There was a time when Age of Empires meant passion, light-heartedness, happiness. It meant arriving home, turning on the pc, building the first city center, some farms, training the first soldiers and then setting off to conquer the world, by land and by sea – but how beautiful were naval battles? But there was also a dark time, a period during which Microsoft seemed to have totally lost interest in a brand that had made the history of real-time strategy. Then, as video games have taught us on several occasions, above all the good Crash Bandicoot and the terrifying Resident Evil, the time has come for revenge. And now Age of Empires is increasingly like wine: the older it gets, the better it gets.
In 2018 Microsoft, supported by the Forgotten Empires team, offered to PC enthusiasts Age of Empires: Definitive Edition, a sort of remake/remastered of the original and unforgettable RTS set mainly at the time of the great classical civilizations – the Romans, the Greeks, the Egyptians, just to name a few. The reception wasn’t actually extremely positive, also due to a series of unconvincing choices, but the Redmond giant certainly didn’t panic. Fortunately, nothing could stop the relaunch of the franchise, which continued without further hitches.
After the Definitive Editions of the second and third chapters, 2021 was then the year of the big event. Age of Empires 4, the first unreleased game in the series for sixteen years, was able to restore prestige to the series, overturning what were the initial ideas of the defunct Ensemble Studios and returning to the past, to that glorious period between the Middle Ages and the ‘Modern Age that made what many, still today, is considered as the best game of the franchise, Age of Empires 2. And it is no coincidence, in fact, that Relic Entertainment has decided to revisit that historical period and those dynamics, leaving aside the innovations introduced by the third chapter and following in the footsteps of the predecessors without however giving up some very welcome innovations.
In short, a successful relaunch operation, and today the Age of Empires brand is experiencing a new, splendid and well-deserved youth. The second and fourth chapters, a little surprising more than anything else due to the fact that the announcement seemed to have gotten lost along the way, will also arrive on Xbox Series X and Series S in the course of 2023, and will also continue to be enriched with content, proof of the fact that Relic and Microsoft have now understood which are the thoroughbred horses to bet on, without detracting from the first and unforgettable chapter. That’s all? But when ever: now that the franchise has restarted, new shores will be explored. And so, surprisingly, Microsoft has revealed not only Age of Empires Mobile, to be released on smartphones and tablets between the end of this year and the beginning of next,
In short, for those who love strategic games, this is a new youth, and it is what a series like this deserved after all. Deploy your troops, prepare a nice trebuchet, and good Wololo to all. Even to the youngest, who deserve to rediscover these great titles.