Space Empires IV

Recently I had a chance to speak with Richard Arnesen of Shrapnel games about their upcoming Gold edition of Space Empires IV. The game that for many hardcore fans sets the standards for the space exploration and combat genre.

GVK: Describe how the idea for the game came about.

RA: Aaron Hall, the developer, has always been a big fan of the genre and the Starfire series. Based on that inspiration he set out to make a 4X space game that he wanted to play.

GVK: Going into this game, what were the main objectives you wanted to achieve in
regards to content and gameplay?

RA: Well in this case we wanted to make this the ultimate version of the SE:IV experience. When SE:IV was released there were some areas we need to improve on and this such as multiplay, game balancing, and various other things. Gold release allows us to do that.

GVK: What were the biggest obstacles and success stories that you encountered
when you were creating the game?

RA: Our biggest obstacle was dealing with external contractors for a lot of our work. In some cases this worked out well, while in others it left us scrambling at the end to get all of the required work for the game done.

GVK: In regards to content, were there features you wished to include but were
unable to do so, and if so what were they?

RA: We would have liked to revamp the look and feel of the game as well as including our own editor to make modding the game easier, but there just was not enough time for that. Perhaps the mod community will take to it, and we will see some fantastic mods.

GVK: If you could change any part of the finished game, what would it be and why?

To be honest, except for what I listed above, I can’t think of anything. The game is what I have personally always wanted out of a 4X space based game/

GVK : What new features would you like to see be developed in terms of multiplay
for gaming?

RA: Well with SE:IV Gold we enhanced our support of multiplayer, mainly by the addition of TCP/IP play and this will allow more players to compete and enjoy the online portion of the game.

GVK: How long was the development cycle of the game?

RA: Well the original version of the game started in the summer of 1998, so with that and this Gold version that’s almost 4 years.

GVK: Will there be an add on pack or a sequel?

RA: No. We do plan for other games in the series, just nothing else with SE:IV as it is time to move on to another chapter in the series rather than polish up the previous one.

GVK: What are you working on now?

RA: Well Malfador, the developer, has a RPG title they are currently working on. Shrapnel, that’s us the publisher, has a lot of stuff going on, just check out our website at