How different are Age of Empires 4’s civs? We found out

Age of Empires 4 creative director Adam Isgreen talks to us about how the game's civilisations will differ from the past

The Age of Empires 4 X019 trailer gave us our first good look at the upcoming RTS game and two of its playable factions – the English and the Mongols. We know there will be a “wide spectrum” of AoE4 civilizations, from familiar to very different, but the question is, how many civs will play like those in previous Age games – and how many will be radical departures? The answer is: it varies.

That’s according to creative director Adam Isgreen who, in an interview with PCGamesN, tells us about how far the devs will be taking civs’ divergences from past titles. “Let’s just say that the level of departure grows as you move across the civilisations we offer,” he explains.

“The English intentionally play the most like the Britons from Age II; the Mongols are the largest departure from that template. All the others fall in between,” Isgreen explains. So, while Age of Empires 4 has fewer civs than Age of Empires 2, it looks like the game will offer scale of divergence from the factions seen in previous games in the series, meaning players can expect to see a range of minor to more significant differences to how civs play.

Isgreen says the developer’s goal in this respect is that the “cognitive load” placed on players – by which he means “how many things we want players to have to think about at any given moment” – is “similar in commitment across the civilisations, but each has unique focus or emphasis of where you spend that mental time.”

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Elsewhere in the interview, Isgreen tells us a bit about whether trends across the strategy games genre in changing and experimenting with factions’ playstyles has inspired the Age 4 devs in this respect. “Really, I think this is more about evolution of thought in terms of what players want today versus what they may have wanted, in the case of Age, 13 or more years ago,” he explains.

“Given our commitment to accuracy and detail, it just made a lot more sense for us to push that even further as we explore what a modern take on an Age of Empires game can be.”

There’s no news of an Age of Empires 4 release date to mark on our calendars just yet but if you’re keen to find out more keep checking back, as we’ll be posting our full Age of Empires 4 interview very soon.