If you’ve never built a massive fortress, seen a ragtag mob of soldiers lay siege and wonder if that unruly mob would like to meet your army of fully upgraded Teutonic Knights with OP armour stats, then chances are that you never played Age of Empires II. The game and by extension its predecessor and successor are brilliant examples of strategy done right.
They’re tense races to establish an economy that can feed a hungry war machine, tactical gameplay that never gets too complex. After more than a decade of waiting, Age of Empires finally returns with a fourth game in the series, one that looks to walk a delicate tightrope of nostalgia and new ideas while still setting the benchmark for the RTS genre. “Generally speaking, the longer a genre exists, the games that are responsible for taking it forward tend to make it more complicated,” creative director of the Age of Empires franchise Adam Isgreen said to Games Radar.
With Age of Empires 4, it was important for us to be like, ‘okay, how do we back away from that?’. We do not want to take on all of the complexity that we see in RTS games today. This is a fresh start for us. We want to modernise the series and that means we are going to do things differently. But this is still going to be an Age of Empires game.
We’ve taken a lot of creative steps to take Age of Empires into modern gaming. It’s been 13 years since the last Age of Empire game so we have a lot of catching up to do. We’re doing things that no other RTS game has done before…
So what changes can fans expect? You don’t have to look too far to see what’s on the horizon, as a quick glance at two of the confirmed civilisations (The English and the Mongols) should tell you plenty. “The English intentionally play a lot like what you’d expect of something from a previous Age of Empires game,” Isgreen explained.
The Mongols do not; they play completely differently. We have this wonderful spectrum of civilisations, and that’s so there is always a super-accessible way that people can get into it […] there’s going to be this wonderful spectrum of different ways that you can enjoy Age of Empires. We could never do that before.
Relic has done very different things in the RTS space in the past, but it understands that this is an Age of Empires game. The feel and pace of it is all there; you can build big cities, you can wall them in – and you can have fights on the walls now. All of that is really cool and it is so important. But it’s funny, because Relic was, in some ways, more conservative than us [at World’s Edge] at times. They were like, ‘But this is different than what has been done in Age of Empires before!’ and we were like, ‘It’s cool, it’s cool. We’re going to do it…
I’m personally amped for the return of Age of Empires. I’m still a huge fan of the monumentally magnificent second game, which recently got a nifty HD upgrade. If Age of Empires 4 can recapture that magic while adding a few new tweaks to the formula, I’ll be wolololololing all the way to the bank come launch day.
Last Updated: November 28, 2019