Gaslamp Games, the team behind the simply spiffing rogue-like Dungeons of Dredmor, has announced its next title: Clockwork Empires, a procedurally-generated city-building affair with steampunk oozing from its very pores.
In Clockwork Empires, players take on the role of Junior Bureaucrat (Colonial Grade), and set out to expand the empire. Although you might not think you need another city-builder in your life, Clockwork Empires is heavily inspired by the mental level of emergent gameplay in Dwarf Fortress and has some frankly arousing features.
For one thing, you’ll be customising your buildings – every time you construct something, you’ll be able to specify a number of features and factors, and then the game will procedurally “extrude” it for you. For another, each citizen has their own agenda and goals, so you’ll be micro- and macro-managing – although in true Gaslamp fashion, this potential nightmare will be rendered accessible.
Moreover, the setting’s pretty attractive. The 19th Century theme hasn’t just resulted in the usual steampunk fascination with gears on everything; it’s also generated a very Lovecraftian vibe, with CEO David Jacobsen advising PC Gamer that even your own citizens can’t be trusted.
“You know those old globes that have everything poorly drawn and had monsters all over them? That’s what the Clockwork Empire is like,” he said.
“If you’ve got a whole bunch of people researching in a building and you just sort of leave them to it and you don’t keep tabs on them, there’s a high probability that they can start doing evil things and summoning demons or something.”
In single-player, there’ll be no victory condition to the sandbox experience, as smacking down air pirates and battling sea serpents while failing to summon Cthulhu is a reward in and of itself. But there’s also a four-player multiplayer mode; it’ also open-ended, but when you’ve destroyed everyone else you can declare yourself the victor. Plus, you can always fire up round-robin mode and take turns with a shared vision.
Read more on Gaslamp’s blog. Clockwork Empires is coming to Linux, Mac and PC but a release date has not been set.