It's been over two years since Age of Empires 4 was first announced. Let that sink in for a second. It was revealed with a minute-long teaser trailer, and since then Microsoft has been tight-lipped as to what we should expect from the long-awaited revival of this legendary strategy series.
The curtain was pulled back today, as Microsoft revealed our first look at in-engine gameplay – showcasing British and Mongol armies going to war – and GamesRadar+ had the opportunity to sit down with Adam Isgreen, the creative director of the Age of Empires franchise. Our first question was, of course, where in the hell has the game been these last two years! Isgreen was only too happy to answer.
"What we decided on pretty early was that we were only going to show what we knew would deliver and that was kind of our mantra. So everything you've seen in here today – and we've hidden a whole bunch of little things in here that people will find as soon as they start to go through the trailer frame-by-frame," Isgreen laughs, explaining that the trailer has been captured from an early pre-Alpha build so we shouldn't look too closely. "But it's so important to us that everything you see in this trailer is stuff that you will see once the game lands."
"And as we go forward and start to show more – and there is a whole bunch of things we have not shown yet, and not just civilizations, but aspects of the game that people don't have any idea about yet – all of it's real, none of it is fake," Isgreen tells me, pulling attention to the army sizes, the battles atop walls, and numerous quality-of-life enhancements. "None of it's not going to be there. We don't want people to be like, 'oh, what happened to that Falcon that was circling around the Mongols; I can't believe they took that out!' Nope, it's all in. Wall combat as well, it's all in there – it's all in the game and it's all working, as of right now at least. As we continue through development and show more of it, it's our promise that it is all real. That's one of the reasons that it has taken so long to show anything new, we want to guarantee that we always show real gameplay."
Age of Empires 4 doesn't have a release date yet, but it is expected to launch for PC towards the tail end of 2020. We'll have more on the upcoming strategy game soon, and we can already confirm that it's looking bloody wonderful. Age of Empires 4 was built in a new engine for PC (sorry folks, it doesn't sound like a console version is currently in the works), with developers Relic Entertainment and World's Edge – a new internal Microsoft studio, created to help make this game the best that it can be – as well as numerous other partner studios, all coming together to ensure that this is a series revival worth remembering.