Age of Empires is set to make a return. At E3 this year, we saw a trailer for Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition, and Age of Empires 4 is currently in development. But perhaps ‘return’ is the wrong word for a game that has never really gone away. Age of Empires’ creative lead says the series has thrived, and even now – 22 years since the first game’s release – it has a substantial player base.
“We have over a million people a month playing Age of Empires games, and the numbers keep going up,” said Adam Isgreen, Age of Empires series creative director.
Isgreen said Age of Empires has endured, even as real-time strategy as a genre has left the limelight, thanks in part to the series basis in history.
“It can’t just be nostalgia, right?” Isgreen said. “There are new people coming into the franchise and playing it, and I think the interesting thing is that for a lot of RTS games, I think there is a pent-up demand – and the numbers seem to back this – for more ‘thinking games,’ the games that require you to plan and strategise and think.”
Age of Empires II is now 20 years old, but over that time has seen a remarkably consistent stream of new content. The fact that it has built an enduring fanbase helps explain the 2013 release of Age of Empires II: HD edition, and later this year, the Definitive Edition will remaster the game’s aging visuals to 4K.
That game will also include a brand-new campaign called The Last Khans, along with all existing Age of Empires II content. It’s also adding four new civilisations.
We don’t have a specific release date for Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition yet, but it will be showing up sometime this fall.