City Ruler, not City Builder: Urban Empire offers a unique combination of classic city building and political management gameplay. Take on the role of a mayor, be a political mastermind and prove your skills by prevailing against opposing parties and guiding your city through technological evolutions and ideological revolutions.
Choose from 4 ruling families with 5 characters each, like the equal rights and social justice advocates the Kilgannons, or the Sant’Elias, who focus on scientific progress and the pursuit of knowledge.
Create and manage city districts on a large scale and fulfil your citizens’ needs – such as happiness, safety, and public services.
Introduce new ideas and technologies, like the electric tram, antibiotics or video games and use your power to convince the city council of your political agenda.
Up to 800 dynamic events represent the twists and turns of urban life: make and influence decisions on issues such as women’s rights, the hippie movement, and child labour.
The name of the publisher doesn’t tell you much. The real question is Who is the developer? It looks like Fragment Productions is in Finland, was founded by the creative director for Cities in Motion, and has previously made the Rescue emergency simulation series. (Are those like the Emergency games?)
Just FYI Quill18 and a bunch of other youtubers are uploading lets plays of a press build. It looks really interesting, but I would like to see some of the later eras before plomping down a significant sum for it.
What will decide it for me is how scripted the campaigns are. I expect some scripting with technological progress and issues with the empire crumbling around you, world wars, etc. etc., but if the political parties evolve in the same way (albeit with minor differences based on your actions) each game then I think it may have only limited replayability after the first time.
They also need to improve tooltips, the way that information is presented, and the English. That should all be fixable though.
I get the impression from the Steam forum that parties and events are the same in each playthrough, and there is no sandbox mode as such (although you can continue to play the campaign after a victory). My real concern is lack of tooltips and transparency. There is a lengthy thread about how important information is when asked to make a choice, and how without it it’s just random guesswork (I agree). The developers are adamant that knowing the results of a decision, even vaguely, somehow “spoils the story”.
All of this leads me to believe this will be more of a choose-your-own-adventure with some city building elements, rather than a city builder/political sim mashup.