Sharpen your swords and start clicking those peasants. At X019, Microsoft revealed pre-alpha gameplay for Age of Empires 4. It gives us a peek at a medieval town nestled in a beautifully rendered forest, the English and Mongolian factions, and a clash between their respective units. The game is being developed by World’s Edge, the new name for the Microsoft studio dedicated to the Age of Empires series.
An RTS classic returns
It looks like the mainstays of the series are alive and well in Age of Empires 4. Different building types, such as homes, keeps, churches, and farms, are present. But what seems most exciting is how alive it all feels. Building an orderly, gorgeous city has always been my favorite part of the Age of Empires series. All the fighting was just to protect all the hard work that went into getting those walls just right.
And the series has never looked quite as good as it does in Age of Empires 4. The colors are bright and vivid, and the animations of the units breathe life into the little English town. Guards patrol the crenelated walls. Peasants wander along the dirt roads. And then the Mongolians show up.
Like its predecessors, Age of Empires 4 will focus on base-building and real-time strategy combat. You’ll control various units — knights, footmen, Mongolian horse archers, etc. — as you seek to destroy your foes. The invading Mongolian army sets up trebuchets and begins their bombardment of the English as their army rushes down from the hills. There isn’t any evidence of a UI yet; it seems like this is just a peek at the graphics, animations, and gameplay. There is also no word on other factions yet, but we can expect to learn more in the future.
We also heard nothing of a release date or window. If you need something the hold you over while you wait for Age of Empires 4, Age of Empires 2 – Definitive Edition just released on Steam today. You can pick it up for $19.99.