Microsoft is making a new Age of Empires game. The publisher revealed the sequel to its real-time strategy series as part of the Gamescom fan event in Germany this week. Relic Entertainment, the development studio best known for its beloved Company of Heroes games, is producing the RTS’s return. Age of Empires IV will focus on tactical action through various eras of humanity starting in the Stone Age. It does not have a release date.
Age of Empires III debuted for the PC 12 years ago, and many fans have long considered the franchise dead. Microsoft’s interests in gaming drifted far away from PC and PC-specific releases like Age of Empires during the life of the Xbox 360. But now the publisher is trying to reclaim some of its PC gaming identity, and it is using Age of Empires to do that.
— AgeOfEmpires (@AgeOfEmpires) August 21, 2017
Microsoft announced the updated Age of Empires: Definitive Edition at E3 (the Electronic Entertainment Expo trade and fan event) in Los Angeles this past June. Microsoft Studios creative director Adam Isgreen, who is overseeing Age of Empires, explained that the company wanted to take the franchise’s 20th anniversary coming up in 2018 quite seriously. He even hinted that Age of Empires IV was in the works.
“We want to make sure we do just as much justice for Gamescom and all the European gamers as we did at E3 here today,” Isgreen told GamesBeat back in June. “It’s important to us that we take this here — it’ll be further along. People will be playing the beta. We’ll have more to show and talk about. But yeah, we have a whole event planned around Age of Empires for Gamescom.”
Now that Microsoft has delivered on that hype, it will have to follow through with the game itself. And with the publisher looking for hits, Age of Empires IV could help.