Age of Empires IV to Launch with Less Civilizations Than Age of Empires II
Age of Empires IV had its (very brief) gameplay debut during the recent X019 event in London, where Microsoft also announced the creation of a new development studio called World's Edge specifically dedicated to the real-time strategy franchise.
During the same event, PCGamesN got to interview Age of Empires franchise director Adam Isgreen to learn some new details about Age of Empires IV.
Isgreen confirmed there'll be fewer civilizations at launch than those available in Age of Empires II, for starters.
You can expect fewer than the 13 that shipped with Age II, as we’re aiming for more uniqueness with each civilisation rather than quantity.
He then also commented on the differences between the various civilizations featured in Age of Empires IV.
Let’s just say the level of departure grows as you move across the civilisations we offer. The English intentionally play the most like the Britons from Age II; the Mongols are the largest departure from that template. All the others fall in between. Our goal is that the cognitive load (i.e., how many things we want players to have to think about at any given moment) is similar in commitment across the civilisations, but each has a unique focus for where you spend that mental time.
Lastly, Isgreen said that unlike previous franchise installments civilizations will indeed change a bit when transitioning through different ages.
There are aspects of the civilisations that do change across the ages, but at the same time maintaining clearly understood gameplay and balanced cognitive load is very important to us. I can’t go into more detail on this right now, but yes, we’ve thought about this quite a bit!
We've previously reported on a rumor suggesting Age of Empires IV could release in 2021, but that remains entirely unconfirmed at this point. Of course, we'll be eager to let you know once Microsoft shares some concrete information on the game's release date. Meanwhile, there's Age of Empires II Definitive Edition available now to tide fans over.