We described the 2006 Petroglyph RTS Star Wars: Empire at War as "a deep and beautifully-rendered take on Star Wars strategy" in our 2015 history of Star Wars on PC. More contemporaneously, we also said that it's "probably as close as we'll ever get to the grand RTS that the films deserve." So in short it's a really good game. There's only one problem: When Gamespy was shuttered in 2014, it spelled an effective end to Empire at War multiplayer, and thus a big reason to actually buy and play it.
That all changed today, however, as Petroglyph and Disney released an update that re-enables multiplayer support through Steam, in both the core game and the Forces of Corruption expansion. The patch also adds mod support via Steamworks and fixes a number of graphical and stability issues, "so you won’t get interrupted by errors and glitches as you fight for control of the galaxy."
"We have continued to watch the EAW community closely over the years and appreciate all the excellent support you have given us and the game," Petroglyph said. "Our thanks to all of you for the great feedback, awesome mod packs, and overwhelmingly positive reviews and Disney for facilitating the release of this work. We hope you enjoy this special update."
Coincidence or not (and I expect it isn't), the Star Wars: Empire at War Gold Pack on Steam is also on sale over the weekend for half price, cutting it to $10/£7.50/€10. The full patch notes are below.
- Gamespy completely removed as multiplayer solution in lieu of Steam multiplayer back-end in both FOC and EAW
- Enabled windowed mode support
- 2 internal crashes found / fixed – no specific repro steps available
- Fix for broken object shadows in Empire at War: Forces of Corruption
- Fix for start game button not highlighting on mouse over
- Fix for multiplayer campaign save/load not picking the right save game on the client
- Support for more than 3 AI players in applicable games
- Fix for galactic save/load not loading a save game unless it's in slot 0
- Disable General Network Options button – This was only applicable to old modem/GameSpy players
- Hooked up community/web buttons to appropriate Steam overlay pages/websites as applicable (The old Gamespy buttons simply don’t work anymore so we repurposed them)
- Enabled selection/list of player mods on hard drive
- Crash fix for attempting to load an FOC mod in original EAW game
- Bug fix for creating units that are non-selectable in very long duration galactic mode games (makes save games unplayable past a certain point)