Age of Empires is one of the most popular RTS series of all time. With a history going back decades, it’s had PC gamers building Wonders, herding sheep, and “wololo-ing” for years. And — after a very long hiatus — Age of Empires IV is set to release in just a few months.
From gameplay and trailers to multiplayer and DLC plans, here’s everything you need to know about Age of Empires IV.
Age of Empires IV will release on October 28, 2021. It’s been a very long time since the last Age of Empires title — 16 years, to be exact — but its passionate fanbase only has a few more months of waiting.
Although it’s being developed by a studio under the Microsoft umbrella, Age of Empires IV has no plans to release on console. Instead, only PC players will have access to the popular RTS game.
There is a bit of good news, however, as Age of Empires IV will be headed to Xbox Game Pass for PC on day one.
Age of Empires IV has been in development for quite some time, and several trailers have emerged since it was first announced. The most exciting ones are the Official Gameplay Trailer and Official Reveal Trailer — although a behind-the-scenes video from 2019 is also worth a watch.
E3 2021 Gameplay Trailer
To see every trailer associated with Age of Empires IV, check out its official YouTube page.
Age of Empires IV will play out much like the classic Age of Empires II — after all, there’s no point fixing what isn’t broken. Instead, creative director Adam Isgreen said that the team is hoping to modernize the game instead of adding new layers of complexity.
“Generally speaking, the longer a genre exists, the games that are responsible for taking it forward tend to make it more complicated,” Isgreen said. “With Age of Empires IV, it was important for us to be like, ‘OK, 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 modernize the series, and that means we are going to do things differently.”
In fact, large portions of the game might feel very familiar:
“Everyone was like, ‘Don’t touch the combat. Don’t. Please don’t change it!’ So we were like, ‘OK, message received,” Isgreen explained. “The feel and flow of Age of Empires II was absolutely the centerpiece, so we decided to build up everything else around it. The core of it was untouchable for the community — the time to kill, the flow of it, the pace of it, it’s all so important to the game. We weren’t going to mess with that.”
Beyond similar — but refreshed — gameplay, you’ll also find four historical campaigns that take a closer look at various storylines and characters. There’s still a lot of secrecy around the campaigns, but it sounds like they’ll become one of the main draws of Age of Empires IV.
Age of Empires IV will launch with eight playable civilizations, although the team is keeping the door open for post-launch expansions. Here are the shoes you’ll be stepping into come October 28:
- Delhi Sultanate
- Abbasid Dynasty
- Holy Roman Empire
Each civilization comes with its own set of advantages and drawbacks, and you’ll need to modify your playstyle carefully based on which you choose. For example, the Delhi Sultanate specializes in research — properly utilizing their unique “Scholar Research System” is the key to victory — while the Mongols will require you to conquer the map in tight-knit groups and focus on mobility.
No good Age of Empires game is complete without a robust multiplayer offering, and the upcoming installment is no different. The game will fully support both PVP and PVE multiplayer modes, letting you join up with seven friends for a bit of RTS mayhem. You’ll also be able to spectate if you’d rather sit back and relax while your friends duke it out.
Age of Empires IV won’t have microtransactions, but it will eventually receive a bunch of DLC content. Plans are still up in the air, but expect to learn more in months following launch.
Beyond DLC, mods are also expected to arrive sometime in 2022. Details are scarce, although the official Steam listing for Age of Empires IV reads:
- Customize Your Game with Mods – Available in Early 2022, play how you want with user generated content tools for custom games.
Until then, you’ll have to make do with officially licensed content.
Pre-orders are officially open for Age of Empires IV, with the Deluxe edition offering exclusive in-game content, a digital soundtrack, Craig Mullins Art Compilation, and a Unit Counters Chart.
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