The new Age of Empires 4 will take players across the Middle Ages with a number of new features and gameplay mechanics. However, despite being a new installment and even an evolution of the franchise itself, the game should not be expected to overshadow past installments in the franchise in any way.
Speaking with PC Gamer magazine for the latest issue, game director Quinn Duffy stated that developer Relic Entertainment neither wanted to overhaul the franchise nor return to its hardcore tactical origins. The goal was always to create something new and fresh which fans can relate to as another acclaimed installment in the franchise instead of sidelining its predecessors.
“One of our vision statements was to keep reminding ourselves that the [Age of Empires] experience encompasses this huge breadth of gameplay,” said Duffy. “And we didn’t want to revert back to our tactical roots.
“There was never a goal to pull players off of Age of Empires 2. “We’re not here to seek conquest, we’re very happy living alongside the other games in the franchise. Each of them offer things that are very unique.”
Age of Empires 2 was released more than two decades ago and still remains as one of the best (and popular) real-time strategy games out there. It managed to nail down pretty much every single element of the genre. Age of Empires 2: Definitive Edition, released a couple of years back, was hence a treat for long-time fans and does well in cementing the nostalgic game in real-time strategy history.
In that vein, it is perhaps wise of Relic Entertainment to not compare Age of Empires 2 with the upcoming Age of Empires 4. The new installment promises to elevate storytelling by using a hands-on approach on historical records, and that in addition to a number of other improvements. However, as pointed out by the developer, the game was never designed to bury Age of Empires 2.
Age of Empires 4 will bring eight civilizations when it releases for PC on October 28, 2021: the English, the Chinese, the Mongols, the French, the Delhi Sultanate, the Abbassid Dynasty, the Holy Roman Empire, and the Rus. Relic Entertainment will add support for mods down the road somewhere in early 2022.