Age of Empires IV is around the corner. Now, what do we want in it?

Microsoft has finally heard the pleads of Age of Empires fans all around the globe and we have confirmation of a new release in the beloved saga. The only confirmation we have so far is that Relic Entertainment will be working on it (Ensemble Studios is long gone) and a trailer, which appears to appeal to the spirit of previous AoE releases. However, no details are out yet on the setting and civilizations of the game, nor any other details about the gameplay.

As I said in a previous post from years ago, an art book included in early versions of Age of Empires III complete collections appears to indicate an evolution in the timeframe of the game, hinting at a World War II setting for AoE IV. This would definitely be a risky bet by Microsoft since fans are in love with the more ancient setting and there are plenty of RTS games set in WWII. The mechanics of the game would also have to change drastically in order to keep it realistic since airplanes and submarines would likely have to be introduced.

On the other hand, Age of Empires II, a classic played by millions, continues to be played in Steam in its HD version and in platforms like Voobly and Gameranger still in its original version, where it is even one of the most played games. The Metacritics scores for the Age of Empires franchise are clear: Age of Empires II is so far the most succesfull game in the franchise:

What do you think? If you are reading this post, you are most certainly a good fan. Which Age of Empires managed to capture you the most?

Although Age of Empires III does not boast the same user scores and appreciation, it also continues to be played today, something impressive for a 12 year old game. The community is however greatly reduced from its greatest days, and continues to decline every day. Recent mods like "Wars of Liberty" have managed to re-capture some old fans, with the addition of new civilization, maps and even new gameplay elements.

The question for us fans is now, why did Age of Empires III do worse, and what can be done better in the upcoming AoE IV? Was AoE II considered better only for being revolutionary for its time, or would a game with the same idea triumph today? When are you expecting the release and what setting do you want for the game?

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