Age of Empires 4 launches autumn 2021, includes Norman campaign
Age of Empires 4 launches autumn 2021. It'll be available on PC via Steam and the Windows Store, and will be available day one on Xbox Game Pass for PC.
The real-time strategy sequel includes a Norman campaign - one of four historic campaigns in the game at launch. Gameplay is in the video below (there's a naval combat tease at the end):
There's a new presentation style for Age of Empire 4's campaigns that draws inspiration from gilded manuscripts of the time. The "golden soldiers" project historical events over present-day real-world locations and aim to provide a realistic sense of place in how events unfolded hundreds of years ago. Microsoft said it's all very BBC documentary.
Here's the official blurb on the Norman campaign:
"The Norman campaign will tell the story of Duke William of Normandy as he wrestles control of England from King Harold, starting at the Battle of Hastings, then later following his descendants Robert, William II, and Henry I as they continue to fight for what would become modern day England. All the classic medieval units were shown here in action, from knights on horseback engaging with pikemen across large fields of battle capped off with a great looking castle siege."
Age of Empires 4 has four ages: Medieval, Feudal, Castle, and Imperial. Civilisations revealed include the English, the Chinese, the Mongols, and the Delhi Sultanate. Eight playable civilisations are planned for launch.
There's a new stealth forest mechanic. This involves unique patches of forest that units can hide within to set up ambushes. Sight into and within these forest areas is severely limited, meaning armies could move right past each other and never see the other. You know your units are in stealth woods by the blue outline around them and their whispered responses.
Meanwhile, Age of Empires 2: Definitive Edition gets the Dawn of the Dukes expansion this summer. This takes players to Eastern Europe with new campaigns. Later this year, Age of Empires 2: Definitive Edition gets co-op historical battles that feature handpicked campaign missions and historical battles to play with friends.
And finally, on 13th April Age of Empires 3: Definitive Edition gets its first major update, the United States civilisation. This new civ features a new home city, nine new units, a new age-up mechanic, and more. The US civilisation is free for a limited time for those who complete a 50 State Challenge (players need to complete up to three challenges per day and unlock the civ on the completion of the last challenge). Alternatively, the US civilisation can also be bought as premium DLC. Another update for Age of Empires 3: Definitive Edition is planned for later this year, and includes African civilisations.