Age of Empires is coming to Xbox.
By Jason Collins | Issued
The classic real-time strategy (RTS) franchise Age of Empires will finally come to Xbox consoles in January next year, for the first time since the beginning of the franchise in 1999. Unfortunately, the first installment in the franchise will not reach Microsoft’s consoles; the Definitive Edition of its consequence, Age of Empires II, will, followed by a contemporary Age of Empires IV – will also be coming to consoles later next year. It is a good step from the naval warships.
This is the result of a concentrated effort by Microsoft to bring all of its first-party titles to its proprietary gaming hardware and PCs. Admittedly, this didn’t work every time, but it would seem that the most requested games are making their transition to relative platforms. According to ComicBook, it finally is Age of Empires turn to jump to console gaming. As previously stated, that jump would be made in a limited capacity, and only select titles could appear on Xbox Game Pass.
Microsoft’s announcement of its new Xbox PC game transition did not specify exactly which Xbox consoles would receive the new versions of Age of Empires Considering they’re headed to Microsoft’s biggest stores, including Xbox Game Pass/Ultimate and Microsoft Store, we can safely assume they’re heading to Xbox Series X/S. The compatibility with Xbox One remains to be seen, considering that Microsoft has pulled the plug on the production of its console. However, the appearance of the game in said console would not be surprising either.
It is worth noting that RTS games, such as Age of Empires, Age of Mythology, StarCraft, etc., are all played with a keyboard and mouse, considering that the genre flourished on the computer – despite it actually being conceived on the early generation consoles. Fortunately, Microsoft’s consoles support keyboard and mouse inputs, but the developers are re-tuning the game to be compatible with controller inputs as well. Playing RTSs on an Xbox controller or any other console controller sounds… interesting.
In fact, the Age of Empires co-developer, World’s Edge, stated that they are aware of the complexities involved in bringing an RTS game to Xbox consoles and that the teams approached the task carefully and thoughtfully. Their goal is to bring the Age of Empires experience to the controller-using players and make the controller input as effective as the mouse/keyboard combo while also teaching players how to play/play on Xbox.
This also implies a new tutorial that would introduce Age of Empires Xbox players to various inputs, as well as game mechanics, targeted and newbies and those who know the franchise well. World’s Edge also stated that a new AI implementation has been made within the game, which allows for more efficient and intuitive resource management. It would seem that the ultimate goal is to make Xbox RTS games, as limited as they are on consoles, comparable to their PC counterparts.
Actually, both Age of Empires 2 and Age of Empires 4 will support cross-platform play, allowing players to mix and match. If the development teams do their jobs adequately, the result should be indistinguishable between two gaming platforms as controllers clash against the mouse/keyboard combo.