This October, Age of Empires celebrates its 20th birthday . The celebrations began during the E3 2017, where Adam Isgreen, Creative Director of Microsoft, introduced the Definitive Edition of Age of Empires . 4K graphics, a newly orchestrated soundtrack, gameplay enhancements, better multiplayer on Xbox Live, and new stories will revive the first Age of Empires and Rise of Rome expansion.
Fully remastered with 4k graphics, re-orchestrated soundtrack, major gameplay improvements, new narrative, Xbox Live multiplayer and achievements, the definitive edition brings back the classic game and its Rise of Rome expansion.
While we are delighted to see the first steps of mankind again, we would also have looked forward to an Age of Empires 4. But as Isgreen already hinted, there should be further announcements at this year’s gamescom . With euphoric emotions, we hope for Age of Empires 4, and we are thinking about how the potential successor could inspire us.
MORE TECHNOLOGIES, MORE AGES, MORE WORLDWIDE – MORE POSSIBILITIES
Let’s face the obvious: Age of Empires 4 needs new ages. We were able to advance in Age of Empires 1 from the Stone Age to the Iron Age. Age of Empires 2 brought us from the Dark Century to Imperialism and Age of Empires 3 showed us the way from the era of explorations to the Industrial Revolution. Humanity is making progress, but how does it go on? It would be possible to unite the entire history of mankind in a gigantic campaign, from the first stone tools to locomotives and shotguns. Another possibility would be to start at the beginning of the 20th century and go into the future. With Age of Mythology the series has even conquered the Greek mythology – so it is also possible that an Age of Mythology 2, which brings us closer to Nordic mythology.
New age means ultimately new technologies. A larger technology space is therefore indispensable, but this is precisely the danger. The information age offers so many possibilities, the armaments industry alone could fill a whole strategy game. Where do you draw the limit, what technical achievements are left out, which one is implemented and how can they influence the course of the game? With more opportunities, the risk of an unfair game increases, but Age of Empires needs 4 new ages and technologies to be relevant.
MORE PEOPLES, MORE ANIMALS, MORE LANDSCAPES – MORE VARIETY
Diversity is great and Age of Empires has presented us with the existing parts and numerous addons many peoples and possibilities. But more is always going on and so we squeal for new peoples, which we can lead to victory and, with it, new unrealistic encounters. While the first Age of Empires still satisfied us with 16 peoples, Age of Empires 2 raised the bar with up to 31 peoples. At the same time, the developers were careful to choose peoples who had already lived at the appropriate times. For example, there are Spaniards, Chinese, British, and Native Americans in Age of Empires 3 and Greeks, Egyptians, or Babylonians in Age of Empires 1. These cultures should be fought against each other, either unfair or historically incorrect, and so we would like to create new peoples from new ones ages.
It is also possible to have more animals. Be it completely new farm animals like chickens, domesticated animals, for example dogs, or old acquaintances, like the elephants from Age of Empires 1 and sheep from Age of Empires 2 – we want to see animals with which we can do more than us against them To defend or slaughter them. Instead of letting every animal appear in every landscape, we would be happy about specific encounters – an elephant does not have to look for anything on a frozen lake like a snow fox in the sand desert.
More peoples and animals mean more landscapes. Age of Empires was also able to inspire a variety of scenarios, but there is more to come. How about cherry blossom trees instead of firs or a real mountain? More marshes and beaches, more plants and waters – Age of Empires 4 needs more variety.
Already the Definitive Edition brings some innovations, especially the Zoom. We have prepared a small list of what Age of Empires 4 is like:
- Castles as extensions from the village center
- Schools, because we want to educate our subjects
- More Worldwide
- The production or development of tools, from pitchforks to combine harvesters
On the other hand, we do not want more resources, which means more strategy and complicated procedures. Logically, much of this is no longer true (in which world are soldiers of food and gold?), But simplicity would favor complexity in favor of strategy refusals, which would perhaps give the game a chance.
With all the innovations, we would still like an Age of Empires 4, which brings a proper portion of memories. Little things like the menu, which may like to resemble more Part 2, and Taunts, voice messages in the chat, may not be missing. However, the soundtrack is important in the first place – buildings need different melodies, the attack fanfare must be there and, of course, the language output of the people we command. Age of Empires 2, for example, offers the appropriate music for housebuilding and battle: not too orchestral, yet the reverence is clearly felt.
But sooner or later, Age of Empires will have to ask: What is the key feature of the series? Whole stories of civilizations can be played in Civilization, the Anno series also offers numerous developments for its own colony. Epic battles have already existed in Cossacks and the Settlers offer another way to lead their people to victory. A mixture of these factors makes Age of Empires stand out, but the series has never been too strategic and has also been a source of inspiration for newcomers. With all the proposals, it is important to maintain the balance, not to make the peoples too different or even unfair, and to give the players the same chances.