Age of Empires: Definitive Edition delayed into 2018

Happy birthday, Age of Empires! The historical real-time strategy series turned 20 on Sunday, and the party was supposed to keep on rolling through to Thursday and the launch of launch of Age of Empires: Definitive Edition [official site]. Alas, the revamped and prettied-up release of the first game has been delayed at short notice. It’s now expected in “early 2018”. Sounds like one hold-up is a change of heart over quite how much to change. Remember, AoE: it’s your party and you can cry if you want to.

The Def Ed team explained in Friday’s announcement:

“The challenge of re-releasing a classic is just that: it’s a classic and it deserves to be treated with careful reverence. At the same time, in a living, thriving genre, norms continually evolve, technology advances, and player expectations change. This is as true for RTS as for any other genre. So, the challenge is to recreate the experience not as it *actually* was but as we all remember it. How can we modernize the game while preserving the fun, discovery and magic of that first experience?

“To that end, rather than a final release of Age of Empires: Definitive Edition on October 19, we will instead be inviting thousands more players from the community into our closed beta between now and launch to allow for more in-depth testing across single player campaign, multiplayer balance, fine-tuning the lobby, etc.”

I was there in the ’90s when Tony Robinson and Hugh Scully invented history and remember the nationwide giddiness at discovering some things were actually quite old. Time Team unearthed a trove of jazz mags suggesting England might date back as far as 1973, and Antiques Roadshow queues stretched around not just the block but entire cities as confused and terrified people demanded to know whether anything they owned — or anyone they knew! — was old. There was panic on the streets of London, panic on the streets of Birmingham. To see this newfangled ‘history’ represented in a video game was thrilling!

But times have changed, history has become humdrum, and we can see from The History Channel that people want something new. A suggestion for Def Ed devs Forgotten Empires: add UFOs, Agarthans, Bigfoot, and pawn shops as playable factions. Let’s get this history up to date.

Age of Empires Def Ed is now due some time in early 2018. For a truly modern take on history, which I’m sure will have all the cryptids and hot rod rebuilds we expect of history now, Age of Empires 4 is being made by Relic Entertainment, the studio behind Dawn of War and Company of Heroes.

11 Comments

  1. Premium User Badge

    Grizzly says:

    The screenshots do look unbelievably pretty, but I fear that the 20 euros I can currently pre order the game for is a bit too much considering that it’s remade sequel regularly goes on sale for 5.

  2. FurryLippedSquid says:

    That screenshot has given me a hankering to play some Rise of Nations. Sorry Relic but if you want more people to sign up to your beta you should put it somewhere where they don’t need to create an Xbox Live account. Bleurgh.

  3. His Dudeness says:

    I like how you, Alice, make this reductions of long names. Plunkbat, Def Ed, etc. It’s funny for me, as a foreign barbarian.

  4. prostetnik says:

    Question: Does “The historical real-time strategy series” refer to the depiction of history in those games or to the fact that the series itself can be considered a part of history by now?
    Or both?

    • poliovaccine says:

      I’m gonna go ahead and answer that half-seriously, actually, cus I see a semantic limb to go out on and I’m curious if it holds enough weight to support this: I think “historical” RTS sounds more like it refers to the content, whereas “historic” RTS would sound more like it was referring to the game’s own legacy. Whether that’s actually a part of the strict definitions or not I don’t know, I don’t remember my suffixes and such right now, but in terms of everyday use that’s how it “feels” to me. I’d be interested to know if there’s anything to that.

      And yeahhh, I do realize you were joking, but it occurred to me there might actually be an answer there anyway, haha. Besides, I like looking way too far into little semantic quibbles. I’m a riot at parties btw.

      • Landiss says:

        Out of curiosity (and as not a native speaker) I checked dictionary.com and it at first seem to agree with you, however it also notes that 6th definition of historical is “historic (def 1)” and 2nd definition of historic is “historical (def 1-5)”, which I find hilarious :D.

  5. fish99 says:

    Based on AoE2 HD the best thing they could do with their time is add more animation frames, assuming they have the original meshes (and assuming it wasn’t hand-drawn).

  6. Phantom_Renegade says:

    How much are they actually doing on the game? I understand these are different people from the “HD” versions of AOEII and AOM, but that doesn’t mean they’re any more capable.

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