Empire of Sin is an upcoming game that will focus on the conflict between different gangsters during the Prohibition era in Chicago, but the developers would love to be able to expand the concept - and scope - through DLC, which could include bringing in the five Mafia families of New York and some of the most dreaded criminals in American history. Empire of Sin was first announced during Nintendo's E3 2o19 conference as simulation/strategy game that combines running a criminal empire from the shadows with close-quarters battles between groups of gangsters in a tactical mode reminiscent of the XCOM series.
Empire of Sin is being developed by Romero Games, founded by John Romero of Doom fame and his wife Brenda Romero. John Romero might release the occasional Doom expansion, but the husband and wife team are currently devoted to creating an entirely different type of game - Empire of Sin is all about running a business in a world where the opponents don't play by the rules. The player takes on the role of a boss (chosen from a list of characters based on real criminals from the era) and must face off against other bosses and the police in order to expand their criminal empire.
A demo for Empire of Sin was made available to journalists during PDXCON 2019 and we had a chance to test the game (while also getting hands-on with Surviving the Aftermath). The Romeros were there as well to discuss the current state of the game and their plans for its future. Screen Rant had a chance to speak to the Romeros about Empire of Sin where Brenda revealed possibilities for future DLC content.
A lot of Paradox Interactive games are supported after launch with DLC. As Empire of Sin is set within a thin band of time, if given the opportunity to release more content after the game is released, how would you go about expanding the concept of gangster wars during the Prohibition era?
Brenda Romero: The amount of things that time... there are so many ideas. I can't commit to anything or even say what they are, but there are so many things that will be like "Oh my god, that would be amazing." We don't have time to do it, that's for DLC, we push that back. There is no shortage of things, as for instance, during this whole time there are gang challenges that are happening elsewhere like the five families of New York, they basically ended up forming the Commission, you know, and that's not even happening in Chicago, but it certainly affects Chicago and it affects some things that are happening during Prohibition. I mean it was a really a dynamic time, even though it was just thirteen years, so much happened during that time that the challenge for me as a game designer is not "Oh my goodness I'm running out of things to include" I don't know how I would run out of things. This game would have to have a ten year run for me to run out of every single thing. I mean, even just past Prohibition we start to see the rise of Bonnie and Clyde and John Dillinger and just so many incredible characters that existed during that time.
Organized crime is a popular genre for both movies and video games, yet stories in these mediums tend to cover criminals who exist in modern cities, as has been the case with the Grand Theft Auto and Saints Row games. The Prohibition era was a time when criminals held an incredible amount of influence and power, yet it's a period that is rarely touched upon in games. The '20s is a popular era for horror games, thanks to the works of H.P. Lovecraft, but it's a time that is surprisingly unrepresented for crime games.
Empire of Sin is shaping up to be an interesting title and the boundaries of its setting won't restrict any future content for the game. Brenda Romero has a lot of ideas for the future of Empire of Sin and the game's lifespan could potentially rival that of Prohibition itself. The rumored sequel to L.A. Noire might never see the light of day, which means that the Romeros could claim the market on old-time crime games.