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Empires and Allies By Zynga Launching June 1 On Facebook

JGaskill
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Posted May 31, 2011 - By Jake Gaskill


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Empires and Allies Officially Revealed; Releasing June 1

FarmVille creator Zynga has officially unveiled Empires and Allies, its newest and most ambitious Facebook game to date that brings together the social gaming brilliance of CityVille with the nation building strategy foundation of Risk. Not only is Empires & Allies Zynga’s first full blown strategy game, and the first to be developed by Zynga Los Angeles, it also represents the biggest launch of any Zynga title to date.

Starting June 1, Empires & Allies will be available on Facebook in 12 languages -- English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Indonesian, Turkish, Traditional Chinese, and, for the first time for a Zynga game, Malay, Korean, and Norwegian.


As the game’s executive producer Amer Ajami explained to us in a recent phone interview, Empires & Allies kicks off following a devastating assault on a peaceful tropical island. In the wake of destruction, it will be up to players to rebuild their country and set out to punish those responsible, a villainous cadre known as the Evil Dark Alliance, who are led by the uber-villainous figure called, the Raven. To do this, you will be gathering resources, building up your armies, and working with or against your friends on your path to world domination.

Empires & Allies Launch Trailer »


 

Empires & Allies will include a full story campaign set across 15 different enemy controlled territories, each of which has a unique leader who has some relationship with your right-hand ally, Scarlet. Through these relationships, you’ll come to understand more about the conflict that has led to your country’s annihilation.

The game’s core mechanics will instantly be familiar to anyone who’s spent any time with Zynga’s previous efforts, or any strategy game for that matter. Each player starts out with an island to call home. Like your city in CityVille, this is where most of your time will be spent. You’ll be able to build barracks, farms, and other installations to help you acquire more resources (oil, wood, ore) and to amass your fighting forces. The structures you build will yield you loot, which you can then put towards upgrades, more buildings, and the like.

Each island is also randomly assigned a raw material like gold, aluminum, or iron. Some items, like an aircraft carrier for instance, will require multiple materials to build, so it will be up to you to acquire those materials from your friends through trading, or, another Zynga first, through fighting, aka Fighting with Friends.

Fighting with Friends is where the game’s competitive strategy element comes into play. While you’re fully capable of trading and aiding your pals to ensure your mutual success, Empires & Allies also lets you stage invasions on your friends’ nations. Once you think your forces are up to snuff, you simply click “Invade,” and you’re taken to your friend/foe’s island. Here, you can select an area to invade, and the game will tell you how much money you can expect to gain from invading that specific block of structures. When you actually invade, a diagonal split-screen appears on screen, showing your forces on the bottom left and your enemy’s units on the upper right. You then pick how you want to attack (air, land, or sea), and the units you want to use. Combat then unfolds in classic turn-based format, with each successful attack yielding loot, and lasting as long as there is a unit left standing.

Empires and Allies Officially Revealed; Releasing June 1

If you successfully win the invasion, you will be able to leech any resources generated by the structures you selected previously for up to seven days. The invaded player will still be able to gather those resources too, but it will cost twice as much energy to do so. At any point though, you or a friend can choose to repel the invasion, and kick the invaders out. You can also leave messages behind after a successful invasion, should you feel the need to taunt your enemies further. If you’d rather not engage in any of this invasion business, you have the option of building a world embassy on your island, and, once a day, selecting an option that will prevent anyone from attempting to invade your country.

Anytime you pull off a successful invasion, you gain infamy points in the form of black hearts, which appear on your profile, making it easy to keep track of your so-called “friends.” If you act nobly and help out your friends, you gain honor points. As you gain more points, you’ll unlock new upgrades like instant heal (honor points) or a missile attack (infamy points).

From what we were shown of the game in action, it definitely looks like a beefed up version of CityVille. The character and world design sticks firmly to the cartoonish, Zynga aesthetic, which is hardly surprising given the company is hoping to attract casual diehards as well as strategy fans that might be new to the casual space. The menus and UI are expectedly “sticky,” and the animations are simple yet impressively expressive.

Empires and Allies Officially Revealed; Releasing June 1

Given Zynga’s track record when it comes to launching a new permutation on its highly successful formula, it’s hard to imagine Enemies and Allies not making a significant splash. It also has the luxury of launching well before Sid Meier and Firaxis’ own Facebook strategy effort, Civ World. Granted, both titles bring something a bit different to the table, given their respective pedigrees, but its certainly interesting to see two such high profile social-meets-strategy games coming to Facebook in such a short period of time. How either will fair remains to be seen, but in Empires & Allies’ case, we’ll know soon rather than later as it launches June 1.

Empires and Allies By Zynga Launching June 1 On Facebook
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