, there isn’t actually any details of a desired release window. Not even a release year.

If you’ve never heard of Shadow Empire before, here’s what you need to know: Set in a post-apocalyptic setting, this is a turn-based 4X strategy war game where you must try and rebuild civilization through any means necessary (and by ‘any’, they probably mean ‘kill everyone’).

It boasts some very interesting features on paper, with keywords such as “Deep Management”, “Hardcore Military Simulation” … even procedurally generated maps!

Shadow Empire tech tree

The press blast that accompanied the announcement came with an extensive feature list, so we’ll just copy and paste it for your amusement:

  • Procedurally generated Planets according to the rules of Astrobiology that include Climates, Rainfall, Deserts, Snow, Glaciers, Lava streams, Deep Forests, Alien Evolution, Mountain chains, Resources, Rivers, Biohazard Level and Respiratory Hazard Level, etc.
  • Detailed Combat Resolution taking into account factors as Readiness, Morale, Supplies, Experience, Entrenchment, Landscapes, Recon, Rivers, Weapon and Armor Technologies, Concentric Attacks, Leader Skills and Posture Stratagems.
  • Discover and Operationalize over a 100 different Formation Types, each in 3 different sizes (like Infantry Armor, Heavy Assault Brigade, etc)
  • Discover and Design 30+ different Model Types (like Light Tank, Walkers, Missile Launchers, etc…)
  • The game starts at a Low Tech Level, but at the end of the Tech Tree you’ll find knowledge that allows you to build (for example): Laser Guns, Atomic Missile Launchers, Walkers, Shield-Generators and even ICBMs.
  • Discover and Research over a 100 different Tech Fields (like Assault Rifle, Algae Vats)
  • Units can pick up supplies from a road hex inside the Logistical Network in a certain operational supply range.
  • You can extend your Logistics Network capabilities by building Roads or Rails as well as constructing Truck Stations, Maglev Station and Supply Base Assets.
  • Leaders can be recruited and appointed to become Zone Governors, Council Directors, Army Commanders or Advisors.
  • Leaders can have over 40 different Skills and can receive Leader Feats to augment their Stats
  • You can play Stratagems (cards) on other Regimes, Leaders or Zones. Over 150+ available.
  • Unsatisfied Leaders could leave you, rebel or turn corrupt.
  • Leaders tend to band together in Factions.
  • Factions will put forward Demands on you, like asking you to conquer a neighbour or raise your Tech Level.
  • You either have a Parliament, Senate or Politburo in your nation, you will be able to change the system during a game
  • On the Diplomacy front: Minor Regimes can be coerced to become a vassal or even join you. Major Regimes can be tied into a number of pact and deals to ensure a peaceful coexistence.
  • Realistic supply model where running out stuff always has consequences. Lack of Oil will immobilize your troops, lack of Ammo will for sure stop any offensive operations and a lack of Food might just starve and kill your Troops and Populace.
  • Different kinds of Mining operations possible: Water, Metal, Rare Metals, Oil and Radioactives.
  • Prospecting is often necessary for discovering Resources that could be mined
  • Scavenge Ruins and discover rare Artifacts.
  • Supports multi-player

So there’s a lot there. Like I said, impressive, but this also carries a very ‘old-school’ aesthetic that’s not going to do it many favours. Still, there’s not a lot of innovation in the 4X space, so I’m definitely looking forward to give it a go whenever it decides to turn up.

You can read more about Shadow Empire on the official store page.

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