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Age of Empires is coming for your Xbox

The classic RTS launches on Xbox Game Pass on Jan. 31

A bird’s eye view of a city being built in Age of Empires 2: Definitive Edition. Image: Forgotten Empires/Tantalus Media/Wicked Witch/Xbox Game Studios
Ana Diaz (she/her) is a culture writer at Polygon, covering internet culture, fandom, and video games. Her work has previously appeared at NPR, Wired, and The Verge.

The classic real-time strategy franchise Age of Empires, published by Microsoft since its debut 25 years ago, will come to Xbox for the first time at the end of January. Age of Empires 2: Definitive Edition, a 2019 remaster of the 1999 game, will launch Jan. 31 via Xbox Game Pass, and the more contemporary Age of Empires 4 will get a console release “later in the year,” Microsoft said on Tuesday.

The announcement didn’t specify which Xbox consoles would get the new versions, beyond saying both games will be available via the Microsoft Store, Xbox Game Pass, and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. The console versions will still support keyboard and mouse inputs, and also be playable with a controller.

Age of Empires 4 — and all its trebuchetslaunched Oct. 28, 2021, and on PC Game Pass the same day.

“We knew that bringing the complexity of RTS to Xbox consoles was a massive task and one we had to approach carefully and thoughtfully,” co-developer World’s Edge said in Tuesday’s statement. “The team has been working hard to bring an experience that not only feels great using a controller, but also teaches players how to play on Xbox.”

Age of Empire’s controller inputs can be a bit tricky since the game involves lots of clicking around on various units and scrolling around the map. The Xbox versions will feature a tutorial that will show new users how to play the game, as well as the controller-specific inputs. The developers also added a game AI to help make resource management “efficient and intuitive.”

Age of Empires 2 and Age of Empires 4 will support cross-platform play, allowing console users to play alongside Windows PC veterans. So we’ll see later how it the Xbox versions measure up against mouse-and-keyboard rivals.

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