You may recall several weeks back at GDC when we previewed the upcoming massively multiplayer online strategy game Empire of the Eclipse from Zarksoft. This ambitious title aims to offer up an experience that is practically unheard of for a mobile title, with an expansive universe to explore and conquer as you build up an army and take on hundreds or even thousands of other players online. The sheer amount of depth in Empire of the Eclipse is incredible, and Zarksoft has done a marvelous job of creating an intuitive and friendly interface for dealing with it all.

Take a look at this hands-on demo from GDC which explains a tiny bit of what Empire of the Eclipse is all about:

The game was originally slated for the end of March, but after showing off the game to their peers at GDC, the main feedback that Zarksoft received was that the battles in the game lacked a visceral quality. As such, they have gone back to work on this element of the game, along with tightening up the rest of the gameplay to ensure that it will be the best that it can be. Unfortunately, that also means the game will be delayed without a firm release date in sight, though Zarksoft is confident they’ll have the game ready by Summer.

In the meantime, take a look at this teaser video they have prepared that shows off the new direction of the combat in the game. It has an Advance Wars flavor with the close up view, but it shows large scale battles rather than just single units. Battles will also take time to play out so that you can gather up reinforcements or even have allies join in the fight with you.

I’m definitely looking forward to checking out Empire of the Eclipse, and although it’s a bit disappointing to see the game get delayed I’m sure it will end up being for the best. I’ve played several MMO type games on iOS, and just about every single one of them has felt a bit cheap in that they require a considerable monetary investment in order to be successful. Empire of the Eclipse doesn’t want to take that approach, and instead will be utilizing a subscription service of $1.99 per month to play. This ensures that everybody remains on a level playing field, and you’ll need to rely on your own skill level rather than buying your way to the top in order to do well in the game.

There’s a discussion in the upcoming games thread in our forums where Zarksoft has been leaving updates on the game’s progress, and we’ll bring you any new information on Empire of the Eclipse as it nears release sometime this Summer.

  • Invincible

    Wow 1.99/month?! Anyway, game looks super. And I'm digging the battle sequences. App Store needs more Sci Fi games like these. I'm not much of an MMO gamer though. Hopefully there'll be more of these games in the future, which would have single player campaigns.

  • Jonhtthth

    true. MMO style somehow require subscription, but still, that'd be a first on the appstore. anyway, I'm still waiting for a iHomeworld.

    • Invincible

      Same here! I loved Homeworld back in PC. Battles were epic.

  • Anonymous

    This looks like it will play like Travian (the browser game at travian.us), only in space and for the iPhone. Am I correct?

  • Leedot

    It's like travian only in sense that they're both online strategy games but they're very different otherwise. Really it's much more like playing Civ / MOO but on iOS with thousands of other people in slower paced realtime setting.

    A couple quick differences from Travian / OGame / most web based online strategy games.-

    - You can't do better in Empire by spending more money.

    - First off Empire is a much more graphical experience than games like Travian or OGame in that you can actually see your units and other units moving around the map. Playing Empire feels much more like playing a desktop strategy game than simply navigating a web page and being left to imagine the rest.

    - Exploration and espionage plays a much larger role in Empire since you start out with no knowledge of the galaxy around you and the only information you're given about other players is what you can see and what are told by other players.

    - Empire has a strong focus on avoiding micromanagement and has a number of options for queuing up research, build orders, and harvester routes so you don't need to constantly baby sit the game to progress.

    I could go on but those are some highlights.

  • Mwhite67

    That sucks, I wanted to play this.

  • Sheriff

    I agree that some players wouldn't have as much free time to play, and even I am sometimes bogged down with work.

    But could you NOT spend "5min" playing the game? What if I had say an hour or 2 to kill, could I make good use of that time playing this or is it a 5minutes then sit/wait type system?

    What I mean is, are there things you can do to keep you occupied if you have more time to play?

  • Leedot

    In terms of what do players do when they want to spend a few hours playing the game vs. a few minutes there's making contact / scheming with other players and exploring the universe.

    For reference the number of players is about 2% of the universe size so there's about 90k sectors to map out on a full sized game and even then you only see what's going on in that sector if you've actually have ships / a planet there so you might need to actively keep an eye one some areas.

    So there are always things to do while you're in the game that allow for progression but the amount of benefit gained by spending all day in the game is more in world knowledge / player relations and small efficiency gains.

    • Leedot

      Oh, I should also add that players can have more than one game going at a time if they really want to spend a lot of time playing it.

  • Yah!

    Reminds me of Spaceward Ho! for Classic Mac

  • James Mcfarlin

    Has everyone forgotten Outer Empires - it was a space mmo set in a MASSIVE galaxy with a MASSIVE scope for game play!

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