I’ve always though that Rise Of Nations never got its due. Developed by Big Huge Games, it was a real-time strategy game which looked like Age of Empires but took inspiration from Civilization. Mainly that inspiration was that you could advance your civilizations across eight ages of history during a match, meaning that you could begin with Hoplite and end with stealth bombers just an hour later. If you missed it, or if you miss it, then there’s now a Rise of Nations: Extended Editions available on Steam.
There’s a trailer showing, you know, the actual game through on its Steam store page, but I can’t embed that here.)
RoN: EE is put together by Skybox Labs, the same team who made the Age of Mythology: Extended Edition earlier this year. The idea is the same too: take an old, crumbling RTS and fix it up with some new paint and modern fittings. This time the Extended Edition includes both the base game and its expansion Thrones and Patriots, and introduces higher resolution textures, anti-aliasing, Steamworks integration to allow easy ranked multiplayer matches, and Twitch integration so you can easily stream or watch those matches.
One of the advantages of being a PC gamer is the huge back catalogue of games we have to choose from, but many of those games fall into a state of disrepair. Whether that’s because our expectations and operating systems have changed so dramatically, because old multiplayer services have shut down, because the original developers have closed or a mixture of all of the above, we sometimes need active effort to stop beloved, classic or underrated games simply disappearing. I’m glad that people are making an effort – and that it’s commercially viable for them to do so – to bring back games like RoN or (the old, good) Duke Nukems. Alec liked the Age of Mythology Extended Edition too.
Let’s hope there’s more of the same to come. For now, why not read Kieron’s Making Of Rise Of Nations, from back when RPS was still a bunch of Hoplites itself.