Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Wayback Wednesday: Haemimont Games!

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With Tropico 5 coming out in 2 days, we're going to take a peek into the history of it's creator Haemimont Games, which is officially that hardest game company's name to spell. Sad times.

It all started in September 1997, when a group of Bulgarians in Sofia were asked to create a Real Time Strategy game that hadn't been done before. At that moment, Haemimont Games was born, and they had already started the 3 year development of their first ever game, Tzar: Burden Of The Crown. Fast forward to March 2000, and Tzar had been released to some success. Playing as either the Europeans, Asians or Arabians, you had to develop your technology far enough so you could beat the enemy. With a map editor and 8 player multiplayer, it was ahead of it's time.

A month later, development started for their second game, Celtic Kings, an RTS set in Celtic times. It was actually funded entirely by the profit that Haemimont had made from Tzar! 2 years later, Celtic Kings was released to critical acclaim, garnering an 87 from Gone Gold, a 4.5 out of 5 by Computer Gaming World and the same score from Games Domain. With huge maps, scenario editors and more, Celtic Kings was another success.
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The next year, development started for quick-paced RTS game Rising Kingdoms, and that same year the first expansion to Celtic Kings, Celtic Kings: The Punic Wars was released. With two new factions, 2 new campaigns plus new maps, sound effects and music were enough to get The Punic Wars a 86% on Gamers' Hall. Then, in April 2004, development started on Glory of the Roman Empire, another historical RTS (You can see a bit of a theme here.) and in October another expansion to Celtic Kings, The Great Battles of Rome, was released to more critical acclaim.

The next year, on June 17 after being in development for 2 years, Rising Kingdoms was released to good critical acclaim, mainly for it's fast paced gameplay, long campaign and powerful "Champion" units that could make any match unpredictable and turn it on it's head. It was also that year that it was revealed that the Celtic Kings franchise had sold over 1 million copies of the original game and it's expansion. Then, in January 2006, Celtic Kings: The Great Battles Of Rome won the Spanish Double Platinum award for selling over 160,000 copies in Spain in just one year!

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Soon enough, June 2006 rolled around and, after two years, Glory Of The Roman Empire was released, a game more focused on building cities rather than destroying them, and it impressed critics and players alike with it's 3D modeled buildings and worlds, and had huge Roman structures in full detail. After that game, Haemimont took a two year break before releasing Imperium Romamnum in early 2008, a sequel to Glory Of The Roman Empire. It amazed critics with it's amazing graphics, and there were some fun scenarios to act out too, like the eruption of Mount Vesuvius and other big events.

A year later, a sequel was released, titled Grand Ages: Rome. Like the other games in the series, it had big campaigns, was focused on city building and was based in Rome, but unlike the other games it received average reviews and, after a final expansion pack, was the last city building game that Haemimont made, much like Celtic Kings: The Great Battles Of Rome was the last Celtic Kings game.

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At the end of 2009, Haemimont developed it's first game in it's well known Tropico series, Tropico 3. They had taken development over from PopTop Software. Tropico 3 was all about being a dictator, and it got favorable reviews for it's troubles, mostly for it's rewarding but challenging gameplay and huge replay value. This gave way to an Xbox 360 port the following year.

Taking a break from Tropico, Haemimont released The First Templar in May 2011, an action adventure game where you played as two disgraced Templars who try to unearth the Holy Grail. It was a unexpected game, considering Haemimont was known for it's RTS and City Building game, but sadly because of inexperience, The First Templar only got average reviews.

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Later on in 2011, Haemimont released their most recent game, Tropico 4. Once again, players could be in El Presidente's shoes and take control of their own totalitarian regime. For it's sense of humor and addictive gameplay, Tropico 4 got a great 77 on Metacritic.

Now, we come to the release of Tropico 5 in 2 days. Will it be as funny and long as it's predecessors? Or will it get stale? That's up to you to decide!

(I researched this on Wikipedia and Haemimont Games' website)

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