‘Age Of Empires IV’ is already playable but still needs more work

“[It’s] a game that needs debugging and balance and polish”

It’s been awhile since fans have heard about Age Of Empires IV, but World’s Edge studio head Shannon Loftis has finally shared more about the game’s progress.

In a new year-end update about the Age Of Empires franchise, Loftis and World’s Edge – which oversees studios that work on AOE titles – revealed that developer Relic Entertainment has already created a playable build of Age Of Empires IV, albeit a buggy one.

Loftis added that the studio is “making great progress” on the forthcoming real-time strategy game, adding that the team is “literally playing this game every single day”.

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“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,” she continued. “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.”

Loftis also noted that the developer has moved its development from “office to home” in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and that they have “modified (through trial and error) our processes to help facilitate productivity” in order to ensure ongoing development.

Elsewhere in the update, Loftis and World’s Edge also looked back on 2020 for the Age Of Empires franchise. They outlined all the features they’ve added to Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition, including a battle royale mode and a Mac port, as well as the launch of Age of Empires: III Definitive Edition.

Age Of Empires IV was originally announced by Relic Entertainment in 2017, but the studio has remained tight-lipped about the game’s progress ever since. The last major update in 2019 at the X019 event, when the developer showcased gameplay footage for the first time.

Earlier this year, Microsoft added Age of Empires: III Definitive Edition to its Xbox Game Pass service for PC. The game features two new modes, all previous expansions and 14 civilisations to control, with full 4K UHD graphics and a fully remastered soundtrack.

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