Age of Empires 4: release date, civilisations, and everything else we know

When is Age of Empires 4’s release date? Well we’ve got some good news and some great news. The good news is, we know it’s coming in the autumn. The great news is, we know exactly when it’s coming, thanks to an announcement during Microsoft’s press conference during E3 2024.

With the previous Age of Empires game landing over a decade ago, anticipation for a new entry in the classic RTS game series couldn’t be higher if you placed it atop a saddled war elephant and marched it towards an enemy base.

News was slow for the new entry, but thankfully things are picking up: a fan preview broadcast in early 2024 blew the lid on Age of Empires 4 and gave us a ton of new information to work with, and now the recent Microsoft press conference has given us more, including a Steam page.  We have rounded as much Age of Empires IV news as possible, so that you’re on the same page as us. We’ll keep this article updated as and when new information comes to light, but feel free to let us know if there’s something important you think we’ve missed.

Age of Empires 4 release date

Age of Empires 4 is set for October 28, 2024 as of the Microsoft E3 2024 press conference, which was broadcast on June 13, 2024.

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You can pre-order Age of Empires IV on Steam and the Microsoft Store.

The Digital Deluxe Edition is only available via Steam, and costs $79.99 / £69.99. You get the base game plus a bunch of exclusive bonus digital content, such as monuments, coat of arms, and a soundtrack.

The standard edition is available on both Steam and the Microsoft Store for $59.99 / £49.99, and will also be available via Game Pass for PC.

According to the Microsoft Store page, pre-ordering either edition gets you the upcoming Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition expansion Dawn of the Dukes for free.

Age of Empires 4 mods

Mod support is coming for Age of Empires IV, but according to the product page on Steam, it won’t be available until “early 2024”.

Age of Empires 4 beta

A closed beta is planned for Age of Empires IV, but the current run dates are unknown. Regardless, to be eligible to participate you have to be part of the Age Insider program, so it might be worth signing up to that at least.

More official information on the closed beta is due in the “near future”.

Age of Empires 4 units from the dehli sultanate civ

Age of Empires 4 civs

It’s been confirmed that there will be eight civilisations for Age of Empires IV at launch, drawn from medieval societies across Europe, Asia and beyond. Out of those eight, six have been named:

  • English
  • Mongols
  • Chinese
  • Delhi Sultanate
  • Abbasid Dynasty
  • French

Age of Empires 4’s civilisations are going to be more asymmetrical in their design. The English, for example will look and play more like traditional Age of Empires civilisation, where-as the Mongols will be feature more bespoke mechanics – such as migrating buildings – which will make them feel very different. The other civilisations are likely to be designed to fit different points on this scale, although there will be some commonality. For example every civ has a generic pike, ranged, and mounted units to keep that core combat triangle intact.

Civilisations are also meant to represent cultures at a more historically authentic level, as a way of recognising that different entities controlled the same parts of the world across history, even within Age of Empire IV’s medieval period.

As such, while the English and French perhaps feel ubiquitous with the countries they lend their names to, the Delhi Sultanate only controlled parts of South Asia for parts of the medieval period, and the Abbasid Caliphate was only one of the dominant powers of the middle-east. In response to player concerns over regional representation, Microsoft confirmed that future cultures and civilisations would be released post-launch to explore the same region from different angles.

Civ design also extends to the visuals and atmosphere as well. Architecture will evolve over time, but the language other NPCs use will also change to reflect how these societies evolved culturally during the rough time-period covered by Age of Empires 4.

A king in age of empires 4 leads a column of men towards a town

AGE OF EMPIRES 4 campaigns

Age of Empires 4 will have four campaigns, consisting a total of 35 missions, one of which is confirmed to be a Norman campaign focused on William the Conqueror and his descendants. Instead of focusing on the life of one historical figure, Age of Empires 4 campaigns will span generations, covering multiple people, and will serve the historical context in a more documentary-style format.

According to Adam Isgreen there is going to be around three hours worth of footage that will supplement the campaign missions, a lot of it using live footage from real-world locations with superimposed graphics in the style of the game, but also other types of video content as well that they’re not talking about right now.

age of empires 4 campaign gameplay showing base building

Age of Empires 4 Features

Further details on Age of Empires 4 features are a bit scattered, but here is a summary of some of the key features that will be coming:

The game will be fully 3D, with more realistic environments that show more pronounced elevation, and forests that will allow units to hide in for ambush tactics. The maps will also be procedural.

Units will be capped at around 200 per player. In an eight-player multiplayer match, this will mean you can have a maximum of 1600 units all fighting over the same space.

While the campaign will have hero-like units for narrative reasons, general skirmish gameplay will not feature hero units. The exception to this at the moment are the Mongols, who have a unit called the ‘Mongol Khan’ who acts similar to a hero-unit, but is not as strong as one.

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The ages have been confirmed to be: Dark Age, the Feudal Age, the Castle Age, and the Imperial Age. Naval combat has been confirmed, and the ‘age-up’ mechanics from Age of Empires 3 have been incorporated into Age of Empires 4’s design.

Related: The best strategy games on PC

We’ll be sure to update you on any other Age of Empires 4 news regarding the release date, and anything else the developers decide to share.

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