Microsoft announces Age of Empires IV with an era-jumping trailer
BY JACK HOLMES August 28 2017
About twenty years ago, the Age of Empires franchise ushered a fresh revival to real-time strategy video games and summoned gamers to experience different eras of history. While it’s been more than a decade since the last Age of Empires franchise, Age of Empires III was released, Microsoft Studios is finally going to change that. Publisher Microsoft Studios has announced that Age of Empires IV is in development and coming to PC.
There’s no release date for the game; just the launch trailer, filled with concept art of historical battles. But even that will be enough to get aficionados of the franchise excited.
The first Age of Empires came out in 1997 as a real-time strategy game developed by Ensemble Studios. Players had to steer their armies through the Stone Age to the Classical period, with a sequel in 1999, Age of Empires II, taking the action to the Middle Ages. Age of Empires III came out in 2005, pivoting on the colonial period, and adding a set of new features to the game, and in 2011, the franchise tried its hand at free-to-play, with Age of Empires Online with a cartoonish style.
Since the original Age of Empires developer, Ensemble Studios is now-defunct, Canada’s Relic Entertainment will take the lead in developing Age of Empires IV. Relic Entertainment has previously been well known for a number of well-received strategy games, including Company of Heroes and Homeworld. Judging by the absence of gameplay footage in the announcement trailer, Age of Empires IV is obviously still in the beginning stages of the development process. But it resembles to once again highlight diverse classical armies, as the concept art in the trailer includes Spanish conquerors, Roman troops, British soldiers, Japanese Samurai and Native American tribes during the Revolutionary War.
We can’t wait to tap into our strengths as a studio to fuse historical context with deep strategic gameplay, and to bring this franchise back to the forefront of gaming and into the hands of its beloved community,” said a Relic Entertainment spokesperson, in a brief statement. Luckily, fans won’t have to wait too long for more Age of Empires. Microsoft is publishing a 4k remastered release of the original game, which will be called Age of Empires: Definitive Edition. It will be available on October 19, exclusively on the Windows Store in Windows 10.