It was all going to be so glorious. Age of Empires had its 20th birthday on Sunday. Thursday was supposed to be the day that the Definitive Edition was released. It would be a week long nostalgia party. Sadly, AoE: Definitive Edition has now been delayed until 2018. The developers issued a statement on Friday announcing the delay.
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.
We don’t have a final release date to share quite yet, but are targeting early 2018. In the meantime, we will be actively engaging with everyone participating in the closed beta to gather additional feedback, set up multiplayer sessions, and ensure that the Age of Empires: Definitive Edition that we are delivering is the Definitive Edition that you want.
The Definitive Edition plans to bring back that classic Age of Empires strategy, with new systems and graphics. It seems like the developers are being extremely careful as they try to find the right balance between old and new. The Definitive Edition is being handled by Microsoft Studios, while Relic Entertainment are working on Age of Empires 4.
Honestly I am excited for both, I put way too much time into the Age of Empires series over the years.