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Microsoft to release fan mod Forgotten Empires as official Age of Empires II HD expansion

by John Callaham

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In April, Microsoft published Age of Empires II HD on Steam, a graphical remake of the classic Ensemble Studios RTS PC game from developer Hidden Path Entertainment. The remake contained both the original game and its expansion pack The Conquerors. Now Microsoft plans to release another expansion pack for Age of Empires II HD, which will add content to the game that was originally made as a fan mod.

An announcement on the Steam Community page from Microsoft reveals their plans for Age of Empires II HD: The Forgotten. The expansion pack is based on Forgotten Empires, which was made a number of years ago by a team of fans for Ensemble's original Age of Empires II. Microsoft is working with the fan mod team along with Vancouver-based developer SkyBox Labs to port the mod so it will work with the enhanced graphics and features of Age of Empires II HD.

Age of Empires II HD: The Forgotten will add five new civilizations to the game (Italians, Indians, Slavs, Incas and Magyars) along with four new campaigns and over 12 new missions. New multiplayer gameplay modes such as Treaty and Capture The Relic will be a part of The Forgotten, along with new maps, a new Observer mode, improved AI and support for streaming matches via Twitch.tv

Age of Empires II HD: The Forgotten will be released later this fall on Steam. A specific release date and price has yet to be announced.

Source: Steam Community | Image via Microsoft

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I understand why it's not free, but it's a shame it's not :P

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WOOOOW. Best RTS game ever.

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Hopefully they'd fix some of the major issues that AOE2:HD currently has.

1. The drop "bug." Everyone knows this, someone is losing and he doesn't want his rating to drop so he goes AFK and pauses the game. Now everyone else has to either wait forever or drop out and take a rating hit. I don't particularly care about my rating but it's annoying when this happens because I like to finish games.

2. Sometimes units can walk through walls. Not sure how this happens but if there's a big group of units outside your walls, occasionally a couple can walk right through it.

3. Better networking code =( This probably won't happen but one can hope!!!

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I don't know how to express my joy. This is an incredibly good thing. Forgotten Empires adds essential gameplay improvements like hotkeying multiple buildings and smart queuing SC2-style. It's basically the sum of all quality fan-made content over the 12 years that separated Age of Conquerors from AoE2:HD. I was deeply disappointed when AoE2:HD was released without even acknowledging the existence of these improvements: AoE2:HD was basically just AoC 1.0c with better widescreen support and Steam integration - which, mind you, was great, but still had players choose between two different sets of improvements. I was quite vocal about this issue on the official AoE2:HD forums; I would have hoped for at least some level of collaboration between the modding community and the game creators. Having worked as beta tester on Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition, I can tell you that this can make all the difference.

 

Now with this new expansion, there should really be no question as to what the best version of Age of Empires 2 is. I will buy it if only to express my approval.

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3. Better networking code =( This probably won't happen but one can hope!!!

Do you mean the latency?

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This game came out when I was in 5th grade and I am about to turn 26...

 

This is one of my all time favorite titles, I have several thousand hours through LAN, MSN Gaming Zone, Voobly, and GameRanger...

 

This is ######ing fantastic news for me! :woot:

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