Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

From the Star Citizen Wiki, the fidelity™ encyclopedia
The Course of Empire: Destruction, painting by Thomas Cole, 1836

The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire is a historical period which serves as a broad inspiration for the background of Star Citizen.[1][2][3]

Chris Roberts' games focus on a historical setting and then project it into the future. Wing Commander for example was based on WW2. Inthe case of Star Citizen, the era that has been chosen is the decline and the fall of the Roman empire. The SC equivalent of the Roman empire is the empire of Earth.[4][2][3]

It gives an overall thematic binding, a big picture for an empire under financial and military strain reaching a breaking point.[5]

However it does not mirror Roman History. The players are expected to help write the History of the UEE and maybe try to steer it on a different course than that set by the Roman Empire. The game is to be a sandbox in which players can affect History.[6][7]


The intent was to have a world that would allow to do a lot of things such as being a mercenary, trader, explorer, pirate, miner, to allow opportunity for all those different proffessions.[8] To allow nuance and complexity in a vibrant universe. Intrigue, intention in the structure of the government ruling that area of space. Different potential threats on the various borders.

Dave Haddock and Chris Roberts thought about which area of History would be suitable.[9][8] 16th, 17th, 18th century colonialism in North and South america with the conquest of natives, or the rise of the roman empire during the antiquity including for example the conquest of the Gauls and others were considered.[8]

In an open-world setting, there’s different factions, different interests. There is war on one side, fighting against the barbarian hordes much like the legions did towards the end of the Roman empire. But there's also the opportunity for trade. One side wants to be about trade and diplomacy, the other side is more militaristic. During the decline and fall of the Roman empire, there were lots of things going on. Europe itself was created with all these different feudal countries when the Roman empire broke up. Chris Roberts felt like this was a good setting to pattern it after, to create an open-world galaxy that would have a lot of possibilities and options to do what you wanted to do.[10][3]

A lot of things change and the Romans had to deal with a big, spread out empire which definitely would be the case with an empire spread out in space. There is no true, instant FTL communications.[2]

Thus the original intent was to model humanity’s future society to the waning days of the Roman Empire, specifically that era where its resources were stretched too thin and a break was inevitable.[11]


Dateline 2942, humanity has expanded across many planets. Mostly in a militaristic fashion, just like the Romans did. Now it’s almost overextended. It’s cracking from constantly trying to keep the empire together and keep its spread-out borders safe.[3]

On the western side, there’s a couple of alien races that are the equivalent of the Goths and the Vandals and such that are encroaching and raiding and causing havoc on the western side. On the eastern side, there’s a couple of more friendly alien races humans are trading with. There’s a schism between the eastern and western parts of the empire of Earth.[3]

The Vanduuls represent the Visigoths and the Vandals,[12][13] The Xi'an represent the asian: Persian and Chinese empires, The Banu the traders from North Africa, the Barbary Coast, the Middle East.[8]

The two major planets in the empire are Earth, which is the historical capital humans started from, and Terra, an Earth-like planet that was discovered a couple of hundred years into the expansion. What Terra has, besides being larger and nicer than Earth, is a nexus of jump points. That star system has numerous ways in and out, going to different star systems. It’s very connected in terms of communication and trade, whereas Earth itself is not, having only a couple of jump points in. Terra’s become more and more autonomous as time has gone on, so it’s the equivalent of Constantinople versus Rome. They’re much more focused on trade, because the neighbors of Terra on the eastern side are more advanced, they’re not necessarily so aggressive.[3]

The Terran side of the empire of Earth is much more in favor of diplomacy and trade and less about showing up with your forces and conquering, which is how Earth originally expanded. The game starts before there’s a proper split, but there will be a split between the two sides, and then there will be an in-game event similar to the sack of Earth further on.[3]

A number of names in the game reflect this inspiration, such as Castra, Evocati, Imperator and the structure of the UEE, Augustus, Hadrian, etc

Ivan Messer gained power thanks to the Tevarin Wars similarly to how Julius Caesar did thanks to the Gallic Wars.[8]

UEE Citizenship can be bought similarly to the old roman way.[14][15]


  • Asimov's Foundation was also inspired by the decline and fall of the Roman Empire[2]

See Also


  1. "I want a living, breathing universe that has a lot of the dynamics of a real world and is inspired by the decline and fall of the Roman Empire". Engineering - Comm-Link. Retrieved 2013-02-05
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 The forgotten interview with Chris Roberts by Paul Dean, March 11, 2016
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Chris Roberts On PC Gaming, Going To Space, Rock Paper Shotgun, Oct. 27, 2012
  4. "[...] much of the inspiration for the UEE comes from the late roman empire [...]", uo'aXy'an Lesson One: Introduction and Greetings, YouTube, 27 Oct 2017
  5. Star Citizen: Making Lore - A Loremaker's Guide Special Edition, YouTube, 28 Dec 2016
  6. 10 for the Chairman: Episode 11 (2014.03.10), YouTube
  7. 10 for the Writers: Episode 04 (2015.07.06), YouTube.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 Star Citizen: 4th Anniversary Livestream, YouTube, 18 Nov 2016
  9. 10 for the Chairman: Episode 10 (2014.03.03), YouTube
  10. "“You sign up for a tour of duty within this galaxy-wide, falling Roman empire [... ]. On the western borders, some alien barbarian races are invading. On the eastern side is more benign trade.”", Wing Commander creator Chris Roberts returns to gaming with Star Citizen online game universe, GamesBeat, October 10, 2012
  11. Writer's Guide: Part One. Spectrum Dispatch - Comm-Link. Retrieved 2014-04-04
  12. "like the Roman legions trying to fend of the Visigoths... If they flew spaceships and existed in 2942!", Chris Roberts Reddit AMA comment about who will be fought against
  13. 10 for the Chairman: Episode 69, YouTube, 10 Nov 2015
  14. "That is part of the idea - the Roman system was the inspiration", Chris Roberts Reddit AMA
  15. 10 For the Chairman Episode 23. June 2nd, 2014, YouTube
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