After a bit of an inconvenient delay, Microsoft has announced that Age of Empires: Definitive Edition will, at last, be striding into battle on February 20th. This revamped version of the real-time strategy classic adds full 4K assets and resolution support, online play through Xbox Live, a re-recorded soundtrack, new campaign narration and an enhanced campaign and scenario editor.
“When we set out to create the Definitive Edition of the original Age of Empires, our goal was to deliver the best possible version of this classic, from a top-notch audio-visual presentation to multiplayer to core game systems,” says Adam Isgreen, creative director at Microsoft. “Everything needed to be as good as you remembered it (or better!) to deliver a compelling RTS experience 20 years after its original release.
“…and that took us a bit longer than we’d originally planned. But, it was important for the team to treat the Age of Empires franchise with the respect it deserves, so we took the time we needed to get features like attack-move and the improved minimap exactly right, and even added things like an in-game tech tree (how did we survive 1997 without that?) that we hope fans will love.”
Even the most ardent Age of Empires fan would struggle to argue against the first in the series being the weakest of the bunch, but this raft of quality-of-life additions and gameplay tweaks could hopefully elevate it after all these years. From the sounds of things, Age of Empires: Definitive Edition is going to be Windows Store exclusive though, so you have been warned on that front. On the bright side, LAN support is included, which is pretty much the definitive way to play some Age of Empires multiplayer.
Should you want a little taster ahead of Age of Empires: Definitive Edition’s February 20th launch, Microsoft will be running a multiplayer beta worldwide from January 29th. You can sign up for that over on the official AoE site.