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Age of Empires 4 features more than an hour of mini historical documentaries

Age 4
(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

Age of Empires 4 will feature mini documentaries about the history of its multiple civilizations.

Dubbed "Hands-On Histories" by creative director Adam Isgreen during today's Xbox Gamescom 2021 showcase, the three to five-minute videos explain the technology and culture of the medieval world. In today's show, which was shot at Warwick Castle, the focus was on the trebuchet, which formed a key part of siege tactics for a number of the civs available in the game, flinging everything from blunt weapons that could break down castle walls to beehives and bodies to sow chaos behind enemy lines.

Isgreen says that in total, there's more than an hour of these historical clips dispersed throughout the game, which he describes as "another way that [developers Relic Entertainment and World's Edge] are bringing history to life." The collection of videos "go all over the place," tackling everything from the physics of flaming arrows, to Mongolian music, to the brutality of medieval surgery. 

This isn't the first time a historical game has tackled its subject matter in extra detail. The Assassin's Creed series has been offering its Discovery Tours - combat free explorations of its world - since Origins, but we've not seen this kind of full-motion video approach before.

Age of Empires 4 is set to release on October 28, and is coming to Xbox Game Pass on day one. You'll be able to pre-order the game right away, and Isgreen says that there'll also be more information about the game at tomorrow's Opening Night Live showcase, so stay tuned.

Planning your next epic campaign? Here's our list of the best strategy games that you can play right now.

Ali Jones

I'm GamesRadar's deputy news editor, working with Ben T across our gaming news articles. I started my journalistic career while getting my degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick, where I also worked as Games Editor on the student newspaper, The Boar. Since then, I've run the news sections at PCGamesN and Kotaku UK, and also regularly contributed to PC Gamer. As you might be able to tell, PC is my platform of choice, so you can regularly find me playing League of Legends or Steam's latest indie hit.