Xbox Game Studios Spotlight: World's Edge

In this Xbox Game Studio Spotlight, we are covering World's Edge — the studio looking after and managing the Age of Empires series. See how the dev ranks, its history, and projects!

World's Edge overview

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World's Edge is an unusual developer. The Redmond-based studio is not the developer of the Age of Empires series in the truest sense of the word, but rather the newly founded guiding hand of the legendary RTS franchise. The team was put together in early 2019 under the stewardship of Shannon Loftis. With around 40 team members, World's Edge help orchestrate a more global and inclusive development project that puts the cultural influences video game series to best practice. With this melting pot of talent and countries, World's Edge is ready to help shape the future of Age of Empires.

Partnerships with two indie studios, Forgotten Empires and Tantalus Media, helped shape three new definitive editions of old games. Just before World's Edge was founded, the first Age of Empires received an upgrade in 2018 that helped revitalise the 1997 original. With 4K output, a visual overhaul, and much-needed quality of life updates, the new edition also parcelled in The Rise of Rome expansion to make this the best version of the original game.

A year after this release, World's Edge was founded and its first project was to oversee and assist in the development of Definitive Editions of the second and third games. Again, the development teams and World's Edge bundled in all the extra expansions and added campaigns, boosted the resolution and visuals, and made quality of life adjustments where possible. The pair were released in 2019 and 2020 on Windows, providing a great foundation for audiences excited for the next major new project from World's Edge. SEGA's Relic Entertainment was entrusted with finally developing Age of Empires IV. The game was announced in 2017, with a four-year wait until release in late 2021. This marks Age of Empires' first major release since World's Edge was formed as its caretaker.

World's Edge' previous project — Age of Empires 4

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After a long wait, Age of Empires 4 launched to a positive reception. In our First Impressions of Age of Empires IV, we noted how well the game utilised its Art of War challenges as more in-depth and extensive tutorials, teaching everything from which unit was most effective against which enemy, to the types of siege weapons to use against buildings or walls. With new features like wall combat and the return of previous resources, Age of Empires IV turned out to be well worth the wait.

World's Edge' current project — Age of Empires [unknown entry]

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In 2019, head of the studio Shannon Loftis said in an interview with Windows Central that "We have other [partners] that we're not talking about yet. But, it is truly a global development team. All the teams are working together to share assets, to share ideas, the legacy teams are working with Relic." Since then, there has been no word on who those partners are, other than the core three development teams of Relic, Forgotten Empires, and Tantalus Media. This would suggest that "Age of..." is looking to keep broadening as an IP using developers with different talents in the RTS space. Creative director Adam Isgreen, in the same interview, states that World's Edge "could explore things internally, but we have such great partners. I couldn't imagine fans would be happy if we're going to take Age 2 away from Forgotten Empires. They would riot." Again, this very much sounds like further projects will be owned by external teams and managed by World's Edge. There has also been the occasional hint that something will be done with Age of Mythology, and Isgreen has previously commented on all the possibilities for the game.

World's Edge in 2021

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For World's Edge in 2021, it has been all hands on deck for Age of Empires IV. The was a hands-on history feature, naval warfare trailer, new gameplay, before achievements were revealed and the date of release onto Game Pass was confirmed.

How does World's Edge rank?

World's Edge is a tricky one. While it has shown itself capable of greatness with its involvement with the Definitive Editions of the second and third Age of Empires games, Age of Empires IV is the first major release for the series, and our first look at a new creation from World's Edge and Relic Entertainment. We think Age of Empires IV is a fine addition to the series, and shows that World's Edge is capable of greatness, but it's still a new studio and we think it has more to offer. Again, this is just our opinion — have your say by voting in the poll and commenting below!

B Tier
B

A studio capable of greatness, but has more to offer



Do you agree with the B grade for World's Edge? Vote in the poll below to have your say, and who knows? Maybe you can change our minds with a salient comment!
How would you rank World's Edge?
  • S — A world-class studio executing at an exceptional level
  • A — A studio with a fantastic portfolio, and the talent to impress further
  • B — A studio capable of greatness, but has more to offer
  • C — An up-and-coming studio, or one struggling to realise its potential
We've had 85 responses.
Kes Eylers-Stephenson
Written by Kes Eylers-Stephenson
Hey, I'm Kes! I'm a Staff Writer, and I've been here since 2021. What do I like? The Outer Wilds is top notch. The Witcher 3 blew my mind over the course of five years completing it. I want Burnout back — I really miss crunching mechanical wonders into walls to the sound of Guns N' Roses. Cool, now we are acquainted, I'll see you around.