Vega$: Make it Big Impressions

We take a look at Empire Interactive and Deep Red's upcoming casino empire-building strategy game.

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On a recent expedition to Empire Interactive's E3 booth we got to take a look at Vega$: Make it Big--a casino empire-building strategy game currently in development at Deep Red. Unsurprisingly, the game is set on the Las Vegas strip and will see you attempting to work your way up from owning a small plot of land so far from the center of the strip that it might as well be in the desert, to being responsible for a mighty resort incorporating hotels, casinos, restaurants, and the like.

The main gameplay mode is divided up into 12 levels, each one essentially representing a plot of land a little closer to the center of the strip and the obscene amounts of money that are waiting to be made there. Although casinos are what Las Vegas is best known for, Vega$: Make it Big will actually feature around 100 different building types for you to include in your resort. Ten different themed versions of major buildings such as hotels and casinos will be available, and depending on the kind of people that you're hoping to attract to your resort you'll be able to complement these with theme park rides, restaurants, bars, pawnbrokers, and the like. When building a casino you'll have the option to design the interior of it yourself or to get it fully furnished, and this is typical of the kind of variable levels of involvement you can choose to play the game with. In fact, if you play the game with the maximum level of involvement you can even be responsible for hiring and firing individual staff members and for setting the odds of winning on individual tables and slot machines in your casino.

In addition to your overall goal of working your way into the center of the strip, subgoals will pop up from time giving you a chance to make extra money. The example we were given during our demonstration involved preparing the resort for a major boxing match--which would involve not only building an arena to house the fight, but also ensuring that there'd be enough accommodations and places to eat for those people attending the event.

Looking after members of the public on your resort is all well and good, but before you can do that, you need to entice them off the sidewalks before your competition does. The strip in the version of Vega$: Make it Big that we saw today had about 1,000 people walking around on it, but the Empire Interactive representative that was showing us the game assured us that the number of potential customers in the retail version of the game will be closer to five times that figure. To ensure that people visit your resort you'll obviously have to incorporate features that people want, but what you'll also have to look out for are certain things that people will go out of their way to avoid--loud noise and bad smells for example. So that you can keep track of things that might put people off your resort, the game employs a system whereby if you choose to highlight areas that smell bad, for example, they will show up in bright red, while less nasally offensive locales will show up in green.

Although none of the real Las Vegas casinos and hotels appear in the game, Vega$: Make it Big will ship with an editor package so that you can create your own resort themes from scratch when it's released in July. We'll bring you more information on the game as soon as it becomes available.

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