Age of Empires 4 is playable, needs “balance and polish”

The dev team is playing it every day

After a mostly quiet 2020 for Age of Empires 4, we’ve been given a sliver of news on the strategy game. The sequel is in a playable state, and currently undergoing lots of debugging and tweaking.

“I don’t want to make you jealous, but we are literally playing this game every single day – both in Washington and in Vancouver,” Shannon Loftis, general manager of World’s Edge Studio, writes in a year-end review. “RTS development is funny: it takes a while to build the separate systems (AI, economy, sim, rendering, etc), and then it takes a while for them to come together. But when they do, you suddenly have a game – a game that needs debugging and balance and polish – but the core of the game that you know you’re going to ship.”

The long-awaited next mainline Age of Empires was announced back in 2017. In 2019, World’s Edge was revealed as the studio that would be handling the future of the medieval games within Microsoft, and Relic Entertainment is the main developer of Age of Empires 4, as Tantalus Media and Forgotten Realms manage the definitive editions, and this is the most substantial news since.

Fans of the series were hardly left wanting in 2020, mind, given that Age of Empires 3: Definitive Edition was released, and Age of Empires 2: Definitive Edition received some substantial updates. Loftis mentions that migrating from office to home amid the ongoing pandemic hasn’t been easy, but says the game is still on track, though no mention of a launch window.

Here’s the gameplay trailer from 2019:

It may not be the Age of Empires 4 release date we’re hoping for, but it’s something, and we’ll keep you informed of the upcoming game as we move into 2021.