The best Star Wars game is still getting updates, 15 years later

A new patch restores some lost multiplayer maps, and opens up new potential for the game's thriving mod community

an imperial and a new republic fleet face of above a planet

Star Wars: Empire at War is a unique high point not only for Star Wars strategy games, but Star Wars games in general. A spiritual successor to the grand strategy classic Star Wars: Rebellion, Empire at War was the debut title of Petroglyph, a studio made up of ex-Command & Conquer devs (who recently did excellent work with the Command & Conquer Remastered Collection).

Empire at War was released in 2006, with the Forces of Corruption expansion dropping later that same year. It featured a turn-based grand strategy layer where – as either the Empire, Rebel Alliance, or the ‘underworld’ – you had to compete over control for planets on the galaxy map and build up your forces. Whenever the two sides met, you would then fight out either a real-time space battle or a land battle, depending on the situation. It was (and still is) an excellent romp if you’re a pre-Disney Star Wars fan.

As the studio moved on to bigger and better things, support for the game became increasingly sporadic, with the previous patch before now dropping in mid 2018. Thankfully, after managing to find a few spare weeks between projects, the developers were able to put some time into releasing another new patch.

This new update was created specifically in collaboration with the Empire at War community, with some of the more prominent modders putting together a list of high-priority items they’d like to see fixed.

You can read the official patch notes, but the main highlight is that some pre-existing maps have been re-added into the game’s map pool. These include maps for Utapau and Dathomir for the Forces of Corruption expansion, which were apparently in the data files but just never included in the original release. The base Empire at War game has had five new maps (land and space) reinstated that were part of the gold pack bundle when it was originally created, but that weren’t included in the Steam version for some reason.

The rest of the changes focus on bug fixes and behind the scenes quality of life improvements. The Empire at War mod community seem especially excited about certain, changes such as being able to create story scripts for any faction now, and also a fix for a crash bug that would limit the number of factions you could code into the game.

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It’s worth clarifying that this patch is only for the Steam version. At the time of writing, it’s not been released for the GOG version, nor any of the disc-based retail versions.