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Age of Empires Online development ends, but game lives on

Adding more content "no longer cost-effective".

Age of Empires Online development has ended, Microsoft has announced.

This means there will be no new content created for the game, executive producer Kevin “Trajan” Perry wrote on the AOEO blog.

A small amount of content will be released over the next few weeks, but no new features or civilizations will be added. The six existing civs are the “complete and final set”.

Perry insisted, however, that the existing game will not change and players can continue playing as normal.

“We will still fully maintain and support the game and its players; no one is losing anything that you have earned or bought," he said. "Our Community team will continue to support the game by way of Community Challenges, streams, contests, PvP tournaments and more.”

While Microsoft will continue to support the Gas Powered Games-developed RTS, “fixing any remaining bugs and addressing balance issues will be slower and, frankly, more difficult for the team”.

“Some may, in fact, be unfixable. We will be watching carefully in case any critical bugs appear.”

Age of Empires Online was announced for PC in 2010 and remains one of the few Microsoft-published PC exclusives.

It was designed as a free-to-play experience with the option of buying premium content. In June 2012 it went entirely free-to-play.

Total Annihilation developer GPG took over development work from Robot Entertainment - the studio formed from the ashes of Age of Empires creator Ensemble - in February 2011.

So why has development on the game ceased? “Because creating top-tier content, as we have been for the last year and a half, is very expensive - too expensive to maintain for long, as it turns out,” Perry explained.

“We can no longer afford to keep creating it. AOEO already has a very large amount of high-quality, hand-crafted entertainment, and adding more is no longer cost-effective.”

Perry continued: “This is a bittersweet announcement for me to make. While I wish that we had been able to add everything that we had wanted (especially a Roman civilization), I am very proud of the work that has been done to get to this point.

“Over the past year specifically we have made a significant amount of changes to the service, including highly complex changes like altering the business model entirely, while still adding a steady stream of high-quality content to the game itself. We have come a long way since August 2011. But now we have finished building the world of AOEO. We hope that you will join us in playing there for a long time to come.

Thanks for playing!”