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Ships sail toward a castle in Age of Empires 4

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Age of Empires 4 will have 4 new campaigns and 8 playable civilizations at launch

Relic Entertainment shows off the Norman Conquest campaign

Image: Relic Entertainment/Xbox Game Studios

It’s been over 15 years since the last numbered Age of Empires game, but we finally know a few more details about the series’ impending return. During a fan event livestream on Saturday, developer Relic Entertainment revealed a few new things about its upcoming sequel, Age of Empires 4, including a look at one of the game’s campaigns and its new and updated civilizations.

Campaigns that place players in the middle of historical events have always been a standout focus of the Age of Empires series, and Relic is taking that idea even further in Age of Empires 4. The game will feature four full-length campaigns, including one focused on the Norman Conquest, which Relic previewed during the stream.

An English city in Age of Empires 4 Image: Relic Entertainment/Xbox Game Studios

The Norman campaign follows the fight between Harold Godwinson, king of the Anglo-Saxons, and William the Conqueror, who has been promised Harold’s crown. The campaign features many massive battles throughout the conflict’s history, including the Battle of Hastings in 1066, and will stretch over several years, showing the fallout of William’s victory both in England and France. The campaign will also bring players to a variety of different battlefields and environments, including bright French fields and sprawling English castles.

During the presentation, Relic also detailed some of the game’s playable civilizations, including one of the new ones, the Delhi Sultanate from India. It has a few standout features, but the biggest highlight is its massive war elephants.

A Delhi Sultanate army in Age of Empires 4 with war elephants Image: Relic Entertainment/Xbox Game Studios

According to Relic, one of the primary goals of creating playable civilizations in Age of Empires 4 was to make them as different as possible. This meant adding more complex and nuanced gameplay mechanics to each of the civilizations to make them feel unique.

One of the standout examples of these special mechanics was from the Mongols, who can now pack up entire cities and move them somewhere new. This fits the Mongols’ real-world nomadic lifestyle — continuing the Age of Empires series’ focus on historical accuracy. But it also gives the civilization an entirely new and unique gameplay option. A Mongol player might create a small city just outside of their enemies base and use it to create troops in the blink of an eye, then simply move the city when things get dangerous.

A mobile Mongol camp in Age of Empires 4 Image: Relic Entertainment/Xbox Game Studios

During a developer Q&A with press, held a few weeks before Saturday’s livestream, Relic revealed that Age of Empires 4 will feature eight playable civilizations at launch, just like Age of Empires 3. Relic said this will help the team focus on how to make each civilization special, and will make the entire game much easier to balance. So far, Relic has announced that the Chinese, English, Delhi Sultanate, and Mongols are all in the game, with more civilization announcements coming soon. The developer also said that it will add more civilizations after launch.

Age of Empires 4 is scheduled to be released on Windows PC sometime in 2021. The game will launch on Xbox Game Pass PC and Ultimate.

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