17 years after its release, the best Star Wars strategy game gets converted to 64-bit

A Star Destroyer in Star Wars: Empire at War
(Image credit: Disney, Petroglyph)

November is a time for looking back at the past, whether that's through Bonfire Night, Thanksgiving, or in a more recent tradition, randomly patching up old-ass games. Last week, Valve were patching decades-old bugs in Half-Life as part of the game's 25'th anniversary celebrations. Now Star Wars: Empire at War is getting 64-bit support, 17 years on since its release.

Issued as a "maintenance patch update", the headline change in the patch notes reads "Both games have been converted from 32-bit to 64-bit applications". This has been done to "solve many out-of-memory bugs and crashes that players were experiencing."

Alongside this conversion, the patch also addresses "multiplayer out of sync issues," and makes a few balance changes, including fixing "incorrect unit behaviour", because there's nothing worse than your Rebel Alliance rebelling in the wrong way.

While this might seem out of the blue, Empire at War's new patch is considerably less surprising than Half-Life's recent bugfixes. The game has received small annual patches on Steam for the last few years, as a joint project between the game's developers Petroglyph and Star Wars' owners Disney. Last year's patch stopped Coruscant from crashing, while 2021's update added several multiplayer maps. In fact, this cooperation goes all the way back to 2017, when Petroglyph issued a major patch that added features like windowed mode support and removed the thoroughly out of date Gamespy as a multiplayer solution.

Clearly Petroglyph has an enduring affection for its RTS all these years, and it makes sense for Disney to want to keep the current best Star Wars strategy game ticking over, at least until Bit Reactor's game launches. Regardless, it's great to see Empire at War being kept up to date all these years on. The game's huge modding community also means there's plenty of ways to modernise it too, such as the ambitious Empire at War Remake mod.