Popular PC Game Finally Coming To Xbox?
Age of Empires is coming to Xbox.
The classic real-time strategy (RTS) franchise Age of Empires is finally coming to Xbox consoles in January next year, for the first time since the franchise’s inception in 1999. Unfortunately, the first installment in the franchise won’t make it to Microsoft’s consoles; the Definitive Edition of its sequel, Age of Empires II, will, followed by a contemporary Age of Empires IV — also coming to consoles later next year. It’s a good step up from Navy warships.
This is a result of a concentrated effort by Microsoft to bring all of its first-party titles to its proprietary gaming hardware and PCs. Admittedly, this didn’t work out every time, but it would seem that the most requested games are making their transition to relative platforms. According to ComicBook, it’s finally Age of Empires’ turn to make the hop to console gaming. As previously said, that hop would be performed in a limited capacity, and only selected titles might appear on Xbox Game Pass.
Microsoft’s announcement about its new Xbox PC game transition didn’t exactly specify which Xbox consoles would get the new versions of Age of Empires. Considering that they’re headed to Microsoft’s biggest storefronts, including Xbox Game Pass/Ultimate and Microsoft Store, we can safely assume that they’re headed to Xbox Series X/S. The compatibility with Xbox One remains to be seen, considering that Microsoft pulled the plug on the production of their console. However, the game’s appearance on said console wouldn’t be surprising, as well.
It’s worth noting that RTS games, such as Age of Empires, Age of Mythology, StarCraft, etc., are all played via keyboard and mouse, considering that the genre blossomed on the PC — despite it being actually conceptualized on the early-generation consoles. Luckily, Microsoft’s consoles support keyboard and mouse inputs, but the developers are remastering the game so that it’s compatible with controller inputs as well. Playing RTSs on an Xbox controller or any other console controller sounds… interesting.
In fact, the Age of Empires co-developer, World’s Edge, stated that they’re aware of the complexities involved in bringing an RTS game to Xbox consoles and that the teams have approached the task carefully and thoughtfully. Their aim is to bring the Age of Empires experience to the controller-wielding players and make the controller input as effective as the mouse/keyboard combo while also teaching players how to play/game on Xbox.
This also implies a new tutorial that would introduce Age of Empires Xbox gamers to various inputs, as well as gameplay mechanics, aimed at both newbies and those that are well acquainted with the franchise. World’s Edge also stated that a new AI implementation was made within the game, which allows for more efficient and intuitive resource management. It would seem that the ultimate goal is to make Xbox RTS games, as limited as they are on consoles, comparable to their PC counterparts.
In fact, both Age of Empires 2 and Age of Empires 4 will support cross-platform play, allowing players to mix and match. If the development teams do their jobs adequately, the outcome should be indistinguishable between two gaming platforms, as controllers clash against the mouse/keyboard combo.