IGNPC: Are you using a modified version of the Age of Mythology engine or are you starting over from scratch? What new technologies and visuals are you hoping to include?
Ensemble: Yes, we started Age of Empires III with the Age of Mythology engine. But, fairly soon into Age of Empires III's development, we realized that we had an opportunity to do something unique in terms of pushing the edge of the envelope with graphics in the RTS genre, and perhaps even for all PC games. As a result, we've rewritten most of the engine by this point in time.
The Age of Empires III engine is a fully DX9, Shader 3.0 compliant engine with more technical bells and whistles than any other PC game to date. As you can see from the screenshots, we have a world that feels bright and sunny, but with a softness and depth that hasn't been seen before. From things like self-shadowing to HDR (high dynamic range) lighting to water that has proper Fresnel reflectance properties, this is a very high-end graphics engine.
News source: Age Of Empire III - Interview and Awesome Pics