Microsoft announces Age of Empires Online

At Gamescom, a large conference held in Cologne, Germany, Microsoft today has announced a return for its very popular PC gaming franchise, Age of Empires. This new game is called Age of Empires Online and, as the name suggests, will be played through the internet.

Microsoft is keen to “herald a new age of gaming” with the new Age of Empires game as it will be very different from the type of games the company has created before. Never before have they created an internet based game nor such a socially connected game.

Age of Empires Online

Age of Empires Online will see some new features added to the franchise, some only possible because it’s an online game. One main feature will be persistent game play which allows a user’s capital city to live and grow even when the user is offline, this could make for some very interesting game play and perhaps a more immersive game that doesn’t require constant input. Other notable features are “cooperative multiplayer quests, trading, and a level-based system that lets you progress at your own pace”, the social elements of the game will require the user to have a Games for Windows Live Gamertag. The game also features levelling up and quests for users to carry out.

A website has already been set up showing the features and images of the game and has a video of some brief game play. From the images and video it can be seen that this new game will take on a cartoon like look which might appeal more to casual gamers than hard core ones.

Currently the game is in testing and is named Project S; it is possible to request access to the beta through Microsoft Connect (Games for Windows Live Gamertag is required).  The game will be free to play when launched, however there has been no time scale for when the game is likely to be released.

Kotaku first broke the news that Microsoft was working on a new game but at the time had very little idea as to what it was.

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THIS will make me very happy as long as they keep to aoe2 style playing. Also can someone give me a link to the microsoft connect project s page? I searched and can't find it

Sikh said,
THIS will make me very happy as long as they keep to aoe2 style playing. Also can someone give me a link to the microsoft connect project s page? I searched and can't find it

I think it's under the Microsoft Game Studios page.

OceanMotion said,
Hopefully there is some news of a Games for Windows revamp. It really does suck beyond belief.

Yes it does, and I've never understood why. They already have the underlying architecture in place from Xbox Live, and it wouldn't be that hard to write a decent Windows client for it. I could do better than the current version given just a few weeks of dev time. Just makes no sense...

JonathanMarston said,

Yes it does, and I've never understood why. They already have the underlying architecture in place from Xbox Live, and it wouldn't be that hard to write a decent Windows client for it. I could do better than the current version given just a few weeks of dev time. Just makes no sense...

Yeah, it's amazing how poor it is. Bad management and direction. It really should be a fantastic base for games on windows but they just don't seem to have a clue. Even then, Steam is right there showing you how good it can be done. They need to be more open and by allowing non GFWL games, they seem to be slowly trying different ways. Need to be better and fast.

Slightly peeved that I need a gamer tag dispite not owning an xbox 360 however looks good the cartoony graphics remind me of AOM.

I've been testing this for about a month now, and I must say I have really enjoyed it - the cartoonishness adds a very comedic feel to the game - some of the animations are absolutely hilarious. It's nice to have an RTS that doesn't take itself nearly as seriously as most RTS games have done.

Mouettus said,
wtf cartoons

I know what you mean. I loved how detailed everything looked in the previous games, now it looks like a Windwaker rip off.

statm1 said,

Then why does it still make you agree to keep your mouth shut when you signup on connect?

Maybe there's still details that haven't been covered in this little news bit? Or maybe the NDA on the system hasn't ended yet for some? Maybe when tomorrow comes it'll be lifted? Don't these things have a experation date when you sign them?

Hell-In-A-Handbasket said,

I havnt gotten an email or notification saying it was

Me neither. Guess I'll just keep to only saying what's public knowledge until I find out otherwise...

JonathanMarston said,
I've been testing Project S for a few weeks now...does this mean my NDA is lifted?

Nope, but you can send us screenshots

JonathanMarston said,
I've been testing Project S for a few weeks now...does this mean my NDA is lifted?

OK, after some more research, I found out that those of us in the beta can say that we're in it, point people to the website, and discuss things Microsoft discussed at GameCon, but we're not allowed to discuss details and other things Microsoft hasn't revealed about the game. That makes sense, because they're still polishing bugs and finalizing aspects of the game that may/may not make it to the release.

Hell-In-A-Handbasket said,

I havnt gotten an email or notification saying it was

I received an email stating that I could tell my friends about it, which is why I thought the NDA was lifted. It was only after doing some more research that I discovered definitively that only *parts* of the NDA were lifted. I wish they would have been more clear up front as to what we could/could not discuss.

Tzvi Friedman said,
If this is really going to be a persistent online RTS that doesn't make you pay money to be good at it, I'm all in.

Try Dreamlords. It's online, it's an RTS (Or at least the fights are, which beats crappy browser games like Evony) and it's absolutely free, plus there are no items to buy with real money.

Looks like Warcraft 2 with a higher resolution images.
and with Starcraft 2 out, I doubt it'll be a big hit.

Grunt said,
Looks like Warcraft 2 with a higher resolution images.
and with Starcraft 2 out, I doubt it'll be a big hit.

Thats pretty much the exact thing i was thinking, didnt know AOE had such a big following but i doubt this will be anywhere near a "WoW Killer"

Grunt said,
Looks like Warcraft 2 with a higher resolution images.
and with Starcraft 2 out, I doubt it'll be a big hit.

people still play SC2? I got maybe a week out of that game and gave it to a friend in exchange for a big mac combo (i forgot my wallet at home lol)

Grunt said,
Looks like Warcraft 2 with a higher resolution images.
and with Starcraft 2 out, I doubt it'll be a big hit.

Not everyone likes space games ya know, I for one would rather play AoE, if it was a decent one

flashnuke said,
This should be interesting I love me some AOE

I've been part of the alpha and now beta testing for a few weeks. I've enjoyed playing the game, and I think you'll be very pleased with it. As far as I can tell, it's in good shape, too. I've only run into one in-game bug in the first week of alpha testing and one installation related issue when the initial beta version was released to testers a couple weeks ago.

Skwerl said,

I've been part of the alpha and now beta testing for a few weeks. I've enjoyed playing the game, and I think you'll be very pleased with it. As far as I can tell, it's in good shape, too. I've only run into one in-game bug in the first week of alpha testing and one installation related issue when the initial beta version was released to testers a couple weeks ago.

Thanks for the insight highly appreciated

flashnuke said,
Thanks for the insight highly appreciated

Sadly, it sounds like Dreamlords... and looks like Evony (And the 533513513 other clones) from what I managed to see. Not sure how well they'll manage it, but eh... hoping to see something nice anyway even if I was never a fan of the AoE games.

Next step: Gimme some AoM!

Metodi Mitov said,

Sadly, it sounds like Dreamlords... and looks like Evony (And the 533513513 other clones) from what I managed to see. Not sure how well they'll manage it, but eh... hoping to see something nice anyway even if I was never a fan of the AoE games.

Next step: Gimme some AoM!

To each their own