Age of Empires is 25 years old and fans are shaping the franchise

Microsoft

It’s been 25 years since a small studio in Dallas reshaped the old world through the perspective of a real-time strategy game. age of empires Since then, Monk wololos have echoed around our homes: Parents believed their children were learning history; The children thought they were playing stealthily. And veteran players know that both were right.

Until now age of empires They did not always receive the love that he does today. The rise of the Xbox led to the decline of PC gaming for Microsoft: like communities AoEThey are left to consider themselves. In a very real way, it was the passion of these geeks that led to a renewed interest in Microsoft and the release of the latest entry to the franchise, 2021. Age of Empires IV.

All games continue to receive updates or DLC. age of empires Games are heading to Xbox and mobile devices, complete with cross-play so console players can get their hands on the classic RTS And the Play with their PC loving friends. also, age of legends You finally get a definitive version. fourth age Momentum is building, too, with the anniversary release culminating in a year of updates designed to appeal to players who found it stripped back at launch. AoE It is now a point of strategic real-time pride and a shining gem in Microsoft’s list.

On October 25, after watching the anniversary event—and enjoying a surprisingly witty lineup of ouds performing the series’ famous music—I spoke with Phil Spencer, CEO of Microsoft Gaming, and head of World’s Edge studio Michael Mann about the past and future of the franchise.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Wired: It’s the 25th anniversary of age of empiresAnd, I know, Phil, you’ve been with Microsoft for over 30 years. I’ve seen this evolution in the franchise. But I think there was definitely a gap, for both the real-time strategy and age of empiresAnd the Where does it look good. Was there ever a moment when it was like Microsoft, age Which type of strategy is implemented real time? And then, the second part of that, when and what turned him around? When I was like, Wow, is this worth paying attention to again?

Phil Spencer: So it’s a good idea to pull this off. I mean the thing we saw in it age It wasn’t about genre, to be honest, and more about how the community continues to play. The games were still available for purchase, and we just saw a lively community of people playing there. And we haven’t been actively involved with the community like Xbox. When the Xbox started, I would say, unfortunately, we took our focus away from the PC and focused more on the console, which means perks like Sim trip And the ageSocieties are left to fend for themselves a little. And as we developed our gaming strategy, looking at the players playing on any screen, we started looking at franchises in our portfolio where the communities were active and fairly large and actually engaged in the game and interacted with each other. And the age It was there as one of those perks.

So we had the opportunity to find a good partner. and back to age with leftovers [Entertainment]the partner who knew the genre, we saw it as a great opportunity for us to just meet the community they were in, with their love age. I would say the same about ads around ageThey come to the console just to try to show the community that we realize their love for him age of empireswhat that means to a lot of people, and I’m proud that we can now kind of go ahead and do our part of it as IP owners and franchisees.

Michael Mann: I also want to congratulate Ensemble Studios – they created the franchise 25 years ago. I know World’s Edge is enjoying the celebration too. But I also want to reach out and say Tony Goodman, Bruce Shelley, all of these individuals just did an amazing job 25 years ago creating this franchise that we’re ambassadors for going forward.

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