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Microsoft Shocks Gamescom With ‘Age Of Empires IV’ Announcement, Confirms ‘Age Of Empires: Definitive Edition’ Launches Oct. 19 [Trailer]

In a gleefully shocking turn of events, Microsoft has just announced that Age of Empires IV is finally happening. Gamers knew that a remastered Age of Empires, called the Definitive Edition, would be coming, but never this.

Age Of Empires IV Is Finally Coming After More Than A Decade

The announcement comes more than a decade after Age of Empires III was released. The first Age of Empires game launched in 1997, and the second installment, Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings, followed in 1999. Made by Ensemble Studios, which has shut down, Age of Empires is one of gaming's most iconic, beloved franchises.

As mentioned, the original developers are gone, so who's making Age of Empires IV? Relic, the studio behind Company of Heroes and Homeworld, is taking over development duties, which should be pretty exciting.

"Relic Entertainment has a wealth of experience in creating high-quality RTS games, making them the ideal partner to develop Age of Empires IV," said Microsoft Studios creative director Adam Isgreen.

For now, there isn't much information about Age of Empires IV, although Microsoft did drop a teaser trailer, which doesn't contain gameplay content, just vivid illustrations of different kingdoms warring against each other. It remains uncertain how this game will differ from Age of Empires III both in terms of graphics and gameplay. Furthermore, Microsoft failed to drop any hints as to how far along the game is in development, making a release date hard to predict at the moment.

Future Plans For Definitive Editions Of 'Age Of Empires' Entries

There's more. Age of Empires: Definitive Edition, the remastered version of 20-year-old Age of Empires, is launching Oct. 19. Available exclusively on the Windows Store, the game will feature 4K graphics, increased population limit, enhanced pathfinding, an attack move, improved building destruction, new zoom levels, an expanded user interface, and an enhanced orchestral soundtrack, which sounds glorious. You can watch the reveal video for more information.

Gamers will be able to sign up for a beta program, which begins Aug. 22. Preorders are open now.

Microsoft also announced that it plans to make Definitive Edition updates for the remaining Age of Empires installments: Age of Empires II and Age of Empires III. The former was already released as Age of Empires II HD in 2013, but this new remastered iteration could come with new under-the-hood improvements beyond graphics.

Again, there's not much information about Age of Empires IV, although more information could be shared from Gamescom, or perhaps during PAX later this month. Age of Empires fans are probably flipping out right this very moment, and you can't blame them. This certainly sets up an interesting era of gaming on the horizon, with Metroid Prime 4 , another higly anticipated title, currently in the works.

Thoughts? Sound off in the comments section below!

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