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Microsoft announced that Age of Empires IV will ship October 28 on the PC, and it will be available day one on Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass subscription service.

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Microsoft made the announcement at its Xbox event at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). You can preorder it today. It’s my birthday, so it will be easy for me to remember that date.

Microsoft recently gave fans a deep dive into Age of Empires IV, and from that demo and today’s trailer, the game looks beautiful. It looks like it could give real-time strategy games on the PC a much-needed shot in the arm.

Sega’s Relic Entertainment division has been making the game since 2017, and Microsoft finally announced it will be arriving on the PC on Windows 10, Xbox Game Pass for PC, and Steam during the fall of 2021.

RTS games are best played with a mouse-and-keyboard combo, and they’re far harder to play with a game controller. That has meant that the games can’t reach as many fans and they haven’t been as popular, even though they’re hard to develop. We’ve seen big lapses in Blizzard Entertainment’s RTS efforts in brand-new installments in franchises such as StarCraft and Warcraft.


Above: Age of Empires IV will feature the Delphi Sultanate.

But this new game takes advantage of the last 15 years of graphics improvements that allow for much more detail to be used in the individual characters and buildings that make up the scenes in 4K HDR battlefields.

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Above: Age of Empires IV takes advantage of 4K graphics.

Players will be able to stage ambushes with stealth, which allows players to hide their units from the enemy unless scouts spot them first. Soldiers can also fend off attackers by shooting down from castle walls while attackers can use siege weapons.

Microsoft also said the classic titles — Definitive Edition of Age of Empires II and III — will be updated. Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition will get a Dawn of Dukes expansion and co-op play this year. Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition will add the U.S. and an African expansion.

I’m looking forward to have real choices for RTS games in the future, and Age of Empires IV looks like it could consume an awful lot of my time.


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