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Age of Empires II and III Definitive Editions are getting more expansions
by Pulasthi Ariyasinghe
Microsoft and the development teams behind Age of Empires today held a Fan Preview event showcasing what's next for the franchise. In addition to revealing the release window and new footage of the upcoming Age of Empires IV, the event also revealed information regarding the future of Age of Empires II and III Definitive Editions.
Starting with Age of Empires II, the popular entry is gaining another expansion as part of the Definitive Edition's development by World’s Edge. The behemoth real-time strategy game is receiving the eastern Europe-focused Dawn of the Dukes expansion this summer, which will deliver new campaigns and other elements that will be revealed later.
The developer is also working on a new cooperative mode for the game's historical battles that will arrive via a free update later this year. Handpicked campaign missions and historical battles will be delivered for players to tackle with their friends for the first time.
Meanwhile, Age of Empires III is slated to receive its first major content update, with The United States civilization being delivered. This new civilization will feature "a new home city, nine new units, a new age-up mechanic, and more." Moreover, for a limited time, players will be able to claim this U.S. civilization for free by completing an in-game community challenge. Otherwise, the content will cost $4.99 to purchase.
The Definitive Edition development team is working on a new expansion for Age of Empires III as well. While details are scarce, the expansion will feature African civilizations and is slated to release later this year.
All content announced today is heading to Age of Empires II and III Definitive Edition players across Steam, Microsoft Store, and Xbox Game Pass for PC.
Age of Empires IV launches fall 2021, new gameplay and civilizations shown off
by Pulasthi Ariyasinghe
The upcoming fourth entry to the Age of Empires real-time strategy series was shown off today at the Fan Preview event, as promised. The highly-anticipated title also received a launch window for the first time, with Relic Entertainment announcing a Fall 2021 release plan for Windows.
As for the gameplay, this is the first time that footage from a player perspective has been released, and today's reveal covered new gameplay, campaigns, and more. Catch the extended look above.
Many elements from the series' most popular entry, Age of Empires II, seem to be present in Age of Empires IV, at least in the early look given today. Aside from glimpses at the unique looks of each civilization, material gathering, and combat (with a sneak peek at naval elements), some new features like hiding troops in trees for ambushing were revealed here as well.
Age of Empires IV will include eight civilizations at launch, and today's preview unveiled Delhi Sultanate and Chinese as two new civilizations heading in, which join the Mongols and the English that were announced previously. Four historical campaigns and asymmetrical civilization designs were also confirmed today.
There is good news for those looking to get into the game before the official launch this fall, as Relic is looking to kick off an Age of Empires IV closed beta soon. The developer urged interested players to sign up as an Age Insider on its official website for a chance to gain access. Age of Empires IV is releasing on Steam and Microsoft Store for Windows and as part of the Xbox Game Pass for PC subscription on day one.
By Asher Madan
Xbox Deals with Gold and Spring Sale feature Assassin's Creed, Yakuza, and more
by Asher Madan
Every week, Microsoft and select publishers discount a number of titles for a weekly Deals with Gold sale. This week, games like Assassin's Creed Odyssey, Atlas, and more are available for substantially less. There's also a Spring Sale going that includes hundreds of titles. Below, you'll find the Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and Xbox 360 games with their respective discounts. The games marked with an asterisk are only valid for Xbox Live Gold members.
Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One
If you're still using an Xbox 360, there's a little bit going on this week. Almost all of the games are also backward compatible so you can play them on your Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One.
Which titles are you interested in? Did you pick any up? Let us know in the comments below.
Grand Theft Auto V, MLB The Show 21, NHL 21, and more head to Xbox Game Pass
by Pulasthi Ariyasinghe
The games that Xbox Game Pass subscribers can look forward to receiving in the first half of April was revealed today by Microsoft. The incoming experiences include Grand Theft Auto V for Xbox consoles, with the Rockstar title returning for a second stint in the subscription program following its removal in May last year.
Sports fans can also look forward to Sony San Diego Studio's MLB The Show 21 and Electronic Art's NHL 21 (via EA Play) this month.
Here are all the incoming games and platforms they are landing on:
Grand Theft Auto V (Cloud and Console) – April 8 Zombie Army 4: Dead War (Cloud, Console, and PC) – April 8 Disneyland Adventures (Cloud) – April 8 Rush: A Disney/Pixar Adventure (Cloud) – April 8 NHL 21 (Console) EA Play – April 12 Rain on Your Parade (Cloud, Console, and PC) – April 15 Pathway (PC) – April 15 MLB The Show 21 (Cloud and Console) – April 20 Several games are being removed from the subscription soon as well, with a majority of them being older generation sports games from EA's catalog. Here's everything that's leaving:
Moreover, Microsoft recently enabled cloud play for a range of classic Xbox and Xbox 360 titles from the Xbox Backward Compatibility program. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members can now play the initial batch of games, including Banjo-Kazooie, Fable II, Fallout: New Vegas, Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Viva Piñata, and others, on Android phones and tablets.
With the first wave out of the way, expect another round of games to be announced for Xbox Game Pass across Xbox consoles and PC in around two weeks. Going by previous occurrences, there may be some stealth drops along the way as well.
By Usama Jawad96
PSA: Microsoft may have sent you Store credit to spend on the Spring Sale
by Usama Jawad
Microsoft's Spring Sale is well underway with the company offering up to 75% off on Xbox titles and up to 50% off on media content on the Microsoft Store. Notable deals include DOOM Eternal Deluxe Edition for $29.69, Red Dead Redemption 2 for $26.99, and Star Wars: Squadrons for $19.99, among others. It now appears that the company is also sending out complimentary gift cards to some people to spend on the sale.
Numerous users have reported on Twitter that they have received messages from Microsoft on Xbox which contain complimentary $10 Store cards. Although the credit can be redeemed until April 30 and has to be spent within 90 days after redemption, the implied messaging from Microsoft is that it wants you to spend it on game purchases on the Xbox Spring Sale.
On our side, we also noticed that we received a similar "surprise" in a promotional email from Microsoft a couple of days ago that contained a redeemable Microsoft Store card code. However, visiting the URL now showed that the gift cards are no longer available.
While the distribution of credit appears to be quite random, we recommend that you check both your emails as well as your Xbox messages to see whether you have been graced by Microsoft's goodwill. The company is likely banking on the possibility that once you receive free credits, you'll visit the Microsoft Store to purchase something and end up spending your own money too. However, given the wide variety of deals on offer, that's not necessarily a bad thing - provided you don't go over budget, of course. You can check out Xbox Spring Sale deals over here and discounts on movies and TV shows here.