It’s been over 15 years since the last Age of Empires numbered game, but we finally know a few details about the series’ upcoming return. During a fan event livestream on Saturday, developer Relic Entertainment revealed some new things about its upcoming sequel: Age of Empires 4, including a look at one of the game’s campaigns and its new and updated civilizations.
Campaigns that put players in the middle of historical events have always been a standout focus of the Age of Empires franchise, and Relic takes that idea even further Age of Empires 4. The game will feature four full-length campaigns, including one focused on the Norman Conquest that Relic previewed during the stream.
The Norman campaign follows the battle between Harold Godwinson, King of the Anglo-Saxons, and William the Conqueror, who was promised Harold’s crown. Featuring many massive battles in the history of the conflict, including the Battle of Hastings in 1066, the campaign will span several years and show the effects of William’s victory in both England and France. The campaign will also take players to a variety of different battlefields and environments, including bright French fields and sprawling English castles.
During the presentation, Relic also described some of the game’s playable civilizations, including one of the new ones, the Delhi Sultanate of India. It has some standout features, but the biggest highlight is the massive war elephants.
According to Relic, one of the main goals of creating playable civilizations in Age of Empires 4 was to make them as different as possible. This meant adding more complex and nuanced game mechanics to each civilization to make them feel unique.
One of the outstanding examples of this special mechanic was the Mongols, who can now pack up entire cities and move them to a new location. This fits in with the real nomadic lifestyle of the Mongols – and continues the Age of Empires series’ focus on historical accuracy. But it also gives civilization a completely new and unique game option. A Mongolian player could create a small town outside of his enemy base and use it to quickly form troops and then simply move the town when things get dangerous.
Relic announced this during a developer Q&A with press held a few weeks before the livestream on Saturday Age of Empires 4 will include eight playable civilizations at launch, just like Age of Empires 3. Relic said this will help the team focus on how to make each civilization special and make the whole game a lot easier to balance. So far, Relic has announced that the Chinese, English, the Delhi Sultanate and the Mongols are all in the game. Further announcements from civilization will follow shortly. The developer also said that it will add more civilizations after it launches.
Age of Empires 4 is expected to be released on a Windows PC sometime in 2021. The game will launch on Xbox Game Pass PC and Ultimate.