Age of Empires IV Will Do Things Differently

By Heidi Nicholas,
Fans have been waiting for Age of Empires news for a long time, so it was a huge deal when Age of Empires IV was finally officially announced. The Age of Empires teams have kept details pretty close to their chest since then, but now, speaking to GamesRadar, Creative Director Adam Isgreen has given us a little more to go on.

AOE IV

"This is a fresh start for us", he said. "We want to modernise the series and that means we are going to do things differently". But before anybody panics, he adds, "this is still going to be an Age of Empires game". We mentioned before, when talking about AOE IV's possible DLCs, that Relic and the Age of Empires team are very committed to interaction with fans, and to letting player preference drive the future of the games. For instance, Isgreen says they wanted to know what sort of thing players would want in Age of Empires IV's future content, like different game modes, and said that a lot of their planning was going to be "driven by the community and the players". This community focus is again clear in Isgreen's more recent comments. "Community is a really important aspect to us for all of the Age of Empires games," Isgreen said, noting that they "always want to do right by the players".

The decision to make the Definitive Edition of Age of Empires II was run by the players, with the team asking, "what do you want us to do with it?". The answer seemed to be pretty unanimous; the players already loved basically everything about it. "Everyone was like, 'Don't touch the combat. Don't. Please don't change it!'" Isgreen said. At the same time, the Age of Empires team wanted to ensure that Age of Empires IV would be brought into the world of modern gaming. "It's been 13 years since the last Age of Empire game so we have a lot of catching up to do", Isgreen said, adding, "We're doing things that no other RTS game has done before".


As for general changes to the Age of Empires system, it seems we might have an idea of one change. PCGamesN also spoke to Isgreen, and he mentioned that whilst there are four resources in Age of Empires IV, and all the civilisations will be using them, they might not be making use of them in the way we'd expect. "Do they use them in the same way? Do they use them in the same order?" he said. "Hmm, don’t know. You’ll have to find out.” Resources were typically viewed in previous Age of Empires games as pretty much the same no matter what civilisation you were using. In Age of Mythology, for example, all civilisations used the same core four, and whilst they might differ on their ways of collecting it (the Norse with wagons, the Ancient Greeks with storehouses), they'd still be collecting them to use the same way. It seems that this system will be shaken up a little for Age of Empires IV. Another change is that rather than walling yourself in, removing gates, and sticking archers behind them like we used to, you can apparently have fights on the walls in Age of Empires IV.

We know about two of the civilisations in Age of Empires IV; the English and the Mongols. Isgreen says that "the English intentionally play a lot like what you'd expect of something from a previous Age of Empires game," whilst "the Mongols do not; they play completely differently." Isgreen explains that there'll be a "wonderful spectrum of different ways" to enjoy Age of Empires that they "could never do...before". It seems that Relic Entertainment were even a little taken aback by how new the game was. "...Relic was, in some ways, more conservative than us", says Isgreen. "They were like, 'But this is different than what has been done in Age of Empires before!' and we were like, 'It's cool, it's cool. We're going to do it…' They are the ones that are like 'is this too different' and we're like, 'That's okay! It's a different game, it's brand new.'" Isgreen told Games Radar that they're "doing something very different with the campaign" and "bringing history in a fun and exciting way to people". The research also seems to have been kicked up a notch; Isgreen says the team are going to Mongolia, and all over the world when researching the civilisations for the game (which bodes well for the variety we can hope to see).

We still don't have a release date for Age of Empires IV, but we'll keep you up to date.
Heidi Nicholas
Written by Heidi Nicholas
Hey, I'm Heidi! I've just finished studying a Masters in English Literature, but I've been obsessed with gaming since long before then. I began on the PS2 with Spyro, before graduating to the Xbox 360 and disappearing into Skyrim. I'm now a loyal RPG fan, but I still like to explore other genres — when I'm not playing Assassin's Creed Odyssey, or being lured back into Red Dead Redemption 2 or The Witcher 3!