Empire City is a high-rise metropolis based off the hustling and bustling city of New York, also retaining features from other famous cities in the U.S. such as the fountain in the middle of the hub world that bears a resemblance to the Buckingham Fountain in Chicago. Endless highways, mile-high skyscrapers, and urban surroundings characterize Empire City, with bridges similar to the George Washington Bridge and the Verrazano Bridge as well as tunnels similar to the Lincoln Tunnel making it a near mirror image to the Big Apple.
Though Empire City is completely absent in the Wii and PS2 version, street signs in the day and night levels do reveal buildings and roads there.
- S. Shadow Avenue
- Rouge Street
- E-123 Omega Road
- Blaze Road
- Silver Beach
- Seaside Park
- Chao Garden
- West Park
- Chao Beans
- Soleanna Hotel
- Pachacamac Parking
- Louie Montaine: A self-styled Love Expert who claims to have won as many hearts as there are stars in the sky. Louie is always happy to teach the ABCs of that sticky wicket they call romance. If you ask nicely, he'll even help you practice... just as long as you're OK with his particular practice style.
- Boss: A business wizard who can move billions with a mere snap of his fingers. Seeing as life is short and time in money, he believes in investing all of his time looking out for number one. If you were wondering, the Boss doesn't make his real name public. For business reasons, of course.
- Def Big: A big-name producer worried about the future of the music industry. Def Big is currently seeking a pop sweetheart newcomer sensation with urban integrity but with a dark side too.
- Elizabeth: An educator who has worked in the area schools for ages. People affectionately call her Liz. She loves seeing her kids smile, and reaches out to people left and right, but that's probably just the teacher in her. Liz has cared for more than 2,000 students to date.
- Charles: A superior student and aspiring doctor who sits at the top of his class and shows no sign of slipping. One teensy little problem: he's squeamish and can't stand the sight of blood. When the cadavers roll in, he rolls out, then talks the professor into giving him credit anyway.
- Robert: A Def Big fan who moved into the city to meet his hero. He works part-time at the shop. Bob wants to be like Def Big more than anything, but so far he's only gotten the Big part down.
- Li'l Kate: A bright and bubbly pop star in the making, with a killer voice and dance moves to match. She's a go-getter, too; Li'l Kate doesn't sit around waiting for favors. "If life's a ride," she says, "then move over, 'cause I'm driving."
- Brenda: A freelance writer who travels around the world. These days Brenda has been following the global crisis, penning stories like "Shattered Planet! Who Broke the Globe?" and "Light and Fight for Domination" or "Do Blue Hedgehogs Dream of Electric Eggs?"
- Hot Dog Vendor: The manager of the "Don Fachio" hot dog mega-franchise's Empire City location. Without a doubt, the friendliest guy in hot dogs. Check out the Empire City hot spots while nibbling one of his specialty links.
In each town across the world, Sonic is able to buy souvenirs, food items and extras (music, videos) using his rings. The Empire City shop, run by Robert, is called the Counter of Dreams 2, though the sign on the stand reads Bonny's Kitchen.
- Photo Frame: "This picture frame hails from Empire City. Very urban and... ahem... hip. Let's call it a show of manmade beauty, hmm?"
- Miniature Flag: "This is Empire City's flag. The many stars represent the many diverse people who live there, while the stripes represent their interconnection. The whole design is a sort of call for unity, if you will."
- Magazine: "This magazine's pages are chock full of articles about this region. Brenda's stories are especially good reads. She knows how to pull you into the action with her writing."
- This souvenir is bought from Wentos.
- Jenny: "What a cute doll! I hear parents in Empire City buy dolls for their children when they're bored. The dolls are sort of like a first friend, if you will. Oh, look here. This one's named Jenny. Hello there, Jenny."
- Jack-o'-Lantern: "This is a lantern carved from a pumpkin. They put these on display during holidays. No two are exactly the same.
- Hamburger (70 rings): "A quick source of nutrition for the busy professional."
- Big G Steak (90 rings): "A giant slab of stamina for the tuckered-out professional."
- Popcake (50 rings): "A treat sure to make you smile, whether you're 8 or 80."
- Nuclear Taquo (30 rings): "Beef, veggies, and hot peppers on a thin shell. Not for kids!"
- Chili Dog (50 rings): "Sonic's favorite, a jumbo frank slathered with spicy chili."
- Cookie (20 rings): "Cream filling between two crunchy biscuits. Addictive!"
- Fried Chicken (50 rings): "Juicy chicken fried to a nice, golden crisp."
- Grapes (40 rings): "A cluster of sweet, plump grapes. Don't eat the seeds!"
- Apple (30 rings): "One of these a day keeps the blah, blah, you know the rest."
- Urban Dog: Complete the Empire City Hot Dog Vendor's missions.
- Empire City appears to be based on different cities in the U.S like Chicago, Seattle and New York City, especially considering the fact that New York City is nicknamed "The Empire City" after New York State's nickname of "The Empire State." Also, the flag looks much like the United States' flag, except the current U.S. flag has fifty stars while the one for Empire City has only twelve, the U.S. flag has 13 stripes while the Empire City flag has 17, and the blue area covers an entire side of the Empire City flag while the U.S. flag only has a corner covered by blue.
- The part of Skyscraper Scamper Act 1 in which the Interceptor chases Sonic features a run on what looks like the Brooklyn Bridge. There is also a gray and gold building near the beginning of the stage (shown below in screenshots) that greatly resembles the Chrysler Building.
- Many of the Street Locations are named after other Sonic characters that don't appear in the game; more specifically the members of Team Dark (Shadow, Rouge and E-123 Omega), Silver, Blaze, Pachacamac, and the Chao. Exceptions to this include Knuckles and Cream.
- In the level itself, Sonic 06's cover can be seen on a newsletter in the News Stand of Empire City's HUB world.
- This is the only location in Sonic Unleashed to not appear in the Wii/PS2 version, indicating that the 360/PS3 version is the "complete" version, as it has all locations stated.
- Because they both have locations based upon New York City, it is possible that Empire City is another part of Station Square from Sonic Adventure. Furthermore, due to the design of Empire City's flag originating from the United States' flag, one could speculate that Empire City is part of the United Federation, the Sonic universe' equivalent of the U.S., seen in Sonic Adventure 2 and Shadow the Hedgehog.
- Also, certain parts of the acts share a slight resemblance to Crisis City from Sonic 06. For one, they both include giant skyscrapers, there is a loop similar to one in Crisis City, and they both include seemingly endless highways. (The one in Crisis City has Sonic outrunning a tornado, and the highway in Empire City is guarded by an Interceptor.)
- It is possible that Def Big (Empire City Resident, and owner of a record label) is a reference to the real-life record company Def Jam Records.
- In Sonic Generations, the re-imagined Speed Highway takes elements from this stage, such as signs named after various characters like Blaze Motors and several road sections.
- It could be possible that Empire City is located at the United Federation.
|Sonic Unleashed Locations|
|Adabat | Apotos | Chun-Nan | Eggmanland | Empire City | Holoska | Mazuri | Shamar | Spagonia|