23 years later, an obscure RTS about ant colonies is getting a remake and it has absolutely no right to look this good

Empire of the Ants, a relatively obscure real-time-strategy game based on the 1991 science fiction novel of the same name, is getting an Unreal Engine 5 remake.

Now why should you, dear reader who might not have read the book or played the 23-year-old video game, care about this Empire of the Ants remake? Well, because it actually looks pretty promising - more-so than it has any right to, frankly.

A lot of games bill themselves as "photorealistic" even though their characters' faces look like porcelain dolls, but Empire of the Ants genuinely could pass for a nature documentary if you were sitting a few feet away from the screen. I mean:

(Image credit: Microid)

(Image credit: Microids)

(Image credit: Microids)

Stunning visuals aside, Empire of the Ants has the potential to be a really compelling RTS even if the original game isn't exactly beloved. Developer Tower Five says there are plenty of tutorials to ease newcomers into the RTS experience, but the game still sounds like it has plenty of meat for genre enthusiasts to chew on. "The game will offer a scalable difficulty and adaptable experience for veteran players who will discover new game mechanics as well as advanced strategies and combat skills," reads the Steam description.

"Strategy planning, exploration, combat skills, but most of all, setting up local wildlife alliances will be necessary to survive the many challenges awaiting."

Curiously, the developer also says Empire of the Ants will "offer an experience close to the iconic book saga," which tells a story from two perspectives: a human who disappears in the basement of the house he inherited, and a young female ant from the russet ant nation of Bel-o-kan who's investigating a mysterious new weapon being used to wreak havoc on her colony.

I have absolutely no clue how closely the video game remake hews to the book, but you play as the "Ant Savior" whose mission it is to lead its colony to prosperity by defending its land, rebuilding its home, and defending against attacks using strategic combat strategies.

Look, I have no idea if this game is going to be any good, but at the very least, I'm mesmerized by its trailer and want to see more. The idea of controlling units of ants and uniting to repel the threat of a mighty lady bug is just really speaking to my inner child, and if the RTS gameplay is any good, I could see myself having a lot of fun with this.

Empire of the Ants is due out in 2024 for PS5, Xbox Series X, and PC.

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Jordan Gerblick

After scoring a degree in English from ASU, I worked as a copy editor while freelancing for places like SFX Magazine, Screen Rant, Game Revolution, and MMORPG on the side. Now, as GamesRadar's west coast Staff Writer, I'm responsible for managing the site's western regional executive branch, AKA my apartment, and writing about whatever horror game I'm too afraid to finish.