E3 06: Caesar IV Impressions

It's been eight long years since the last Caesar game. We take a look at the fourth in the series to see whether it was worth the wait.

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LOS ANGELES--Caesar III was released over eight years ago, so the fourth version in the series has been a long time coming. That's not to say that the game has been in development for that long. Developers Tilted Mill have been working on the game for around 14 months to ready it for release on the PC this September.

Caesar IV is aiming to remain true to the basics of the city building, meaning that it focuses on construction, fulfilling the needs of your citizens, and playing the governor of a province in ancient Rome. Caesar himself sends you out across his empire to build up cities, and his considerations will be for a number of different goals that include economic and military gain.

Your city is rated in four different areas: prosperity, culture, security, and population. The biggest difference between Ceasar III and IV is in the intelligence of the population. Each household has a happiness rating based on its wage, possessions, and food, while also being arranged into three different classes. The lowest class of plebs will work in factories; the equines provide services such as medicine, religion, and entertainment; and the patricians are the rich members who pay taxes and spend money on the city. Like an army itself, the patrons will be responsible for different aspects of the city's prosperity, with plebs working on the day-to-day running, while the patricians' money is needed to make strategic developments.

The overall detail of the city is impressive at this stage of the game, which currently stands at 85 percent complete. From the citywide perspective, you can see traffic driving around the city, but if you zoom in to individual houses, you can see plebs squashing grapes with their feet while other workers deliver supplies. From here, you can see individual contribution to the city and check out how the workers are feeling and whether they're working or slacking off.

Building location and interdependency also play a much bigger role in Caesar IV. You can see how primary industries interact with secondary industries--they're drawn on the map so you can see who is supplying whom. You can also see the cultural reach of the theatre in your city, so you know where to concentrate your future efforts. Religion has also been expanded within the game, and there are now five gods within the game. They don't have a mythological effect and the gods don't walk the streets of the city, but worshipping gods does have an effect on the city. For example, building a monument to Mars will have a militaristic effect on the city.

Caesar IV is scheduled for release in mid-September this year, and the team is currently polishing the game to hit that date. We'll keep you up to date with any developments.

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