After the massive success that was Age of Empires: Definitive Edition, it's no surprise that developer Forgotten Empires has chosen to celebrate the series' 20th anniversary by releasing a remastered version of Age of Empires II.
What we didn't expect, however, was just how much content we'd get: The Definitive Edition includes the base game and every Age of Empires expansion to date for $19.99 – that's over 20 years of content. That means you get 35 civilizations in total, equating to over 200 hours of content.
All that content is on top of the 4K Ultra HD graphics, a new and fully remastered soundtrack, and The Last Khans expansion – which features three new campaigns and four new civilizations.
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Agelessness of history
It's also worth noting that Forgotten Empires has introduced a host of quality-of-life features for the upcoming remastering such as reducing waiting times by being able to multitask or auto-farming, among other things. These updated features aim to gameplay smoother for longtime fans and newbies alike.
Encouraging new players to get into a series that's over two decades old can be a challenge and the developers are under no illusion otherwise.
"It can be intimidating," the game's executive producer, Earnest Yuen, explained to us at E3 2019. "In addition to the original William Wallace Campaign, which is the tutorial, we are adding challenge tutorials that will bring you all the way from 'how to hunt a boar without killing yourself to 'this is how you build a castle as fast as possible."
But how has Age of Empires managed to keep such a loyal fanbase while enticing new players?
"I think history is timeless – everybody has history," Yuen says. "I think it's also because we support our mods. The game is shipped with an editor and you can create your own campaigns and stories. It's also because of the multiplayer – it's super important. We've seen how people play with friends and get more friends to start playing.
"History, multiplayer and mods: those are the three pillars we want to keep as we go forward to different versions of Age of Empires."
UK and Australian prices have not yet been confirmed, but Forgotten Empires has told us that those who own the HD version of Age of Empires II will get $5 off in the US – making the game only $14.99.
Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition will release "Fall 2019" – i.e. sometime in between September and November – on Steam and the Windows 10 Store. You can sign up now for the closed beta test via the Age of Empires website.
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