Approximately two and a half decades following Ensemble Studios and Microsoft’s release of the first Age of Empires instalment for the PC, we are approaching a planned release of Age of Empires IV, the fourth mainline single/multiplayer instalment in the series. During a community preview event held over the weekend, Microsoft shared new details and gameplay footage. As part of the fan event, the development team also shared a “Virtual Village” website, providing a creative, one-stop-shop for videos, screenshots, an opportunity to create an “idle villager” for inclusion in the game and much more.
The preview event kicked off with a detailed look at one of the new playable civilisations in Age of Empires IV, the Delhi Sultanate, and showed off one of their most iconic units in action: the War Elephant. The gameplay showcased also included archers firing down from above on castle walls, spearmen engaging in combat, Sultanate Scholars capturing sacred sites and more.
Also previewed was the Norman Campaign. This campaign tells 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.
This is but one “Age” players of Age of Empires IV will be able to experience. The preview started with the High Medieval Ages and a battle between the English and the Delhi Sultanate. Things began with a showcase of English villagers gathering resources to begin constructing their Town Centre, with scouts hunting deer and villagers collecting meat from sheep. But this peaceful society was short-lived, as a nearby enemy fortification starts to progress the era, as this quaint town becomes more militarised and skirmishes commence for dominance over the map.
On the other side of the world, the Feudal Age featured both Mongols and Chinese civilisations. This age is marked with its own distinct architecture, units, weaponry and more. The Castle Age, also previewed, featured an advanced Delhi Sultanate and English civilisation battle.