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Microsoft acquires classic civilization game Rise of Nations, future games hinted by Xbox head

Rise of Nations screenshot

Microsoft has acquired the IP rights to one of the most acclaimed PC strategy games in recent history, Rise of Nations, and the leader of Microsoft's Xbox division is strongly hinting the company plans to release new games in the franchise.

Late on Friday, Microsoft's PlayXLBA website announced that not only had the company acquired Rise of Nations from its now shut down owners, Big Huge Games, but that it will re-release the original 2003 game on Steam. Rise of Nations: Extended Edition will be released sometime in June for $19.99 and will contain both the original game and its expansion pack Thrones and Patriots, along with enhanced graphics, full Steamworks support and more. Terms of the IP acquisition were not disclosed.

However, in two posts on his Twitter feed Saturday, Microsoft's Xbox leader Phil Spencer made statements that suggested the company was going to do more than just republish the older Rise of Nations games. Indeed, he seemed to hint that all new games in the franchise are planned.

Really happy with the #RON IP acquisition. We kept quiet for awhile on this. I game I worked on long ago, we'll do more with IP.

Steam is a great place to sell Win32 games. We acquired the IP for future work, I'm a big fan of the franchise. - Phil Spencer, Microsoft

Microsoft already has a listing on its careers page stating that they are forming a team to develop a "new AAA title within an established and well-loved strategy game franchise." Furthermore, Spencer stated in another Twitter post on May 18th that he saw a resurgence of the real time strategy genre coming for current generation consoles like the Xbox One. It's more than possible that Rise of Nations could be that strategy game series, based on Spencer's hints.

What do you guys think about the possibility of a new Rise of Nations game for the Xbox One?

Source: PlayXBLA, Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) (1, 2)

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Reader comments

Microsoft acquires classic civilization game Rise of Nations, future games hinted by Xbox head

115 Comments

Agreed, he's the best thing to happen to the xbox brand Imo. Rise of Nations was easily the best game I played on PC.

Phil Spencer is good, no doubts there. But in many ways he's still unproven. I still say it was Shane Kim, who laid out the map for XBL, who's the best head. Time will tell if Spencer can meet and/or exceed Shane. I wish him all the luck.

This just made my motherfucking day.

Definitely buying on DAY ONE.

This IP from BigHuge was snagged in an auction back in late 2013 but nobody knew who the buyer was.

To quote the words of the late great BIG,

"And if ya don't know, now ya know..."

Vevo is a joint collaboration of three of the biggest music labels in the world. I don't think MS could buy it unless they bought at least one of the labels too.

I think you mean Vimeo, but there is also Ustream.

Microsoft should def acquire or partner with Vevo. It could possibly help with XBox music video availability when streaming on XBox. I would love it if Microsoft paid just a little bit more than Google to get Twitch but that seems like a done deal already.

Wow. That's the game I've been playing while I'm still a kid. Rise of legend also one of the game that I like from the franchise. Nice.

Twitter is a terrible investment, they make no money and would be dead weight. Let them stay independent. Better buys would be Steam and other larger game studios, Blizzard perhaps.

THIS! Best selling console RTS ever (over two million copies), and best one I've ever played. Still play it on a weekly basis, still has an active online community. Re-release it for the One to pave the way for a sequel please.

If they don't have the money they cannot say they are interested. It would make look bad google.

Microsoft has the money to buy them all, mates. REAL MONEY, no bullshit. It s 20 years Microsoft gains billions, not 5.

Steve Ballmer alone could by Facebook I think hahahha (Bill the entire planet earth, maybe part of the moon, have to check..)

Pretty similar to Age of Empires. Guess they want a monopoly on the genre! I think it's a good pick up. Would like to see it on Windows 8 /RT instead of Steam, though. Not sure why the dabble around with supporting Steam over their own ecosystems other than the fact that in this case it seems like an easier port.

Microsoft has shown they can't run their own PC system, with the massive failure that is GFWL, so I don't know why you would want a game that is tied to their next failure i.e. Xbox for Windows. Steam is the only way to go for them after the GFWL fuck-up.

 

Yeah, as soon as I saw Steam mentioned I realised they've admitted defeat. You'd think they'd offer it in the W8 store before all else. GFWL was okay as a platform, but they never had any good discounts much like the XBL stores. E.g. Fallout 3 was stuck on $99 for 2+ years, even though they had a GOTY edition for $60 but retail shop price was $30-40.

Also offering it only in Win8 store would automaticaly = poor sales, as Win8 has low adoption overall and even lower one amongst PC gamers.

 

 

Microsoft has shown they have the ability to run a successful games service (Xbox console) and unsuccessfull (GFWL). They could easily make a valid, Xbox-branded Steam competitor if they wanted to. I think they should. I'm not a fan of Steam at all, but Microsoft would be wise to ape them and then offer a better system by pushing Xbox on all platforms: One, 360, PC, Window Phone.

I think the IP was simply too cheap to pass on. They might just have had a similar kind of RTS in development and figured they might as well get the proper branding for it. Or they just figured they could (almost) make their money back by just re-releasing the game and waiting a few months.

Of course not... That's why you have Age of Empires IV isn't it? Why Ensemble Studios are still open? Yeah. Thought so...

Yes. Except when they f*ck up. And unfortunately they've done that quite a lot in the recent past.

I don't like anything Apple. As for Google, I'm indiferent. I like Google the search engine, I like the flexibility of Android (though I don't like the limitations 4.4 brought), I hate Google+...I have no strong feelings towards Google. I don't LOVE them but I also don't share the hate that is quite common among more primitive people around here.

Between their aquisition by MSFT and their closure Ensemble released Age of Mythology (and expansion), Age of Empires III (and expansions) and Halo Wars. Their only games before the aquisition were Age of Empires I & II, and Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds. 

All their games were pretty much the same thing, seem to me to be more like a one trick pony studio. Why are you upset that they didn't make a Age of Empires IV?

They ruined Age of Empires? You must be part of the 0.0001% of the population that thinks this way. Nice to finally meet you.

You must be party of the 0.0001% that thinks that only 0.0001% thinks they ruined AoE. Nice to finally meet you.

They not only ruined AOE, but Flight Simulator and many other great PC franchises. Microsoft has not done anything to show they are serious about PC gaming. Shuting down Ensemble was the worst thing MS could have ever done.

 

MSFT absolutely ruined AoE with their 3rd iteration of the game... Devastatingly terrible compared to its predecessors, or any comparable game in its genre... I've never heard of anyone LIKING that specific game.... DCBJS is often negative, but often correct as well... He has a valid concern here.

Wait... are you trying to say that Age of Empires III was a terrible game? Because that is probably the best game in the series. Perhaps you mean Age of Empires Online? 

you are funny... but can you use your brain for a second?

how Microsoft ruined Age of Empires? care to elaborate? oh yeah you are talking crap and you probably not even played Age of Empires Online, it was FREE and NOBODY cared about it. they would rather payed for starcraft or went to play like LoL which are also free but have massive people playing it.

Microsoft even released a remake of Age of Empires 2 and that didn't do anything, not everyone play it, and not many will ever play it because Age Of Empires WAS NEVER POPULAR, yeah everyone knew it existed but it never had many players compared to other games like Starcraft/Broodwar. I mean... there was never many or good RTS, so it's not a genre many play anyway.

but ruined age of empires? I mean, did you even played Age of Empires Online? because it was a good game, it was free, you didn't have to buy anything with real money and guess what? nobody cared about it. I did play it and I had all the races.
they had it in GFWL and STEAM and still nobody cared.
only because nobody cared about AoE it doesn't mean Microsoft ruined anything.... especially since AoE is in a genre that not many like to play. I mean... how many likes RTS compared to other games? and how many of RTS players like age of empires?
Maybe AoE3 wasn't as exciting and was kind of awkward to play with guns and being unbalanced but it wasn't a bad game, but again... people was not interested in AoE, compared to other games. and nothing can change that if a game is not popular enough, Microsoft or other company could release many Age of Empires and it will never come close to how popular Starcraft 1/broodwar and 2 are

so please stop talking stupid crap you don't even know.... I played the FREE Age of empires Online for many months, since it was beta and it never took off even if it had a stream dedicated to it and people saw it was a nice game but in the end nobody played it. because people wanted Starcraft even if it costed money.

Ruined? it seems your brain is the only crap ruined in this planet, since I don't know if you use it or you were dropped as a baby or you just were born being idiot. but Age of Empires WAS NEVER too popular to expect everyone would play it. end of story.

AoE Online was a crap game compared to Ensemble's work. It was a failed experiment for Microsoft. Hopefully, we will see the game return to its roots as a proper RTS game.

I won't even bother to read your text. I'm used to your idiotic bitchiness which is normally filled with 99% of incorrect assumptions that come from a completely close minded and very 'murican-ignorant view of the World.

I just got a notification for an update from the one you get the OS updates from, is it the wp8.1 update 1 or am I late on this can anybody answer me? I know this is out of context...

Awesome news! Now deploy to all Microsoft consumers platforms: Xbox, Windows, Windows RT and Windows Phone.

Never actually played it. I hope MS does a version designed for PC for the loyal fans and a console version for their Xbox players.

bring back AoE?
what about Age of Empires Online? it was available for 2 years. or did you not play it?
they also released the remake of AoE2 or something, but only available through Steam. and not many would care about it either.

so why would Microsoft bring a game that was never a sucess? AoEO was fully free and it was good, better than most RTS games but guess what? nobody cared so don't get your point.

What happened to AOE and Ensemble studios was not good. Unless they use SmartGlass I don't see how RTS can ever be a big genre on Xbox One.
I am very concerned about Phil Spencer running Xbox. Waiting to see E3 to gauge what the big picture looks like. A lot of the stuff he says troubles me (focus on small games, RTS on consoles, reboots for unpopular franchises, etc.) None of that sounds smart to me, but maybe he is just placating annoying fans while working on much better more impressive things.

For the love if god, don't waste time making RTS games for XBone. WINDOWS 8 NEEDS TOUCH ENABLED RTS GAMES!!!!! I would love a port of the Halo RTS for XB360 ported to Windows 8 modern, for example. The Surface line is MADE for this stuff....

Awesome. I love this game, can't wait for new graphics, and new games in the series! I like this game more than age of empires, so excited to see what comes.

II think this can bring up another new and nice strategie game to xbox or maybe RT/WP. But I really hope the most,is getting a next-gen Console Version of X- Com on the xbox one. But if this dream will cone true?!?

Had fun with Rise of Nations! I remember when there were more than 200 troops on screen my computer had trouble to handle it!  Bring it on Windows Phone! Its not as good as Age of Empires. We want A REAL AoE RTS from Microsoft....make Ensemble Studios again ffs! 

I think that they should make if for PC first, then port it to the Xbox One, not the other way around, if they even do port it to PC.

How ironic. Just a few years ago, they shuttered Ensemble Studios after years of Age of Empire and Halo Wars on 360 and now they're hiring programmers to bring back RTS games on consoles. They need to just get Ensemble back together.