Empires & Allies launches preemptive strike for Zynga against Civ World, arrives June 1

Known for crafting a variety of addictive, microtransaction-based Villes, Zynga has yet to step into the strategy genre. But with tomorrow's launch of Empires & Allies, the predominantly casual gamer-focused company enters the ring with the likes of Firaxis -- a veteran developer currently honing its own Facebook strategy title, Civilization World. And strategically speaking, Zynga's in a good spot launching tomorrow, considering Civ World's still ambiguous "summer" release window.

Per Zynga's press release, Empires & Allies is "strategy combat gone social ... think CityVille meets Risk," further explained as a combination of Zynga's world-building games with a new strategy-combat twist. Beyond fighting off other empires, brokering diplomacy and navigating global politics with Facebook friends, players will also be striving for vengeance against an "unapologetic tyrant" known as "The Raven" who, apparently, collapsed your empire. Thankfully, video game omnipotence has made it possible to seek revenge.

Ex-EA Command & Conquer designer Amer Ajami is heading up the project as executive producer, the first title Ajami has released as head of Zynga's Los Angeles development studio. Head past the break for a look at the game in action, four short hours before launch.%Gallery-124927%
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Zynga Mobilizes First Strategy Combat Game in 12 Languages

SAN FRANCISCO – May 31, 2011 – Zynga today announced the global launch of Empires & Allies, including more social features than any Zynga game. Debuting in 12 languages, Empires & Allies is the company's first strategy combat game, a new genre for Zynga, and the company's first title to be launched out of Zynga's Los Angeles studio. Empires & Allies will be available on June 1, 2011 in English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Indonesian, Turkish and Traditional Chinese – and for the first time, Malay, Korean and Norwegian.

Set on a sprawling multi-island game board, Empires & Allies integrates familiar game play elements from popular Zynga titles into a story-driven combat crusade. Players aim to build a thriving island-nation by arming themselves against enemy forces and preparing for battle. Throughout the game, players will build army units, recruit friends, and encounter helpful allies and unique villains as fight their way across enemy-held territories on the quest to defeat the final villain.

"Empires & Allies is strategy combat gone social – think CityVille meets Risk," said Amer Ajami, executive producer of Empires & Allies at Zynga. "We're focused on bringing our players a new form of entertainment and a strategy game is definitely a new playground for us. Play is in everyone's DNA, and this game lets you have fun and get creative by choosing your own destiny, building a nation and eventually, conquering the world."

As nation leaders, players strive to build powerful empires and expand to new islands, while getting play-by-play tips from Scarlett, a personal military advisor. Empires & Allies also introduces 30 characters that help guide play and reveal plot secrets along the way.

Empires & Allies features include:

Building an Empire
Feared by his allies and hated by his enemies, "The Raven" is an unapologetic tyrant who wanted his pet mascot to be an eagle, but he couldn't catch one. In a tirade, "The Raven" has destroyed your empire. Once the rubble from the attack on your empire is cleared, build your empire's population back up. Build island huts, cottages, houses and more to collect rent to fund your expanding empire.

Mobilizing Your Troops
Get ready to fight "Captain Krunsch," an old school seaman who relishes taking out his enemies the old-fashioned way--with his bare, arthritic hands. Build formidable ground, naval and air defense to protect your empire and beat those invaders back. Use Unit Research Laboratories to upgrade your armies and unlock new attack bonuses.

Fight With Friends!
Sometimes the best defense is a good offense. Build up your troops, recruit your friends and send them out to invade in-game villains and advance the story line, or choose to invade your neighboring friends' empires to collect Infamy Points. Strategically select from different ground, naval and air units to build your battalion based off their effectiveness against the opposing army. You might just want to unleash "Wingo," a pilot who was born to fly – first class. His mama was a stewardess and his daddy made tiny pretzels for the airlines.

Guided Play
As the nation's leader, you must build up your empire's defenses to ward off "The Raven" and his evil minions. Scarlett, your personal military advisor, will always show you fun things to try next to guide you on building a powerful empire. Scarlet keeps an eye on all military functions. She's seen it all. She knows there's no "I" in "team." Despite her mysterious past, she has the respect of her troops, who eagerly shout "Aye aye!" to every one of her orders. Once tasks are complete, you can unlock increasingly advanced buildings and decorations.

Neighboring Empires
Visit your neighbors' empires to help them secure more energy, decorations and collectible items, gaining Honor Points along the way. Tending to your friends' empires is a surefire way to speed up your progress and amass your army. Enlist your neighbors help in combat to quickly finish off your enemies with special attacks. And don't forget to call on "The Admiral," the most experienced fleet commander in the seven seas. His only limitation – his refusal to trim his eyebrows makes it harder to find the port. Or the starboard.

Empires & Allies will be available at zynga.com/empires in English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Indonesian, Turkish, Malay, Traditional Chinese, Korean and Norwegian.

For game assets and additional information, please contact press@zynga.com, or visit: https://zynga.box.net/shared/q449jg0hps

About Zynga Inc.
Zynga Inc. is the world's largest social game developer with more than 250 million monthly active users playing their games which include CityVille, FarmVille, FrontierVille, Words With Friends, Mafia Wars, Zynga Poker, Café World, and Treasure Isle. Zynga Inc. games are available on a number of global platforms including Facebook, MySpace, Yahoo, the iPad, the iPhone and Android devices. Through Zynga.org, Zynga players have raised more than $10 million for world social causes. Zynga Inc. is headquartered in San Francisco. For more information, visit www.zynga.com or www.zynga.org.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.