Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom is the sixth title in the City Building Series. BreakAway Games was contracted for Emperor after having previously worked on Queen of the Nile. Emperor is the last of the series to use the same 2D-sprite game engine as seen in the earlier titles, and the first to introduce a multiplayer option.
Not unlike the earlier games, Emperor focuses on the building and development of a city in ancient times, this time Ancient China, from the Xia Dynasty (2033 BC) to the Song-Jin Dynasties (1234 AD).
The most basic task in each mission is to maintain the city. This involves keeping the populace well-fed, healthy, and safe from hazards. If food and basic goods and services are provided in abundance, the city will eventually improve. Beyond this, the player must manage trade and taxes in order to fund further development and expansion.