A New Age is Upon Us
The Age of Empires 4 announcement trailer is nothing short of spectacular, with the iconic voice of Charles Dance booming over an epic soundtrack; it definitely brings the hype. But fans are left with very little information by the end of the video, other than: Age of Empires 4, it’s happening. There’s no release date, gameplay footage or confirmed details about the game just yet. So let’s break down the trailer to see if we can decipher any clues about what AoE4 might be.
Along with the trailer came confirmation that legendary RTS developers, Relic Entertainment, would be delivering the game. Relic have been releasing real time strategy games since 1999 and definitely have the credentials to take on such a challenging project. Relics’ Homeworld (1999), Dawn of War (2004) and Company of Heroes (2006) all received critical acclaim. Why were Relic chosen to develop Age of Empires 4? Is there something to read between the lines here or is it just because they are the best option available? Not many studios have such a long track record with RTS and even fewer are actively developing RTS games in 2019.
There’s no doubt that Relic are up to the task, but maybe Microsoft also wanted their expertise in creating a specific type of game. If we look over all of Relics past titles they certainly fit a theme: gritty and modern/futuristic. This is the perfect opportunity to dig up the classic concept art that shipped with Age of Empires 3.
Age of Empires COncept Art
Age I, II and III showing the iconic images from the respective games. IV and V showing “concepts” for the logical progression of the series.
Company Of Heroes Box Art
Look familiar? Company of heroes mirrors the IV concept art very closely, The soldier in the center even has a cigarette in his mouth, albeit on the wrong side!
Dawn of War 3 Box Art
Mechs look pretty futuristic, so does the concept art for V. It seems as though Relic are very well equipped to make the Ensemble Studios artwork into reality.
Age of Empires 4 Time Period
Looking at Relics expertise and the concept art it seems logical that Age of Empires IV would follow on into a “new Age” and be set in a time period around World War 1 or 2. This also seems to be backed up by the trailer which shows a chronological progression through history, starting from the Ancient times and ending in the Industrial era. A lot of the clues point in this direction, but does it really make sense?
Ancient to Modern
It could also be hinting at a more broad game similar to what Rise of Nations (2003) achieved, where players start in the Ancient Age and end in modern times. This would certainly be a new direction for the Age franchise as all of the previous games have kept the scope limited to smaller, more iconic time periods. Zooming out too much on the historical timeline could give Age of Empires a more “grand strategy” feel, something which doesn’t really capture the essence of a true Age of Empires game.
Revisiting Age 1/2/3 Again
This seems less likely given the information we have right now. Not only do most of the clues seem to point toward a follow-on from Age of Empires 3, but Microsoft are also releasing Definitive Editions for Age of Empires 1, 2 and 3. If Age of Empires 4 were to re-visit the same time period as any of the old games, it could potentially undermine their work on the respective Definitive Edition version.
Age of Empires 4 Release Date
Given how Microsoft also announced the Definitive Editions at the same time as the teaser trailer it’s no doubt going to be a long while until the game is released. Age of Empires 1: DE has been out for one year already and we’re still waiting on information about Age of Empires 2: DE at the time of writing. It could be 2020 or even 2021 by the time Age of Empires 4 is ready to hit the shelves. You can head over to our Age of Empires 4 homepage to keep up to date with any new news as soon as it becomes available.
Your opinion on this may be shaped by how you interpret the trailer’s final words: “A new age is upon us”. Is this a new Age of Empires game? Yes. Is it going to be set in a new age? Maybe. At this point all we can do is speculate, what do you think Age of Empires 4 will be?