Whatever happened to Age of Empires: World Domination?

In the past year, many readers of Windows Central have commented in our news stories and on our forums about the status of Age of Empires: World Domination. This mobile strategy game is based on Microsoft's classic PC historical-themed real-time strategy series. The truth is that the development of this game has been cloaked in secrecy for the past year, and despite numerous attempts by us to get information about it from both Microsoft and its developer KLab, we are no closer to a definitive answer as to what's going on with AOEWD than we were a year ago.

The Beginning

KLab Games

The public story of AOEWD begins over two years ago, in June 2013. A press release from Japan-based KLab announced an agreement with Microsoft "to develop a mobile game version of Microsoft Studio's Age of Empires franchise." Here are the main details:

"Under the terms of the agreement, KLab will develop a mobile game based on one of Microsoft Studio's flagship franchises, Age of Empires. The game will initially be developed in English for iOS and Android and will be launched globally. Localization for other languages is also planned. KLab and Microsoft Studios will also collaborate to bring the game to the Windows phone platform.""KLab plans to work with the Microsoft Studio's team to provide its know-how and experience in social mobile gaming with a common goal to extend and bring the Age of Empires excitement in new ways to the new and existing fans."

All of this sounded very promising. Less than a year later, in April 2014, KLab revealed the title and the first details of the game itself, complete with screenshots, a trailer and a "summer 2014" release date. The game's official website, Facebook and Twitter pages all went live as well.

However, based on the introduction video and the information from the game's website, the gameplay details for AOEWD were a bit vague. We do know that players would have picked from one of several different civilizations to build their structures and army. However, the videos don't make it clear if its actual gameplay was a simple Clash of Clans style of playing or if AOEWD was going to be more of a full RTS game experience.

In June, KLab released yet another gameplay trailer from AOEWD. Both videos had the label "Game is still in development", but many fans remarked that the graphics shown in both trailers were perhaps a little too simplistic.

However, it appeared that on the surface, everything was moving full steam ahead towards a summer launch of the game. Both the AOEWD Twitter and Facebook pages were updating on a regular basis. We even received a direct email from the online community head at KLab in June, to make sure we were aware of the game and its upcoming launch.

The delays

On August 6, 2014, the official AOEWD website posted up a news update on the status of the game:

"To all our fans eagerly anticipating the release of Age of Empires: World Domination - in the past months, our development team has been working hard on the game as well as releasing snippets of the game to you all. We have also been listening to what you, the gamers, have to say. To reflect those changes, we will, unfortunately, be pushing back the release of the game to fall 2014. We believe that the extra development time will give us the opportunity to create a first-rate mobile game experience that players will love. Thank you for your patience, and we will make a further announcement when an official release date has been decided."

The game's official Facebook and Twitter pages kept updating with new information about AOEWD for a couple of weeks in August, but then they went silent. Both those social media pages have not been updated since August 16, 2014.

Age of Empires Castle Siege

On August 25, Microsoft made a surprise announcement: a second Age of Empires game made for mobile devices was in the works and would be out in just a few weeks. Developed by Smoking Gun Interactive, Age of Empires: Castle Siege was clearly inspired by the gameplay strategy model used by the popular Clash of Clans series. The game was released in September for Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 8.1 and has been updated with new content several times since then. In July 2015, Microsoft expanded the reach of the game to iOS devices as well.

The long silence

On November 7, three months after KLab revealed a delay in AOEWD's release from summer to fall 2014, its official website got another news update:

"From day one, our mission for Age of Empires: World Domination has been to create a fresh and innovative mobile game. While we have come a long way in our development with this ambitious mobile game, we came to the conclusion that an earlier release would sacrifice quality. A 2015 release will allow us to give you a robust Age of Empires mobile experience for fans both old and new to the franchise. We are extremely grateful for all your feedback we've received so far, and look forward to hearing more as we continue to share exciting development updates with you. Thank you for your continued support and stay tuned!"

That was the last public status report from KLab concerning the game's status. Over nine months later, the official AOEWD website has remained silent. Windows Central has made numerous attempts through different avenues to contact KLab's for updates on AOEWD, but so far the company has not responded to any of our inquiries.

Microsoft has also not given Windows Central any official information about the status of AOEWD. As with KLab, we have attempted numerous times to contact Microsoft's PR reps to see if they have any word on the game's progress. Unfortunately, those reps have either not offered us a comment or referred us to KLab. Most recently, our team member Jez Corden contacted Microsoft's Xbox head Phil Spencer about the status of the game via Twitter, but his response was similar to what we have heard before.

"Nothing on this right now, sorry."

Hopefully, this article will inspire either KLab or Microsoft to offer us some official statement on the game.

The future of Age of Empires

Even though the future for AOEWD looks bleak at the moment, Microsoft seemed to be committed to its Age of Empires franchise. The company has already announced plans to bring Age of Empires: Castle Siege to Windows 10 later this month. We would assume this would be a version that would work both on Windows 10 laptops and tablets as well as smaller smartphones with Windows 10 Mobile.

In April 2013, Microsoft released Age of Empires II HD for the PC. It was a graphical remastering of the original 1999 RTS game that was first developed by the now defunct Ensemble Studios. Age of Empires II HD was a major hit when it was released via Valve's Steam service. In November 2013, Microsoft did something very unexpected: it released a new expansion for Age of Empires II HD. Titled The Forgotten, it added several new civilizations and campaigns, along with other features like direct Twitch.tv support and the ability to add new content via Steam Workshop.

Age of Empires II HD The African Kingdoms

That effort, created by the Forgotten Empires team, was also highly successful, and now that same team is working on a second expansion for Age of Empires II HD. In June, the title of the expansion was revealed: The African Kingdoms.

Currently, it's expected to be released on Steam sometime in the fall of 2015.

  • Boring game..
  • Age of empires is fun!
  • It's the best game ever made. You don't get bored anytime you play this, ever. Unlike call of duty......
  • The best of the franchise was AOE2, absolute best. I hope they do it like this game. It would be epic. Does someone know how to place AO2 in WP (I'd use mouse and keyboard).
  • Both AOE and COD are fun!!!
  • "You know nothing, Aman Deep Singh." 
  • Lol! I smell..... Jon Snow! xD
  • Can you even share resources or send troops to guild mates yet in this game or is there still little to no social gaming in it?
  • You can easily tribute resources to your teammate, fight together with your teammate, defend your teammate, cover your teammate.... So much teamwork involved. Tell me then, what true teamwork can your guild game create?
  • Make teammates, stab teammates in the back. It is glorious. Especially when you get eight players together, have no starting alliances, and open diplomacy. Posted via my HTC One (M7)
  • Age of Empires II is the best RTS of all time.
  • Either that or Total Annihilation. Tough call sometimes. Posted via my HTC One (M7)
  • Age of Empires and Total Annihilation Were both unbalanced games. The CPU always ramped up huge enemy unit counts. Command and Conquer and Red Alert remain the best RTS games, with smaller but well balanced units.
  • Sorry command & conquer games were too simplistic. Total Annihilation for me was the best but Supreme Commander puts them all to shame.
  • Red Alert is kinda too simplified.
  • Hmm. KLabs... Guess they are too busy with Love Live School Idol Festival for Age of Empire xD. Side note: Hope that one day they can port SIF over to WinMobile.
  • I hope so too. But what if this whole Age of Empires thing just turns them off from Windows development :/
  • Hope they will make a new AOE, not some "HD editions" or boring mobile games. What about a really AOE IV? I have been waiting for it a long time!
  • AOE 2 HD is not an HD edition of a mobile game, but an edition of the original AOE 2 for PC, but I would not call the "remaster" HD in any sense.
  • That's what he said. An HD edition (AoE 2 HD) OR a boring mobile game (AoE CoS).
  • Must have misread it, or he/she edited it while I was typing my reply; does not really matter.
  • That's a strange behavior fom klab. I hope we'll see some rts on mobile (Microsoft, buy also the Empire Earth franchise!!)
  • I would rather see a proper PC RTS not another shit mobile game.
  • Maybe they were all terminated?
  • The golden age of rts games was in late '90s-early 2000s
  • Sorry, I thought you replied to john20212. It's possible, but it wouldn't be serious not telling the closure of the studio.
  • Ooooh, empire earth would be nice as well! In empire earth 2, I would always put all the AI's on one team together but start them in the dark ages, while I, solo, start myself in the highest technological age possible to see if ancient civilizations could take on an advanced civilization from the future. The results were quite funny and due to balancing in the game, certain aspects were unrealistic. For example, the town center in dark age civilizations is basically a hut made of sticks. But despite that, if I were to launch a nuke at this town center, it would actually survive a direct hit from a nuclear weapon. Not to mention ancient civilizations are also capable of spotting my orbital surveillence satellites somehow and know what it is. Overall though, empire earth was a great and fun game like age of empires and I hope they make more.
  • Interesting bullshit, right there...
  • Fabulous. The first Empire Earth offered this craziness too. With 14 epochs...
  • Do you guy have to say tablet and laptop. Geez
  • Why not? They are seperate devices...
  • Tabtop laplet
  • Aoe castle siege is already a failure, don't need another one
  • That moment when your comment becomes an article ^_^
  • I commented too
  • Not sure why they are bothering with another expansion for an ancient game instead of creating AOE IV. What's more the HD remake was done really poorly with no remastering of the textures or even the intro cinematic or tech tree images and menu items which still are pixelated in many places, thats not an HD remaster by any definition. The Forgotten expansion is also half baked with no voice overs like the original game.
  • Aoe is the best strategy game ever made. Play it on a phone would be a dream come true
  • But it requires internet so I hate it .
  • Probably the same thing that happened to Halo: SS. They probably had to delay the game so they could launch it on other platforms too. I imagine once the iOS port is done, it should be out. I would guess that would be sometime soon.
  • That was so vexing that they did that with Halo: Spartan Strike--delaying it for 5 months just so they could stab us in the back by releasing it on iOS too. I dislike many of the decisions that Microsoft makes sometimes. Undermining Windows Phone, Halo, and Xbox is not worth the few extra bucks they got from releasing the game on iOS, in comparison to the damage it did to WP, Halo, and Xbox brands. As for AoE World Domination--it would also be a big mistake releasing it on Android and iOS too. That said, it's good not to release it so close in time to AoE Castle Siege anyway.
  • Id assume the reason for this delay is to recode for w10
  • Could be worse Halo 5 going to PS4 jk.
  • Nandela happened.
  • I love the original AoE series. Would like them to have a proper comeback and not some remastered version. BTW, not sure what specific features are added in the Windows 10 version for Castle Siege. The games works just fine on my Windows 10 laptop.
  • I would really suggest you to remove the piece "Castle Siege was clearly inspired by gameplay strategy model used by the Clash of Clans series". Reason one, clash of clans itself is inspired by previous age of empires games. Two, being the player of CoC and AoE, I can see AoE is better at strategy than CoC AND it clearly brought the clever fighting strategies needed by previous generations with mouse to new generation touch. Third, well this one is personal; Supercell never bothered acknowledging WP; so why bother give them credit? It's not like based on the credit any of the hard core WP users can try playing CoC in their WP
  • In CoC can you control your troops in battle?
  • No you can't Posted via Windows Phone Central App
  • This is the new Microsoft...
  • What Xbox WP game isn't made I secrecy? I just dont get MS at all sometimes...
  • I've said it a thousand times and I'll say a thousand more: cursed the day Microsoft got their hands on Ensemble Studios. We would be having Age of Empires IV, V and VI by now and here we are, trying to revive AoE II. And don't get me wrong, AoE II IS the best AoE of the series, but it's 2015, new graphis would be welcomed instead of shapening tweaks.
  • I highly doubt that Aoe 4 to 6 would have been any better than Aoe 3 tbh. For aoe2 It's the simplicity and great gameplay with deep learning curve to master it that made it so awesome. And we probably would've not gotten new official expansions.. Cysion and his team might have worked on AoFE for Aoe2 but still, it would have only been a mod.. So in a way I'm glad it ended this way. And who knows if SkyBox Labs and Forgotten Empires LLC will do the "Aoe4". Posted via Windows Phone Central App
  • Agreed DJCBS
  • Indeed is was a dark day when Microsoft decided to destroy Ensemble Studios. I loved the concept vision Ensemble had for AOE IV & V at the back of the AOEIII collectors edition art book. Shutting down Ensemble Studios was the last nail in the coffin for any PC game efforts from Microsoft, and let's not forget that Phil Spencer was one of the main people behind the shut down http://kotaku.com/5047753/read-the-ensemble-youre-done-here-email-from-microsoft ; and now for over two years he is teasing PC gamers with Microsoft's suposed recomitment to PC gaming without any real results or any significant AAA PC game releases.  
  • I didn't like Castle Siege (or Clash Of Clans), but I used to play all of the old Age of Empires on my PC back in the day. I hope they make another for PC and mobile.
  • I don't mind buying a new AOE HD $10 app from the store. Go MS! Make a new one!!!
  • I still play AOE 3 and Age of Mythology. :')
  • I didn't know there was an other one coming
  • I found this wolololo
  • Vaporware
  • They should do aoe2 hd with continuum for phones support. That would be epic.
  •     It’s pretty safe to say that the game has been cancelled. Microsoft probably wasn’t happy with the progress and were just hoping to let it die a slow, quiet death.