Imperator: Rome - Release Date, Gameplay, Map, and everything else we know!04 Dec 2018 2
Known unofficially before it was announced as ‘EU: Rome II’, Imperator: Rome is Paradox Interactive’s newest grand-strategy game and the spiritual sequel to 2008's cult classic EU: Rome.
A blend of Europa Universalis, Crusader Kings & Victoria franchises, Imperator will throw players into the height of antiquity before Rome’s ascendancy was assured. You can pick nations from the far-flung tribes of Britannia, all the way through to India, with the majority of the action focusing on the Mediterranean basin.
We’ve collected all of the information currently known about Imperator: Rome, and we’ll keep this article update as more and more information comes out.
The only official word is that Imperator: Rome is due out in 2019, however in various interviews Johan Andersson has remained confident that it will be out within the first six months of next year, with an aim of "early" 2019.
As of November 2018, the game still wasn't officially in beta, although one was expected to start running over the holiday period.
Tutorial: There is a tutorial campaign where you play as Rome (and are given a few buffs to ease things a long). It mainly involves a checklist of tasks and instructions for the player to work through that will introduce them to key concepts and gameplay loops, and is supposed to last a couple of hours.
Timeline: Imperator will start in 304 BC (Or 450 AUC) and end around the start of the 1st Century CE. No specific dates have been given, but as Christianity is confirmed not to be part of the game at launch, pre-planned content will probably around 33 CE.
Gamemap: Includes Britannia across to the Indian subcontinent and Tibet, and also stretches from the lower parts of Scandinavia all the way down to Ethiopia. The map is divided up into provinces each containing a single city, of which there are over 7000. Provinces are grouped into regions. There are currently over 400 playable nations.
The map will be a mixture of areas with densely packed playable tribes, and areas with white 'empty' space that can be colonised by neighbouring polities. Tribes specifically can 'migrate' - an action that converts all the pops in a region into an army of light infantry that can be used to fight, or to settle white empty spaces on the map. The vacated area loses it's ownership tag and becomes colonised land. It's unclear if they can settle territory already occupied by an existing faction.
Provinces have a civilisation value which effects the growth rate of colonies. White spaces still generate pops over time, as do any other region.
Religion: The main mechanic involves spending the 'Religion' power to call down omens form the gods. These are powerful, but temporary buffs. You can also raise your stability by sacrificing animals, and lowering war exhaustion is also done via the Religion tab.
Christianity will NOT feature, however there will be plenty of different faiths depending on region. We get the impression religious tensions may not be a major mechanic in Imperator as it is in other games:
“Doesn’t matter in which one you believe in, but if you don’t believe in the official religion you’re not perfectly trusted. But whether you worship a bull, or a person who’s been properly and legally crucified… it doesn’t really matter.”
Trade Goods: Cities can produce trade goods, of which there will be 30-40. Having them in your empire grants you buffs and advantages to that local area, but there’s the potential for ‘excess’ goods that can be traded with foreign entities for a buff. Stacking surplus resources in a province will grant better bonuses, and if that province is your capital the bonus is applied across your entire polity.
Trade goods are also used a pre-requisites. For example, ‘Wood’ is needed to build/recruit Triremes, 'Iron' is needed for Heavy Infantry and 'Horses' are needed for Heavy Cavalry.
Start Dates: "I don't want to change start dates."
Population: There are four population types: citizens, freedmen, tribesmen and slaves. Each pop type produces something different:
- Citizens produce commerce and research.
- Freeman provide the majority of the manpower needed for armies.
- Tribesman provide a little tax money, a little manpower, but are considered “inefficient” pops overall.
- Slaves provide taxes and help generate trade goods.
Each population type has its own culture, religion and happiness level, all of which need balancing against the needs of the state. Populations can be promoted or moved to a new province both of which cost power points. The amount of population you have effects the number of buildings you can have in a province. For each 10 pops, you get another building level.
Different Government types will have a bias towards different populations - Tribes, for example, will mainly have Tribesmen and Slaves. Even though Tribesmen don't specialise, a lot of tribal mechanics and events can boost their output, as do certain trade goods.
Power points: There are four different power types in the game, and each one is used to do different things:
- Military power is used to get new military traditions, inspiring devotion, as well as all unique unit abilities.
- You use Civic Power to get inventions, set up trade routes, and moving your pops about, amongst other things.
- You spend Oratory Power on Fabricating Claims, Improving Relations, Enacting Laws, Endorsing Parties and many other things where a silver tongue is useful. Migrating provinces as a Tribe government also uses this power.
- Some of the things you use Religious Power on is to stab pigs, convert pops and call omens.
Government's & Nations
There are three types of governments – Monarchies, Tribes and Republics, each with their own mechanics and playstyle.
The leader of a Tribe is called the 'Clan Chief', and he/she will also have to contend with the leaders of the other prominent families within that clan. Tribal factions have the ability to 'migrate' their provinces, which is an easier and more efficient way of colonising and/or moving pops around, although it's far more expensive.
Tribes can reform to become Tribal Kingdoms, turning themselves into a Monarchy.
Republics have factions instead of families as their inter-personal mechanic - each faction has it's own agenda and goals. These factions populate a unique mechanic called the Senate. The Senate will have it's own opinion on the various 'faction-wide' actions a player can take - for example, any form of diplomacy with another nation will need Senate approval, like forming an alliance or declaring war.
You can still force things through the senate, but you then start to generate tyranny. You can see which factions oppose you and try and swing them around to your way of thinking.
Check back later when we will have more concrete information on Monarchies.
Your nation/polity will be ranked depending on its size and general make-up, the ranks are:
This is only possible if your country is no more than 1 city large. A City State can be a part of a defensive league, and has the following bonuses.
- +20% Commerce Income
- +20% Defensiveness
- +1 Diplomatic Relation
This is countries that have less than 10 cities. Local Powers can be part of defensive leagues, and they have the following bonuses.
- +2 Diplomatic Relation
This is polities that have at least 10 cities. They can use the diplomatic abilities Threaten War and Guarantee, and they have the following bonuses.
- +3 Diplomatic Relation
- +1 Trade Route in Capital
- +1 of each Power for matching Ideas to Government Form for a total of +2.
These are countries with at least 20 provinces, and that are not subjects of other nations. They can use the diplomatic abilities Intervene in War, Enforce Peace, Threaten War and Guarantee, and they have the following bonuses.
- +5 Diplomatic Relation
- +2 Trade Route in Capital
- +2 of each Power for matching Ideas to Government Form for a total of +3.
Imperator follows the design philosophy set down by CK2 in how you perceive relationships with the AI. There will be a summary of positive & negative modifiers to a relationship. Aggressive expansion makes a return, although they plan to try and implement it in a better way than they did with EU4, which was described as "clunky". Diplomacy will involve relation slots, limiting the amount of nations you can have pacts with, and there will be a new 'Defensive League' option.
List of diplomatic actions:
- Declare War / Sue for Peace
- Offer/Dissolve Alliance
- Proclaim Guarantee
- Ask/Cancel Military Access
- Offer/Cancel Military Access
- Demand/Break/Cancel Tribute
- Request/Cancel Trade Access
- Support Rebels
- Fabricate Claims
- Invite/Kick/Leave Defensive League
- Improve Relation
- Send Gift
- Intervene in War
- Threaten War
- Enforce Peace
- Sell City
Characters will be present, although their role will be limited to how they fit within the political machines of state. Characters can be assigned as Governors & Generals/Admirals. Characters will also be faction leaders that you may have to contend with, and each government type has several roles within Government that you can give to the prominent figures within your polity. They can no longer be used as envoys as in EU: Rome.
A Character also has his or her personal stats, attributes & traits. They will have a health value between 0 and 100 - when it reaches 0, that character will die. Different game elements will effect whether this goes up or down, with serious ones causing monthly reductions. Don't expect a cripple to live long.
Characters will also have their own personal wealth which is largely derived by their income. Characters can earn money by having holdings in a city, or specific titles/jobs. There are many character interactions that cost wealth and/or power, and you can read the full list here.
The four primary stats are:
- Popularity - Popularity is a measure of how the people see the character. In republics high popularity characters are more likely to elected leader of the republic. However even monarchies cannot ignore popular people.
- Loyalty - Loyalty is a measure of a character's loyalty to the state. Disloyal characters are more likely to cause problems to a ruler than loyal ones. However even the most loyal of characters has their limit.
- Prominence - Prominence represents the fame of the character. Jobs and titles help bring characters to public attention.
- Corruption - Corruption is a measurement of this character’s willingness to engage in underhanded practices. Greed, bribery and the bending of rules come hand-in-hand with high corruption.
The primary attributes are:
- Martial represents a character's ability to fight and lead troops. Characters with high martial skills make excellent generals.
- Charisma is a character’s ability to charm and persuade others.
- Zeal is a character's ability to inspire faith in other characters, and also in calling upon the favour of the gods.
- Finesse represents a character's skill in disciplines requiring a high attention to detail. High finesse characters make excellent researchers and governors.
And traits can be categorised in the following areas:
- Personality - This includes being Brave or Coward, Cruel or Merciful. These impacts the character attributes and stats directly, as well as….. :)
- Military - Usually a character has a maximum of one of those, that may give a bonus or penalty
- Health - Stressed, Maimed, Lunatic etc. Not beneficial to the character in most cases. These will effect a character's 'Health' stat every month.
- Status - Some exceptional traits that can be given from actions, like Conqueror"
Characters can also be part of factions/families. Characters will have loyalty values towards the state, the faction ruler and potentially other characters. Characters can see each other as Friends or Rivals, changing how they interact. There will be mechanics for having Spouses and children, although from what we've seen so far this is all largely controlled via events, and not via a CK2-like system.
Civil Wars, Military Traditions, Armies
Loyalty is a key mechanic for characters. Disloyal characters can rebel against your faction ruler and trigger civil wars if they have enough troops loyal to them. Barbarian factions can move through and sack your lands, or settle it for themselves. You can 'raid' provinces to steal Pops and bring them back to your nation as extra Slave pops.
There will be nine different units types that can populate an army. Each ‘unit’ represents 1000 men, as it does in EUIV. Different units will have different strengths and weaknesses against the other unit types and many units have either resource requirements or need specific military traditions to use. There are special abilities, for example Roman units can build roads, or you can raid enemy provinces.
There is a big list of abilities that armies and units can do, although some of these are unique to specific units or cultures, and others will have to be unlocked.
- Create New Unit - Allows you to create a new unit and transfer cohorts/ships to it, or back.
- Consolidate - Merges cohorts of the same type, and then disbands empty cohorts.
- Detach Siege - Leaves behind a large enough force to siege or occupy the current city.
- Split Half - Splits the Unit in Half
- Recruit To - Opens up the recruit window, so you can recruit cohorts/ships directly to this unit. They will automatically march and merge to this unit.
- Disband - For when you don’t want that unit anymore.
- Select Objective - Can Select an Objective for this unit, and it will perform it without further input from you. More details in a later development diary.
- Allow Attachment - Allow other nations units to attach to this one.
- Cavalry Skirmish - Trades Defence for Offence on Light Cavalry and Camels.
- Phalanx - Slower movement for armies, while heavy infantry defence is much stronger.
- Padma Vyuha - Slower movement for heavy infantry defence and archer offence
- Unit Reorganisation - Double Maintenance and Slow movement speed, but unit reinforcing and morale recovery is much faster. Without using this, units recover slower than in previous games.
- Force March - Heavier Attrition and No morale recovery while moving much faster.
- Attach/Detach to Unit - Attach/Detach to another unit present in the city.
- Shattered Retreat - Gives the order for the unit to perform a shattered retreat. This is handy if you want to save the remnants of your army trapped deep in enemy territory, or when you are cut off by hostile Forts.
- Construct Border Fort - Creates a colony in an unowned city bordering you, adding 1 freeman pop of your culture and a fort for military power.
- Desecrate Holy Site - Spend religious power in another nations capital to reduce their omen power for a long time.
- Raise Levies - Spend Military Power to get more cohorts to your unit.
- Military Colonies - Spend Military Power to create a freeman pop of your culture/religion in the current city.
- Raid City - Spend Military Power to get gold and manpower from an enemy city.
- Build Road - Spend Military Power to build a road towards the next city the army moves to. See this dev diary for more info.
There are seven different military traditions in the world, tied to which culture-group you have that unlock unique abilities, unlocks new units and give special bonuses to units. Each tradition has three separate paths the player can choose to go down, with each path having seven options, upon unlocking the 7th option, you get an additional special bonus. It is unlikely you'll be able to progress down all three paths by the end of a game. Dev diary #15 shows off the 'Barbarian' tradition, which offers the Britannic, Germanic and Gallic paths.
Armies can have characters assigned to them as generals. You can also choose an 'Offensive' and a 'Defensive' stance to use - these don't grant anything in and of themselves, but there is a light 'rock-paper-scissor' mechanic in which different offensive stances get bonuses when facing off against certain defensive stances, and visa-versa. At the time of writing, there's no way to see what stance an enemy has until you're in combat with them (at which point your choice is locked).
You can also set, for each army, which unit type you would prefer to be in the front rank, second rank, and flanks. You can also set the size of the flank. This is a 'preferred' status, and is dependant on what the army's unit composition is, as well as the morale states of those units.
Unrest no longer causes 'rebel' units to spawn, which have been removed from the game completely - it instead impacts the loyalty of a province which will either feed into the civil war mechanic, or cause that province to try and declare independence.
Attrition: Supply limits in Imperator, at the time of writing, are a lot more restrictive than in past games. Even within your home territory at peace, it's extremely difficult to stack large armies together. Supply Limits can be improved via tech and trade goods (among other things). It's very important you pay attention to where your units are going, how they are getting there, and where you choose to fight. Manpower generation also seems fairly slow compared to past games.
Imperator is still in the very early stages of development, so everything above is subject to change and the whims of the development team. Conjecture and assumptions are clearly labelled, otherwise information is backed up by written sources, interviews or hands-on time (not all of which will be listed).