While Age of Empires is Microsoft’s big real-time strategy series – and the one that’s coming back – it’s not the only one. Rise of Nations brought a bit of Civilization flavour to the historic RTS, but while that game was successful in its own right, it didn’t quite scratch the same itch as Age. The developers behind Age of Empires 4 say the response to Rise – and past Age titles – has helped inform the new game.
“Rise of Nations was kind of the spiritual successor to the Age franchise,” Xbox Game Studios GM Shannon Loftis tells us. “I loved Rise’s focus on history heroes and things like that. We were hoping to recapture the Age audience with Rise, but reduced building and more focus on combat lost us some of the people that we cared about.
“So one of the things that we learned from Rise, and some of the other Age of Empires experiments that we’ve done, is that there are things that Age of Empires gamers want to see in their games. They want the variable pace. They want the building phase.” And that “they want the combat” the series is known for – something Age 2 fans in particular were very vocal about as the Definitive Edition came around.
But there were also “some things that Rise did really well, as well, and we are keeping a lot of that in mind.”
Age of Empires 4’s game modes will let you enjoy both lengthy epics and shorter matches, and has a pretty familiar system for the ages themselves – though it seems some civs might be able to break the rules.