Microsoft shook the video game industry yesterday when it announced a new Age of Empires game during Gamescom 2017. The legendary strategy series is still loved today and has an active community that plays it regularly.
Other than just an announcement trailer of Age of Empires IV, Microsoft has not revealed anything else on the game except that it will be exclusive to Windows 10 platform and will be developed by a new developer, Relic Entertainment. However, judging from the concept art shown in the trailer, we can assume the game will not be based in a singular new era like the previous installments.
However, judging from the concept art shown in the trailer, we can assume the game will not be based in a singular new era like the previous installments.
Throughout the trailer, different armies are featured from different eras including the British Redcoats, Native Americans, Japanese Samurai, Roman Legionnaires and a few others. It is still unclear whether these armies are actual units in the game or factions of AOE IV.
Bill Gates may have personally set development in motion
Apparently, Bill Gates may have personally set the development of the project. This is evident from a Q&A session with Bill Gates on Reddit last year when fans requested him to bring back the Age of Empires. Bill answered the question saying ‘I will look into this’.
Relic is developing Age of Empires IV – mixed reactions from fans
The original developers of Age of Empires, Ensemble Studios was disbanded by Microsoft in 2009. The studio was responsible for creating classic games like Age of Empires, AOE II, AOE II, Age of Mythology, Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds and Halo Wars.
Throughout their games, Ensemble Studios mostly kept the strategy formula simple based on the classic base building and resource gathering.
The new developer ‘Relic Entertainment’, however, has had a history of not implementing the classic base building and resource gathering strategy formula that the Age of Empire series is known for.
Some of the most popular games from Relic Entertainment includes Homeworld, Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War series and Company of Heroes Series. The developer has not used any of the classic base building and resource gathering formula for their games except a few like the latest Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III.
Even though Relic Entertainment has created critically acclaimed strategy games, the Age of Empires community is not happy with their beloved franchise landing into the studio’s hands. This is mostly because it is feared that the classic formula of Age of Empires will drastically be changed in favor of modern strategy games that rarely include base building and resource gathering.
Have a look at the gameplay of Relic Entertainment games to judge for yourself.
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War
Company of Heroes 2
Age of Empires 3 Gameplay
Now compare the gameplay from Relic Entrainment and Ensemble Studios and you’ll see a huge difference on how both the developers handled the strategy genre.
Here’s a look at the last Age of Empires game from Ensemble Studios, AOE 3 and their second most popular franchise, the Age of Mythology.
With so many differences in the way strategy gameplay is produced from both the developers, can Relic Entertainment make something that the AOE community is familiar with? Or will they go with their signature strategy gameplay style? We’ll have to wait for an official gameplay trailer of Age of Empires IV to see.