Friday, September 22, 2023

Age of Empires IV coming to Xbox Game Pass in 2023

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Microsoft announced at a celebration of the 25th anniversary of Age of Empires that the latest game, Age of Empires IV, is coming to consoles next year. It will launch on Xbox Game Pass on day one, and it will be playable via Xbox Cloud Gaming for those who prefer to play on portable devices. The game launched for PC in late 2021 and has been available to PC Game Pass subscribers since then, but this is a great opportunity for console gamers to try it out.

In case you missed the PC release or just patiently waited for news about this port, my colleague Mitchell Clark has some nice coverage from last year about the impressive lengths that Microsoft and World’s Edge (the studio focused on Age of Empires) went on to provide deeper historical context to the game’s battles. It included documentary footage of reenactments that you can watch on each mission.

According to Microsoft’s blogsome welcome features are coming to the console port, including a tutorial to help gamers get used to the new controller layout, optional cross-play multiplayer between PC and Xbox gamers, and full keyboard and mouse support.

It’s quite a problem when real-time strategy games (RTS) come to consoles because they don’t fit naturally and there are plenty of challenges to gracefully making the jump from PC to console. They need to work on their interfaces, performance and control schemes to give console gamers the same commands they would get on a keyboard.

Gamers have asked for Age of Empires to come to the console for years to come, so it’s great that it’s finally happening (and there’s no extra cost to Game Pass subscribers). And if you need another RTS to chew on before it launches, Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition comes first to consoles on January 31, 2023.

Updated at 2:03 PM ET, October 25: Added more details from Microsoft’s blog about what special features are coming with Age of Empires IV.

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