Age of Empires: Definitive Edition has been delayed into 2018, Microsoft recently announced just days before it was scheduled for release. The revamp of the real-time strategy (RTS) classic was originally set to launch on October 19, a date that was announced at Gamescom in late August..
In a post explaining the delay, the Microsoft Studios team behind Age of Empires: Definitive Edition explained that the game needs a little more time in the oven, in order to recreate the experience of the game "as we all remember it." The closed beta will continue in the meantime, with Microsoft set to add thousands of more players. From Microsoft:
When we set out to re-release the original Age of Empires (as 'Age of Empires: Definitive Edition'), we had many debates over the extent of restoration that we should undertake. The challenge of re-releasing a classic is just that: it's a classic and it deserves to be treated with careful reverence. At the same time, in a living, thriving genre, norms continually evolve, technology advances, and player expectations change. This is as true for RTS as for any other genre. So, the challenge is to recreate the experience not as it actually was but as we all remember it. How can we modernize the game while preserving the fun, discovery and magic of that first experience?
To that end, rather than a final release of Age of Empires: Definitive Edition on October 19, we will instead be inviting thousands more players from the community into our closed beta between now and launch to allow for more in-depth testing across single player campaign, multiplayer balance, fine-tuning the lobby, etc.
Age of Empires: Definitive Edition is a revamped version of the RTS classic. The remaster will see updated visuals, including high-resolution textures and 4K support. Other niceties include an increased population limit, better pathfinding for units, new zoom levels, and improved animations. If you were a fan of the Age of Empires music, the soundtrack has been enhanced as well.
Microsoft also has "Definitive Edition" revamps in the works for Age of Empires II and Age of Empires III, each of which will see similar updates. And though little is known beyond a brief animated trailer, an Age of Empires IV is confirmed to be in the works as well.
There's no final release date set in stone just yet, but Microsoft says it is targeting a general "early 2018" timeframe. Assuming things go according to plan, we should expect Age of Empires: Definitive Edition to launch early next year on the Windows Store. For now, you can still preorder the game directly from Microsoft for $19.99.
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