Microsoft is remastering the original Age of Empires with a Definitive Edition that will offer upgraded 4K graphics and improved gameplay, the company announced during the PC Gaming Show at E3 2017.
“We have redone every single asset,” said Adam Isgreen, creative director at Microsoft Studios. Age of Empires debuted in October 1997, meaning that the franchise is turning 20 this year.
Microsoft is updating the game for 2017 with a modernized interface and gameplay refinements. In addition, said Isgreen, “We’ve re-orchestrated and re-recorded the entire soundtrack to the game” with a symphony. Multiplayer will be available via Xbox Live. Microsoft previously remastered 1999’s Age of Empires 2 — that upgrade, Age of Empires 2 HD, was released in 2013 on Steam. Forgotten Empires, the studio that developed Age of Empires 2 HD’s expansions, is also making the Definitive Edition of Age of Empires.
Age of Empires: Definitive Edition is coming to Windows PC later this year. Interested parties can sign up for a multiplayer beta today, once the series’ website goes live. Isgreen also teased additional Age of Empires-related announcements for Gamescom in August, saying that “you’re going to hear from us again” about more ways in which Microsoft will mark the series’ 20th anniversary.
Update: Age of Empires: Definitive Edition will include all the civilizations from the original game and from its Rise of Rome expansion, which was released in 1998. The game will also offer “the good old campaigns with proper spit and polish,” as well as a Classic Mode for “the original 1997 experience,” according to Forgotten Empires.
Update 2: The Age of Empires website is now live.
Correction: Forgotten Empires developed expansions for Age of Empires 2 HD, but Hidden Path Entertainment handled the remaster itself. We’ve edited the article to reflect this.