Pharaoh: A New Era used a 'certified Egyptologist to ensure the game's historical accuracy'

Pharaoh: A New Era, a remake of the classic 1999 city builder from Sierra, is set to launch on Steam next week, and to ensure fans are ready for it publisher Dotemu has released a lengthy trailer showcasing its overhauled graphics and gameplay, and also dropped some hints on how to get off to a strong start.

The video covers all the basics, from the usual resource gathering and early construction to setting up trade missions with nearby cities. It also shows off the "completely redesigned" UI in Pharaoh: A New Era, which is aimed at simplifying the job of building and managing cities, and of course the new and improved visuals—it's been a quarter century since the original, after all, and while that's not exactly ancient in a civilizational context, it's pretty old as far as videogame graphics go.

Also interesting, and kind of amusing (to me, at least), is the fact that all the remade buildings in Pharaoh: A New Era were "carefully evaluated by a certified Egyptologist to ensure the game's historical accuracy." I have to assume that commitment to accuracy is specifically in relation to the game's architecture, and not the parts where you have to, for instance, ensure the gods don't get pissed off at your poor management skills.

All told, Pharaoh: A New Era looks like a fairly straightforward city builder, with the usual array of building upgrades, fickle population, and various sorts of crises to deal with. There are a few promised twists, though, not least of which is that along with keeping your people happy, you'll also need to keep your boss happy: Pharaoh (the guy, not the game) has certain expectations of you, and likely won't take it well if you screw up the job.

To help you avoid any bad outcomes, Dotemu and developer Triskell Interactive have served up 10 helpful hints to get things going. Some of this stuff is pretty obvious, especially if you played the original, but it never hurts to have these things spelled out: It's amazing how often things go sideways because people gloss over the first step, "Read and understand the mission briefing and the win and defeat conditions." (That applies to real life as much as videogames, by the way.)

🐪 Read and understand the mission briefing and the win and defeat conditions

One of the first things you absolutely need to focus on when starting to play Pharaoh: A New Era is the mission briefing that will sum up the main objectives to achieve and how to avoid defeat. 

🐪 Place your first plots of housing

It all starts with the construction of plots of housing to populate the unoccupied lands of your future empire. Place the first housing to provide migrants with a suitable place to live.

🐪 Access to water is the key

It's important to place wells nearby their households in other words on lands with underlying groundwater.

🐪 Services you'll need to guarantee the safety of your citizens and workers

Build an architect's office as well as a fire station to prevent any fire or collapse. Other useful services will be available later on.

🐪 Local trade and exploitation of the kingdom's resources

Build hunting lodges to hunt the wild animals that populated the kingdom's lands and deliver the meat to the granaries, granaries to preserve the meat and deliver it to distributors, and a bazaar to guarantee distribution to your citizens.

🐪 Recruit and keep an eye on the % of unemployment

If you do not pay attention to the % of unemployment, a shortage of workers is to be expected. 

🐪 Make the kingdom prosper

Develop local trade in order to make the kingdom prosper and develop the services to improve the standard of living and well-being of your citizens

🐪 Enhance the desirability rate of the kingdom

Develop entertainment (juggling or dancing schools etc.), build temples and shrines in honor of the gods, and embellish the city with gardens or ornate paving stones to contribute to the desirability of the city. 

🐪 Keep the Gods pleased

If they aren't worshipped enough, your city will suffer the wrath of the gods. 

🐪 Hold a festival in honor of the Gods

Festivals temporarily improve the gods' mood and increase your chances of getting your kingdom blessed. 

And now you know. Pharaoh: A New Era is set to launch on Steam on February 15.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.