Empyre: Lords of the Sea Gates, announced today by developer Coin Operated Games, is an isometric RPG that puts a "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" twist on an early 20th century "neo-Victorian" New York City. In this alt-history timeline, the oceans have risen and the city is flooded—but none of the water is any good for drinking. It thus falls to you, the hero, to embark upon a quest to find a fresh water supply, picking up companions and putting down foes along the way.
"One of the things we strove for when designing Empyre is authenticity during an ‘Age of Technical Wonder’ in the United States, the Gilded Age. For example, the New York City we all know is the city in this game, and history buffs will recognize many iconic locations that existed in the city during the 1910s, but with a unique, waterlogged twist," creative director John Randall said. "People and society exist and act as they did in the early 20th Century. We feel this level of detail will give players a one-of-a-kind experience that they haven’t seen anywhere before."
The game will feature "poisons and tonics" appropriate to the era, while objectives and side quests "will tie directly into the experiences that someone in the 19th century would have," the studio said. Combat will be a "hybrid real-time/turn-based" system that sounds similar to the "real-time with pause" battles common in isometric RPGs: Players will switch between a "planning mode," in which they issue orders to their party members, and an "action mode," in which those orders (and hopefully the bad guys) are executed.
Empyre: Lords of the Sea Gates is expected to be ready for release in the fall, but for now you can get a closer look at what it's all about at empyrethegame.com. We've also got some screens to dig into below.