Real-time strategy gamers were excited when Microsoft announced a remastered version of Age of Empires last year, but sadly, it missed its release date.

Fans will be pleased to know that Age of Empires: Definitive Edition finally gets a new launch date that is closer than expected. Forgotten Empires, the developer handling the remastered 20-year-old classic confirmed that the game will ship out on Feb. 20. Additionally, the game studio shared some updates regarding another scheduled beta.

Limited Beta Test

Sources speculated that the game will get another open beta to test everything out before its eventual release next month. In fact, Larry Hyrb, an Xbox executive who is popularly known by his gamertag "Major Nelson," confirmed that another multiplayer beta will be in place so players can experience how the remastered title feels.

Microsoft probably wants to take advantage of the hype and nostalgia surrounding the beloved RTS. However, the game studio noted that the beta will not be open as initially announced.

Another set of 100,000 participants must sign up before Jan. 25 in order to qualify for the beta test that will take place on Jan. 29.

Keeping It Old-School With A Modern Flair

Microsoft Studios wants to keep the original gameplay intact so as to avoid complaints from its fans. The development team responsible for remastering the title added new elements such as a re-recorded orchestra score, online play via Xbox Live (LAN play reportedly enabled), a new campaign narration for all missions, and an adjusted scenario and campaign editor.

Finally, all in-game assets for Age of Empires: Definitive Edition has been rebuilt with 4K-resolution support. On a side note, despite the multitude of requests from fans to port the game over to the Xbox One X, Forgotten Empires wanted to keep it a PC-only exclusive, apparently for nostalgic reasons.

Why Was The Game Delayed?

After its official announcement last year, Age of Empires: Definitive Edition was initially given an Oct. 19, 2017, release date. Yet unexpected challenges encountered during development pushed its launch back. The developers posted a message on the news section of its website to explain the delay.

"When we set out to re-release the original Age of Empires 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," according to the post.

Fans will no doubt understand why the game studio opted to take longer and work on everything carefully. They should be glad to know that Age of Empires: Definite Edition was remastered with devotion from the development team. It is available to preorder for $20 through the Microsoft Store.

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