Publisher Microsoft and developer Relic Entertainment shared a bunch of new information and footage for Age of Empires IV today, with the first on its release window as Age of Empires IV launches sometime in fall 2021.
Details on Age of Empires IV have been scant since the game was announced way back in August 2017 and only got a gameplay teaser in November 2019, making today the first proper unveiling of the game and its core mechanics.
While Age of Empires IV will have eight playable civilizations at launch including the previously confirmed English and Mongols, two new civs were revealed: the Chinese and the Delhi Sultanate. The game will also include four historical story campaigns, the first being the Norman Campaign – which focuses on William of Normandy’s battle for the English throne. Naval combat was also confirmed.
Despite Relic Entertainment at helm – a developer known for their hybrid real-time strategy games like Company of Heroes and Homeworld, it seems like Age of Empires IV is really a return to the series’ most beloved entry: Age of Empires II. You start off with a small settlement, peasants gather resources like food and wood, and you train armies of up to 200 units to fight your wars.
The game also takes place in the same historical time period as Age of Empires II, beginning in the Middle Ages with the various tech tree progressions as before: the Dark Age, Feudal Age, Castle Age, and finally the Imperial Age. Its predecessor, Age of Empires III, leapt forward to the Colonial era and changed up core mechanics like your home base, which longtime fans criticized.
The English, Chinese, and Delhi all mostly function like regular civilizations and the majority of units follow a traditional tri-balanced system where melee, ranged, and mounted units all cancel each other out in terms of tech. The Mongols, however, feature the first nomadic tech and can pack up their warband just like they did historically (but have no walls), so Relic is experimenting a bit.
The game’s first story campaign – the Norman Campaign – was revealed as the first of four historically-focused campaigns you can play through. The documentary-style storytelling will lead you through the story missions, focusing on the overall historical events and powers at play, which Relic is teasing as a “celebration of history.”
Here’s a recording of the game’s big Fan Preview:
Here’s a quick rundown on all the new details:
New Civ: The Delhi Sultanate
First we revealed one of the civilizations you’ll be able to play in Age of Empires IV: the Delhi Sultanate! This first look showed off buildings, units and…elephants!
If you’d like to learn more about what makes the Delhi Sultanate unique, you can visit our Virtual Village for a closer look.
New Civ: The Chinese
Our trip to Vancouver to visit Relic was followed by another special civilization reveal for Age of Empires IV: the Chinese! Their reveal video gave us a taste for their units, unique buildings, and even the first notes of their musical theme.
The Norman Campaign
We took a deep dive into the Norman Campaign coming to Age of Empires IV. We previewed the documentary-style storytelling that will carry you through missions, as well as some of the gameplay captured straight from the campaign: beginning with William of Normandy’s battle for the English throne. Age of Empires IV will have four playable campaigns, and we’re excited to share more as we get closer to its release.