Microsoft announces Age of Empires IV

It’s been a while, Age of Empires.

More than a decade after Age of Empires III was released, publisher Microsoft Studios has announced that Age of Empires IV is in development and coming to PC. There’s no release window for the game; just the launch trailer above, filled with concept art of historical battles. But even that will be enough to get fans of the series excited.

The first Age of Empires came out in 1997 as a real-time strategy game developed by the now-defunct Ensemble Studios. Players had to guide their troops through the Stone Age to the Classical period, with a follow up in 1999, Age of Empires II, taking the action to the Middle Ages. Age of Empires III was released in 2005, focusing on the colonial period, and adding a number of new game mechanics, and in 2011, the series tried its hand at free-to-play, with Age of Empires Online and its cartoony aesthetic.

We don’t know where Age of Empires IV will fit into this history, but the choice of developer — Canada’s Relic Entertainment — suggest a more traditional approach to the series. Relic has previously been responsible for a number of well-received strategy games, including Company of Heroes and Homeworld.

”We can’t wait to tap into our strengths as a studio to fuse historical context with deep strategic gameplay, and to bring this franchise back to the forefront of gaming and into the hands of its beloved community,” said the developer in a blog post. “We look forward to sharing with you more details in the months to come. For now, just know we are beyond excited to be working on the next entry into the legendary franchise.”

Until then, fans of the series also have Age of Empires: Definitive Edition to look forward to. This 4K remaster of the original Age of Empires will be released October 19th, and will be available exclusively on the Windows Store in Windows 10. It’ll be nice to have the remaster for hardcore fans, but we can’t wait to try something new in the AoE series.

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