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Age Of Empires II: Definitive Edition is getting controller, crossplay and cloud support

Arriving in 2023 when it launches on Xbox consoles

Today marks the 25th anniversary of strategy classic Age Of Empires, and to celebrate Xbox Game Studios have announced a ream of updates coming to Age Of Empires II: Definitive Edition next year. Technically, the main bit of news from tonight's anniversary stream is that both Age Of Empires II: DE and Age Of Empires IV will be arriving on Xbox consoles in 2023 (that, and Age Of Mythology is coming back), but the upshot of all that is that the PC versions will be getting the very same benefits, including controller support, crossplay with consoles and cloud gaming support.

Age Of Empires II: Definitive Edition will be arriving on Xbox consoles on January 31st 2023, with Age Of Empires IV following "later" that year. While I'm sure many PC AOE-ers will continue to use a mouse and keyboard to play these real-time strategy games, it's always nice to see more input options become available. It also sounds like Xbox have put a decent amount of thought into making them a viable option, too.

"We knew that bringing the complexity of RTS to Xbox consoles was a massive task and one we had to approach carefully and thoughtfully," director of customer voice at World's Edge Emma Bridle wrote on the Xbox News Wire.

"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. A new tutorial designed specifically for controller input paired with a new user experience for console will help players get started. We’ve also added a new game AI which helps make resource management in a strategy game efficient and intuitive."

As mentioned above, Age Of Empires II: Definitive Edition will also be getting optional crossplay support between all platforms when the console edition arrives, allowing PC peeps to play with Xbox-ers. Plus, if you're an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscriber and fancy squeezing in some more AOE on your phone or laptop via your web browser, then it will also be able to play through Xbox Cloud Gaming, too.

These new additions have all been highly-requested features from players themselves, according to Bridle, who she called "the beating heart of the franchise" in our new 25th anniversary interview with the World's Edge development team. Nic Reuben spoke to both Bridle and creative director Adam Isgreen about how the series has evolved over the last quarter century, and it's chock full of fascinating insights.

Age Of Empires II: Definitive Edition is available now on PC over on Steam and Game Pass, as is Age Of Empires IV, which you can find here on Steam and here on Game Pass.

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Katharine Castle

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Katharine is RPS' editor-in-chief, which means she's now to blame for all this. After joining the team in 2017, she spent a lot of time in the RPS hardware mines, testing all the bits that go inside our PCs, but now she gets to write about all the lovely games we play on them, too. She'll play pretty much anything she can get her hands on, and is very partial to JRPGs and the fetching of quests.

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