Age of Empires is coming back... as a social gaming experience. Following the booting of original developer Ensemble Studios, Microsoft has announced a "new era" for the popular strategy series, by letting players participate in a persistent online world.
The funny thing is that Age of Empires Online
is being developed by Robot Entertainment - a studio founded by Ensemble co-founder Tony Goodman
. So it seems the whole thing has come full circle, making the closure of the original AoE
developer seem entirely unnecessary.
Ensemble's last project before its closure was Halo Wars
, but it was revealed that the studio was also working on a Halo MMO
to compete with World of Warcraft
For what it's worth, Age of Empires Online
sports an entirely different visual style to the traditional realistic nature of the original series - blocky, cartoony Greek characters adorn the Beta signup page
, joining the social gaming aesthetic of Farmville
and many others.
Saddening stuff, for sure, but perhaps the bullet points contained in this press release may quell your fears. You start your journey of conquest by establishing a Greek civilisation, and turning it from a village into an empire. Quests can be enjoyed alone or with friends, and there are "epic tales, quirky characters, adventure, history and strategy" to discover too. You can also connect to Games for Windows Live and enjoy online multiplayer action that way.
No word on when the game will be out of Beta, but if you ever get curious head straight to the official website
and check it out.