Gaslamp Games has officially announced their forthcoming title, Clockwork Empire, which sounds like a Steampunk take on SimCity, that classic simulation of urban development. You build colonies, grow their industries and relationships, and deal with lurking dark forces described Lovecraftily as “unseen eye-clusters and malevolent entities trying to breach the walls of reality into this world.”

From the descriptions at least, they wisely seem to be sidestepping the colonialism/imperialism criticisms by simply not having any indigenous people or cultures. This makes the game version of colonization a matter of settlement, rather than one of assimilation, domination, or destruction. If this is not the case, and again, I’ve seen nothing beyond the press release, and they are planning on including indigenous people, they may have a fairly treacherous road ahead of them, given the exist critiques of Steampunk as empire-worship.

The idea of turning the Steampunk sensibilities to a city simulation is certainly exciting and I’m looking forward to playing this when it comes out. It should be available for Windows, OSX, and Linux, although one commenter is already asking for an Android port (and I wouldn’t be averse to an iOs version myself). No release date has been given yet.

Here are the features they list in their press release:

  • Dynamic, city-building, citizen-simulating action. Every imperial subject has a purpose and agenda of their own, and their interactions are rich, exciting, and often lethal!
  • New “procedural extrusion” technology lets you design your colony the way you want! Buildings are procedurally generated and extruded directly from the aether to your specifications!
  • Tame the uncharted continents by land, sea, and air! Set forth in mighty Zeppelins to do battle with Sky Pirates, or take to the seas in search of fortune and probably sea serpents!
  • Create magnificent acts of plumbing, link together mighty gears, and build ominous Megaprojects!
  • Tangle with the machinations of malevolent entities! Scry the legacy of the Invisible Geometers, fumigate the baleful moon-fungus of the Selenian Polyps, and cleanse the scuttling creepiness and poor personal and moral hygiene of your everyday, average cultist.
  • Losing is still fun! When your colony fails miserably, earn medals, promotions, and titles as befits a true politician and scion of the Empire!
  • Multi-player mode, with up to 4 players, lets you co-operate with your closest friends to build a glorious city… or fight a horrifying economic battle to total annihilation!
  • Round-Robin mode lets you share your Clockwork Empires with friends! Take turns running a colony directly into the ground then argue for fun-filled hours about whose fault it was! (Like Monopoly but with more exploding Zeppelins!)
  • Rendered in glorious GaslampVision! Thrill as the colours are brought to life by Gaslamp’s team of caffeine-addled artists labouring under the technical specifications of our elite programmers* to bring you a game that is rendered in Each of the Three Dimensions! New multi-core technology by Actual University Students lets you use every last ounce of power in your computer to run a thrilling and vivid simulation!
    (* We’ll see about that, Nicholas. Soon. – David)
  • Featuring the new Dynamic Soundtrack Orchestra – the Soundtrack that Adjusts to Your Gameplay! (Mr. M. Steele, conductor)
  • No always-online DRM requirement, unlike certain other games we don’t want to mention. You know who you are and your mothers are very disappointed.
  • Comes complete with the Gaslamp Games Quality of Excellence that you know and love, and if you don’t like something you can mod it yourself in the best tradition of Empire Craftsmanship!

Disclaimer: SimCity is the product and no doubt trademark of Electronic Arts.