In a surprise announcement during the Age of Empires 25th Anniversary stream, Microsoft revealed that its hugely popular real-time strategy franchise on PC is coming to its Xbox consoles. The Definitive Edition of the classic Age of Empires II and the most modern entry, Age of Empires IV, are what's getting the console treatment. Watch the trailer above.
Considering the complexity of the games' control mechanisms on PC that would need to be translated to a controller, the project definitely sounds like a challenging task. Microsoft's World’s Edge team is working on implementing a control scheme for gamepads that feels natural and easy to use, while also adding special tutorials to ease new players in.
A new AI system was also mentioned, which would make resource management an easier task on consoles. As for those who want to use a keyboard and mouse on console to play the real-time strategy game, it will be fully supported too, with optional cross play also available between Xbox consoles and PC.
"Age of Empires has grown and thrived over 25 years because of players all over the world who’ve conquered campaigns, succeeded in skirmish and mastered multiplayer," added World's Edge. "We keep our players at the heart of what we do and pay close attention to what they tell us. So, after hearing requests for Age of Empires to make its Xbox console debut, we heard you and we agreed!"
Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition is incoming to Xbox Series X|S consoles on January 31, 2023, bringing 34 campaigns, 42 multiplayer factions, 83 maps, and other benefits it has received since the remastered launch in 2019.
More information on Relic Entertainment's Age of Empires IV launch on Xbox consoles will be coming later, but it is planned to arrive sometime in 2023. The console versions of both games will be offered for purchase via the Microsoft Store, as part of Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Cloud Gaming.
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