Developer: Cyanide Montreal / Publisher: Paradox Interactive / Platform: PC / Release: Q1 2013
Set in the Majesty universe, Impire begins with the failure of a conjurer named Oscar van Fairweather, who manages to summon Baal-Abbadon, lord of the underworld, into the mortal world through the body of a diminutive imp. Never trust a wizard named Oscar, I always say.
What follows is a humorous blend of strategy and tactics, as the game unfolds on two layers. The first layer is the actual dungeon management; you guide Baal around the underground lair that’s been set aside for him. Baal can summon worker imps, who can then carve out new, nefarious rooms for your lair, or be set to gather resources or perform tasks to help develop your army.
The second layer is the actual troop management. Certain rooms give you the ability to create different soldiers, from melee specialists to ranged attackers, who can then be assigned into four man (demon?) squads. You can then send these squads out into the underground to achieve objectives, or better yet, send them to the surface world to commit evil deeds that help Baal’s power grow. But it goes even deeper than that: depending on the types of units you build your squad out of, you get bonuses that affect all units in the squad, and with multiple squads, you have a lot of options to work with.
As you progress in the game, you’re able to construct weapons and armor for your units, and Baal himself levels up, growing in power. Since he’s also a capable fighter, sometimes his extra punch of offense helps you through some tough combat spots.
And if that wasn’t enough to keep track of, as the game progresses pesky heroes will invade your dungeons. You have to always be on the lookout for knights and mages who want to sneak in and kill your workers while your squads are off causing mischief to make sure to teleport your troops back to defend the house in emergencies. In short, as the game starts to ramp up, there is never any downtime; you’re constantly clicking, scouting, and building. It’s a frantic way to play an RTS, but as you keep the ship together, it does become breakneck fun.
The development behind Impire actually started a while back, when Cyanide Montreal began talking to Paradox about doing a dungeon management game. As the concept went along, the team decided they wanted to add in some other elements to the gameplay, namely the squad-based RTS options.
But even before production began, a team needed to be assembled.
“Actually it’s quite a story,” says Cyanide Montreal studio director Yves Bordeleau. “I used to be the CEO of Wicked Studios and the art director was the guy who used to do my album covers when I used to do my metal band back in the day. So he is art director for Cyanide Montreal. One of my oldest friends was a designer at Funcom on The Secret World and when I put the team together he joined us. So I kind of made my group of super heroes for this project. It was really exciting.”
Given that Yves and his crew have a history with metal music, it’s no surprise that Impire is filled with metal jokes and references, whether that’s the look of the game or the actual writing.
“Even if you’re not into metal, you will still laugh,” he adds.
Impire will be out very soon, he promises. In the meantime, be sure to keep an eye out for the rest of our coverage from Paradox Con 2013.