Microsoft announced many things at X019 yesterday. From xCloud to Game Pass, we covered quite a bit of it. One juicy tidbit that has flown largely under the radar is the official gameplay reveal for Age of Empire 4. Until now, nobody really knew what to expect and just the thought of a new, full-blown Age of Empires was enough to excite fans (myself included). Thanks to stunning gameplay footage, I (and likely many others) are more ecstatic than ever.
Age of Empires 4 sets out to reinvigorate the franchise
There have been a lot of Age of Empires releases since the game’s initial debut back in 1997. This isn’t because Microsoft was bullish about it, it’s because the game managed to pull off the real-time strategy genre so well that it inspired countless games after it. This lead to expansions, sequels, and even remakes with modernized graphics.
Just as hope was nearly depleted that the franchise would never again see a new, full-blown release, a Redditor asked Bill Gates in an AMA for another Age of Empires. One year later, Age of Empires 4 was announced and two years after that, we finally have a gameplay reveal.
While it’s only slightly over one minute long, the first gameplay footage manages to strike all the right chords. The game looks better than ever and the reveal is centered around a battle that appears to take place in the Middle Ages. Just as you would hope, buildings look fantastic, units animate smoothly, and landscapes are truly gorgeous.
Pricing and availability
When it comes to pricing and availability, there are still a lot of unknowns. Given the games notoriety, we expect it to debut for $59.99. As with many Microsoft titles, it’s made for Windows and there’s no reason to expect it to be natively supported on macOS. Given how long it has taken for a gameplay trailer to arrive, it seems out of touch to expect it to arrive any sooner than late 2020.
For me, there are few games that rival the level of nostalgia that Age of Empires delivers. I’ve undoubtedly spent hundreds of hours playing this game with friends and to this day occasionally fire up Age of Empires II. Despite all of my time with the game, it was very infrequent that gameplay felt repetitive. I attribute this to how many civilizations there were and how detailed and unique each one of them was.
Since I use a MacBook, I’m very disappointed that it’s highly-unlikely it will ever make it onto macOS. Thankfully I’ll be able to use Boot Camp, Parallels Desktop or VMWare Fusion to get up and running. It’s not a joke that when I’ve considered a switch to Chrome OS, a lack of support for Age of Empires is one of the few things that has kept me at bay.
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