Since Age of Empires 4 was announced all the way back in 2017, it seems fair to say that news on the game’s progress has been pretty sporadic. It’s possible that could start to change in 2021, though, after a promising end-of-year update from World’s Edge studio head, Shannon Loftis, on the game’s progress.
In a blog post on the official Age of Empires site, Loftis revealed that the development team at Relic is making “great progress” on the game, adding that “we are literally playing this game every single day—both in Washington and in Vancouver.”
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Loftis went on to explain that “RTS development is funny: it takes a while to build the separate systems (AI, economy, sim, rendering, etc), and then it takes a while for them to come together.” Now that things have come together to make a fully playable game, which Loftis says “feels like an Age of Empires game”, there’s still “debugging and balance and polish” to be done before anything can be released.
Prior to this glimmer of hope, the last we really saw from Age of Empires 4 was in November 2019 when Microsoft revealed a gameplay trailer as part of XO19, which you can watch below.
Keeping on track
In the blog post, Loftis also mentioned the change to working from home that was necessitated by the pandemic, which has caused problems for studios all over the world. It seems, though, that the Age of Empires 4 team has managed to stay on track.
According to Loftis, the Age of Empires team has “modified (through trial and error) our processes to help facilitate productivity to keep the game on track. So much passion, such great developers, artists, designers, narrators, audio experts, and community—not to mention the backbone functions that keep the company going.”
While we still don’t have a release window for Age of Empires 4, it's good to know that the game is coming along well. We can only hope that 2021 will bring more frequent updates and perhaps that firm release date we’re all hoping for.
If you’re hungry for more Age of Empires experiences, it’s worth remembering that Age of Empires 3: Definitive Edition was released in 2020 while a brand new DLC for Age of Empires 2: Definitive Edition is coming to Xbox Game Pass for PC, Microsoft Store, and Steam later this month.