Unusual is the time for Star Wars - the franchise has never been wider or better known, and Star Wars games today boil down mostly to action adventures, shooters, and role-playing titles. It wasn't like that 16 years ago - we also had Star Wars games from the strategic genre, and one of the best came out on this day.
Star Wars: Empire at War was the debut game of the then-new Petroglyph Games studio, which was moved to by several Command & Conquer series developers. Their RTS took us to the warring galaxy just before the event of the fourth film in the series. We could choose two sides and play as rebels or as an Empire.
The game was divided into two parts: space and land battles. Gameplay followed the classic loop of gathering resources, building bases and armies, and warfare in which we had full control of the units. As is usually the case, the units were designed according to the RPS system, so each had its advantages and disadvantages. Occasionally, the units were also represented by famous characters from the franchise, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Emperor Palpatine.
Star Wars: Empire At War received very good marks after its release. Seven months later, the first and final expansion for this game, called Forces of Corruption, followed. The game lost its online functionality in 2014 but was re-launched on Steam in 2017 with support for online multiplayer and workshops.
Even today, it is the best choice of Star Wars game in the RTS genre, and after 16 years, we received the news that another title of this type is coming up for us in the future.