The Japanese and Byzantines are two brand new civilizations coming to Age of Empires 4 with the Sultans Ascend Expansion, each with new perks and strategic possibilities

Age of Empires IV: The Sultans Ascend Expansion Japanese and Byzantines
(Image credit: Windows Central / Xbox Game Studios)

What you need to know

  • The Sultans Ascend Expansion for Age of Empires IV brings two brand new playable civilizations to the game as well as four variant options. 
  • The Japanese and the Byzantines are the two brand new civs while Zhu Xi's Legacy, Ayyubids, Jeanne d'Arc, and Order of the Dragon are variants of existing in-game groups. 
  • The Japanese civilization has a Daimyo system, which turns Town Centers into Daimyo Manors and Shogunate Castles (depending on the age players are in) for extra defense and food production.
  • This Sultans Ascend Expansion releases on Nov. 14th and preorders are open.

Today, the official Age of Empires X account (formerly Twitter) posted information about The Japanese civilization that will come to Age of Empires IV with the Sultans Ascend Expansion, which releases on Nov. 14, 2023.  

According to the tweet, "The Japanese civilization introduces the new Daimyo system. Upgrading Town Centers to Daimyo Manors (and later Shogunate Castles) grants powerful defenses and bolsters food production from nearby farms." This will help make The Japanese civilization a powerful one to play as. 

The tweet also dropped a link to the official Age of Empires site where viewers can get more details on the six civilizations included in the Sultans Ascend Expansions. It's here that we learn that The Byzantines take advantage of Greek Fire on both land and sea to cause damage to opposing buildings, units, and ships. Greek Fire can be spread with Trebuchets, Dromons, and Cheirosiphons (a handheld device).

With the Sultans Ascend Expansion for Age of Empires IV, two brand new civilizations are being brought to the game. Of course, there are the aforementioned Japanese and the Byzantine, but there are also four variants of existing in-game civilizations to help shake things up: Order of the Dragon, Ayyubids, Zhu Xi's Legacy, and Jeanne d'Arc.

The Sultans Ascend Expansion for Age of Empires IV comes to the game on Nov. 14, 2023 and is currently available for preorder. You must have the base game to use the expansion. The base game is available via Xbox Series X|S, PC, and Xbox Game Pass.

Age of Empires IV: The Sultans Ascend Expansion

Age of Empires IV: The Sultans Ascend Expansion

Expand your fun with the latest Age of Empires game with this DLC which adds two completely new civilizations to the game as well as four variant civilizations from existing in-game options. Each group has its own perks and unique abilities.

Buy at: Microsoft (Xbox)
Buy at:
Steam (PC)

Age of Empires IV 

Age of Empires IV 

Building upon what made the originals so good, the latest entry in the Age of Empires series once more delivers satisfying strategic combat within a historical setting. The controls have been updated to make the game work well on Xbox or you can purchase the PC version to play on your gaming laptop or tower. 

Buy at: Microsoft (Xbox)
Buy at: Steam (PC)

Windows Central's take

Jeanne D'arc is one of the civilization options brought to Age of Empires IV in The Sultans Ascend Expansion. (Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

I had the pleasure of doing Windows Central's Age of Empires IV review when the game came to Xbox earlier this year. The console version of the game manages to make controls far easier to access via gamepad without taking away from the fast-paced strategic element that makes Age of Empires the fun, historical RTS multiplayer that it is. 

Part of the reason AoE games are so enjoyable is that every civilization has its own skills and abilities that make it a challenge to play and master. So, the idea of being able to strategize with six additional civilizations made available through the Sultans Ascend Expansion only adds to this existing fun. Whether you're playing the game on PC or Xbox, the expansion will be a great way to increase your enjoyment while playing solo or against others.

On a side note, I'm absolutely in love with Age of Empire IV's official art, which does a  fantastic job of combining historical Renaissance human figures with painterly strokes and somber tones for a very dream-like effect. This results in delightfully murky images that have one true focal point that your eye is drawn to. They are really quite fantastically done. 

Rebecca Spear
Editor and Reviewer

Self-professed gaming geek, Rebecca Spear, is one of Windows Central's editors and reviewers with a focus on gaming handhelds, PC gaming, and laptops. When she isn't checking out the latest games on Xbox Game Pass, PC, ROG Ally, or Steam Deck; she can be found digital drawing with a Wacom tablet. She's written thousands of articles with everything from editorials, reviews, previews, features, previews, and hardware reviews over the last few years. If you need information about anything gaming-related, her articles can help you out. She also loves testing game accessories and any new tech on the market. You can follow her @rrspear on X (formerly Twitter).