Age of Empires 4: Watch preview livestream with gameplay here

Age of Empires 4: Watch preview livestream with gameplay here

Age of Empires 4

On April 10, 2021 you can watch a live stream about Age of Empires 4. But in which channels and online platforms can you actually follow the event? We provide you with the most important information at this point.

Recommended editorial content At this point you will find external content from [PLATTFORM]. To protect your personal data, external integrations are only displayed if you confirm this by clicking on "Load all external content": Load all external content I consent to external content being displayed to me. This means that personal data is transmitted to third-party platforms. Read more about our privacy policy . External content More on this in our data protection declaration. The starting shot for the big "Fan Preview Event" will be given at 6:00 pm German time. There are several channels available to you on which you can follow the event. Here is the overview:

official website Facebook Live Twitch YouTube

This is what you can expect from the livestream

One of the big highlights at this event is clearly the presentation of Age of Empires 4 (buy now). The developers have already promised to show significantly more gameplay material from the strategy game than was previously the case. There will also be new details about the campaigns, civilizations and other aspects of the game. It will be the first major live preview since showcase event X019. Maybe there will finally be a specific release date.

But that is not the only title of the brand that will be the topic of the event. Microsoft announced that Age of Empires 2: Definitive Edition and Age of Empires 3: Definitive Edition fans can also expect some interesting news. This could be the announcement of further updates or additional content. Tomorrow evening at the latest we should be a little smarter in this regard.

Source: official website

Excited for Age of Empires 4? Here's everything you need to know.

a large green field with trees in the background © Provided by Windows Central

Age of Empires 4 is in the works, and real-time strategy fans can't wait to see everything the game entails when it finally launches. Until then, we've put together a bunch of important details that give us an idea of what to expect from the game.

Microsoft's return to beloved PC gaming titles includes Age of Empires 4, a revival of one of the best real-time strategy (RTS) series ever produced. While the first three Age of Empires games have been remade and re-released as Definitive Editions, Age of Empires 4 promises a new look at the RTS formula while still holding true to its roots. Here's everything you need to know.

Jump to:
  • What's new?
  • What is it?
  • Development
  • Gameplay
  • Campaign
  • Soundtrack
  • Modding
  • PC specs
  • Microtransactions
  • Release date
  • Bundle UpAge of Empires Definitive Collectiona group of people wearing costumes © Provided by Windows Central

    Three of the best RTS games in one place

    Want to enjoy all three remastered Age of Empires games? Grab the Definitive Collection bundle and save some dough instead of buying them all separately.

    $45 at Microsoft

    $45 at Steam

    What's new with Age of Empires 4?

    An Age of Empires fan preview event is set for April 10 at 9:00 a.m. PT. We're expecting to see a lot of new info about the upcoming Age of Empires 4, including civilizations, campaigns, and actual gameplay. There should also be some news about Age of Empires 2: Definitive Edition and Age of Empires 3: Definitive Edition.

    The Fan Preview teaser trailer posted above has a bit of new Age 4 gameplay mixed in with the stuff we've already seen. In any case, fans of the series should definitely set aside some time to see what's coming.

    What is Age of Empires 4?

    If you ask just about any long-time RTS fan what games rank at the top of the list, the Age of Empires series is likely what comes to mind. The first entry, released in 1997, focused on human history from the Stone Age to the Iron Age, while the second entry focused more heavily on the Middle Ages. Age of Empires 3, released nearly 15 years ago, moved ahead in time to the colonization of the Americas.

    Playing the games involves micro- and macro-management of workers and military units belonging to historic civilizations. You must grow a small starting population, collect resources, advance through the ages, and defend against invaders while also planning your attacks. You can enjoy lengthy campaigns, skirmishes against AI, or multiplayer battles while alone or teamed up with friends. The games are relatively easy to pick up, but the best players employ in-depth strategies to get a slight edge on the competition.

    Age of Empires 4 is a revival of the series that hopes to capture the old magic while offering something new to veterans and newcomers alike. It appears to be a return to medieval times instead of another step forward in human history. Until its release, many RTS fans are returning to Age of Empires thanks to celebrated Definitive Edition remasters that bring updated graphics, reworked mechanics, and overhauled campaigns.

    Be sure to check out our Age of Empires: Definitive Edition review, our Age of Empires 2: Definitive Edition review, and our Age of Empires 3: Definitive Edition review for some extra hype as we await Age of Empires 4.

    Who is developing Age of Empires 4?a canyon with a mountain in the background © Provided by Windows Central

    The first three Age of Empires games (as well as other titles, like Halo Wars) were developed by Ensemble Studios, a team based in Dallas, Texas. After Ensemble was closed down in 2009 following the release of Age of Empires 3, it didn't look good for a fourth title. The Age of Empires series was left to the community, which did its best to keep the games enjoyable and populated.

    Thankfully, an internal development studio at Microsoft called 'World's Edge' — lead by Shannon Loftis — has been overseeing new Age content, including remasters of the first three games with help from third-party developers like Tantalus, Wicked Witch, and Forgotten Empires. In an interview with Windows Central's Matt Brown, Loftis clarified that Age of Empires no longer belongs to one studio:

    Age isn't ours anymore. We're stewards, it belongs to the community, and it belongs to the globe,' said Loftis. 'There's no world in which a Redmond-centric game development studio is going to get the right global set of voices in. [...] We have contracts; you know about three of our partners, Relic, Tantalus, and Forgotten Empires. We have others that we're not talking about yet. But it is genuinely a global development team. All the teams work together to share assets, share ideas, and the legacy teams are working with Relic.

    Age of Empires 4 has been in development alongside the Definitive Edition remasters, with Relic Entertainment taking the lead on the latest entry in the series. According to World's Edge Creative Director Adam Isgreen, this has helped with efforts to keep Age of Empires 4 feeling true to its roots while also standing out:

    [W]e've learned so much with all of the launches. It's been a real growing experience, but it's unfair to say that it's one way. We've learned things in the development of Age of Empires IV that we can even put into Age II. For example, the network technology behind the scenes is actually from Relic. All of the Definitive Edition games are now going to have Relic's modern networking backend. [...] It's this great two-way conversation between the old games and the new one, about what we're going to share and how we're going to grow the games.

    What is gameplay like in Age of Empires 4?

    We were finally treated to an Age of Empires 4 gameplay reveal trailer at X019. While it includes Pre-Alpha gameplay, there are a lot of small details to take in, primarily because of comments made by Isgreen:

    Everything in that trailer is real; everything we show will be in the final game. We have wall combat working. That falcon is real, that's gameplay; it's a scout unit. But all that's real, genuine gameplay, and nothing we will show won't be in the game. [...] That is why we waited so long, and what we'll continue doing with Age going forward.

    The trailer involves an English city besieged by Mongols. We're first shown quite a bit of the city, which includes some familiar buildings and units. We see villagers hurrying to work or carrying resources, mills surrounded by farms, pikemen marching in formation, and castles on a hill. We also see some new features, like walls and towers that allow troops to walk along with them and fire on enemies (unlike other Age of Empires games), distinct roads, bridges, fountains, and quite a bit of dressing up with greenery and idle pieces. This is no doubt a set piece with much time put into the layout, and it's unclear whether roads and other improvements to the city will play a role, say, in population happiness.

    Moving on to the countryside, a falcon flies high, revealing the invading Mongols. We know it will work as a scout, an integral part of all Age of Empires games that feature a fog-of-war mechanic to keep enemies hidden. We can see cavalry, infantry, and siege on the field of battle, and there are some interesting tidbits to note. Infantry is seemingly rallied by a lone figure, suggesting some sort of leader or captain system. Archers seem to set up temporary defensive structures, and elevation will undoubtedly play a significant role in combat mechanics.

    a group of people on a mountain © Provided by Windows Central

    Siege engines like trebuchets don't appear to be manned, which is a holdover from previous Age games. Buildings that take enough damage will crumble to the ground, offering up a pleasing reward for your attacks. The unit scale also seems significantly more realistic compared to the older games.

    Graphics, unit movement, and upgrades

    Graphics are a bit of a departure, and at first, they seemed a bit cartoonish. However, if you consider how much saturation is usually applied to Age of Empires' pre-release content, this should prove to be a beautiful game, and saturation level will likely be an in-game setting. It seems like it will be a good balance between visibility and realism, and there's plenty of detail for buildings and units alike. Just like in some previous Age games, there will be plenty of destruction to be wrought at the hands of your units.

    Pathfinding, an RTS game's chief concern, has been overhauled. Instead of the traditional move from point A to point B in the shortest way possible, Age of Empires 4 should introduce a far more realistic movement. Adam Isgreen explains:

    [I]f [you] know real-time strategy games, behind the scenes, it's been run by a find path solution called A* for a billion years, pretty much since its invention, with a few exceptions here and there. One of our big changes is moving to a more organic, more modern solution for find-path, which is called flow-field.

    Isgreen also mentions how passive upgrades will be visually represented in-game. All armor or weapon upgrades will be visual, easing accessibility. And instead of having the repeated chatter each time you click a unit — which is endearing but can get annoying — there will be much more natural dialogue between units based on the surrounding circumstances.

    Resources, ages, and populationa screen shot of a computer © Provided by Windows Central

    In an official Behind the Scenes teaser video, we caught a glimpse of some gameplay at the hands of Quinn Duffy, Age of Empires 4 Game Director at Relic. Age fans will recognize in the bottom-left corner of Duffy's monitor the four primary resources — food, wood, gold, and stone — as well as what appears to be a population cap counter and unit commands. You'll still need to gather resources with villagers, advance through four ages to gain access to more powerful units and upgrades, and ultimately trounce your foes in any way possible.

    In an interview with German magazine GameStar, it's revealed that there's still no definite population cap, though there will be a familiar eight-player limit for multiplayer matches. There will still be four ages to progress through, though each civilization will not treat them the same way. It's also mentioned by Adam Isgreen in an interview with PCGamesN that there will be fewer than 13 civilizations, the number that shipped with the original version of Age of Empires 2.

    The faithful minimap also makes a return in the bottom-right corner, and there are some unit grouping icons along the left side of the monitor. Overall the UI seems reasonably straightforward, though this could all change during development.

    Does Age of Empires 4 have a campaign?a vase of flowers on a tree © Provided by Windows Central

    Yes, Age of Empires 4 will feature a campaign with a focus on improved historical accuracy. Whereas a lot of civilization meta in previous Age games played somewhat similarly, there's now a more significant emphasis on separating cultures. This is helped along by a new method of ensuring historical accuracy. Adam Isgreen explains:

    [W]e went to Mongolia, learned about Mongols. We didn't go to a professor here in London or someone back in the States. We went to the source to learn how those cultures operated because respecting them and doing them justice is so important.

    We don't know the scope of the campaign in Age of Empires 4 yet, but if it lives up to the previous games' precedent, we should be in for a treat.

    Who is composing the Age of Empires 4 soundtrack?

    Music in the Age of Empires games has traditionally been epic, and many long-time fans of the series can hum the different tracks without any thought. Age of Empires looks to continue this tradition, bringing on composer Mikolai Stroinski to handle the music. If that name sounds familiar, it's because Stroinski composed the music for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.

    What about community modding?

    Mods are a huge part of the Age of Empires world, and many people still play modded versions of the old games instead of moving to the new Definitive Editions. Speaking with PCGamesN, Adam Isgreen agrees:

    I will tell you that one of the pillars of all of the Age of Empires games is mods and allowing people access to tools that allow them to build great content. We all believe that's one of the reasons Age has lasted as long as it has – because the community has been able to support the game. We have no intention of stopping now with Age IV. It is an integral, huge part of Age IV and is showcased more heavily in some ways than any previous Age game.

    Will you need a powerful PC to run Age of Empires 4?

    There are not yet definitive specs for PC requirements, but Age of Empires 4 is being developed with inclusivity in mind. A new engine that doesn't rely heavily on a single processor core will immediately make an enormous difference. Even those with beefy PC hardware can sometimes see Age of Empires 2: Definitive Edition chug along because of the old engine. The ultimate goal is to create a game that can be played the same on a relatively low-end laptop or a high-end gaming rig. If you're interested in upgrading, be sure to have a look at our collection of the best graphics cards for some great options.

    Will Age of Empires IV include microtransactions?

    No, Age of Empires 4 will not include microtransactions. In an interview with PCGamesN, Adam Isgreen explained that expansions and DLC 'will be explored' while microtransactions are left off the table.

    When is the Age of Empires 4 release date?

    There's no set date for an Age of Empires IV release. Some rumors from Twitter users were circulating involving a codename 'Indus,' which is currently targeting a Q1 2022 launch. We haven't confirmed 'Indus' is indeed Age of Empire 4, as Microsoft also has several other titles targeting 2022, including Avowed, Senua's Sage: Hellblade II, and State of Decay 3.

    World's Edge lead Shannon Loftis, in an 'Age of Empires 2020 in review' article posted on the official Age website late December, had this to say about the game's development:

    We are making great progress on Age of Empires IV. I don't want to make you jealous, but we are literally playing this game every day—both in Washington and Vancouver.

    RTS development is funny: it takes a while to build the separate systems (AI, economy, sim, rendering, etc.), and then it takes a while for them to come together. But when they do, you suddenly have a game—a game that needs debugging and balance and polish— but the core of the game that you know you're going to ship. And the best part is that it feels like an Age of Empires game.

    Our partners at Relic have been incredible stalwarts as we all migrated development from office to home and modified (through trial and error) our processes to help facilitate productivity to keep the game on track. So much passion, such great developers, artists, designers, narrators, audio experts, and community—not to mention the backbone functions that keep the company going.

    If the game is in a playable state at the end of 2020 and just needs bug-fixing, balancing, and polishing, this could point more to a 2021 release. We will keep you updated with any solid information about the release date, as we're all eagerly awaiting the new title.

    Bundle UpAge of Empires Definitive Collectiona group of people wearing costumes © Provided by Windows Central

    Three of the best RTS games in one place

    Want to enjoy all three remastered Age of Empires games? Grab the Definitive Collection bundle and save some dough instead of buying them all separately.

    $45 at Microsoft

    $45 at Steam