Although we've known about it for a while, LucasArts has now officially unveiled the Star Wars-themed real-time strategy game under development at Las Vegas outfit Petroglyph, whose ranks are filled with veterans of Command & Conquer and other significant strategy titles.
Star Wars: Empire at War (a tentative title, we're told - and have some screenshots while we're bracketed) will be released in the autumn and takes place a few years prior to the events of Episode IV: A New Hope but nevertheless in the aftermath of Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, which will hit cinemas worldwide this May.
It will apparently allow players to experience the creation of the Rebel Alliance and Darth Vader's rise to power, featuring battles on familiar planets like Hoth, Tatooine and Dagobah, and drawing on elements of the other Star Wars films and novels too.
Players will be able to control Rebel or Imperial forces, building up and attacking one another in a real-time 3D environment brought to life by Petroglyph's proprietary technology. Interestingly, we're also told that the game world (or worlds) will be persistent, so any strategic and tactical changes will have an effect for the duration, while there's also evidence of Warcraft III-style hero characters.
Outside the single-player campaign mode, Petroglyph will include the traditional up-to-eight-player online skirmish modes, as well as a two-player Empire vs. Rebellion mode. We'd expect to hear a great deal more about all of it in the run-up to Episode III's release, which happily ought to coincide with this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles.