It's been just over two months since Age of Mythology: Extended Edition was cheekily announced by an alpaca hand puppet during an Age of Empires 2: HD Edition developer live stream. Yes, this is how classic games are brought back into the world. AoM: EE goes live on Steam today and brings with it the original's Titan expansion campaign as well as a host of other tweaks and upgrades under the hood.
One day, every game you’re nostalgic for will be easily available through Steam, and then you’ll have nothing left to pine for. That day draws closer now that Microsoft has announced that it’s bringing real-time strategy game Age of Mythology: Extended Edition to Steam in May 2014. Like last year’s Age of Empires II HD, it includes the game's expansion, improves the presentation, and adds a bunch bells and whistles like Steamworks and Twitch integration.
Game announcements have settled into a tired, cynically hype-generating routine. First you have your logo on a black background, then after months of nothing you have a 20-second teaser trailer, followed by a preview that contains roughly three nuggets of new information. Could we not replace all that with an alpaca puppet banging his head on a keyboard? Yes, says the man in his dressing gown writing PC Gamer's news posts, although it took Microsoft Studios' streaming team to make this brave new world a reality.
Partway through a stream of Age of Empires II: HD Edition yesterday, a puppet named Alfred (and his handler) appeared on the screen. After whacking his head on a keyboard a few times, the above image then appeared, revealing an Age of Mythology: Extended Edition, yes, with a Steam logo plastered over the top. One of the devs of AoE2 HD later confirmed the news on Reddit.
Microsoft’s investment in PC gaming has felt half-hearted over the past several years. It locked Halo 2 and Gears of Wars into the now waning Games for Windows Live ecosystem, and it’s become abundantly clear that Microsoft is leaving video games up to the Xbox division. However, a recent interview between Microsoft and AusGamers reveals that Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Studios Phil Spencer is open to the idea of cross platform play between the Xbox One and PCs.
Anthropomorphic animals can be a divisive fictional device. But if we can accept cities floating in the sky and assassins who can blink themselves across high rooftops, it shouldn’t be too big a stretch to invest some belief in the cat-like samurai and his talking sword in Dust: An Elysian Tail. This obvious labour of love was developed near single-handedly by Dean Dodrill, whose background as an accomplished illustrator is so enjoyably evident in this exquisite-looking action RPG.
Ninjas aren't known for taking things by storm, but this one assuredly has: carving a path straight through the console crowd and making off with a full sack of high-scoring reviews. And now Mark of the Ninja is set to turn its 2D sneak-em-up charms to Steam. It arrives on 16 October at a price of $14.99.
Skulls of the Shogun is a dedicated historical strategy game designed to respectfully represent that time hundreds of years ago when the skeletal armies of Japan rose up and tried to steal each others' skulls. If you've played Advance Wars on a handheld you'll already have a feel for the rules of the thing. It's turn based, but movement isn't locked to some arbitrary grid, and the skulls you claim make your units more powerful. If one of your heroes falls, the enemy claims all of the skulls that warrior has collected, allowing for sudden, devastating reversals of fortune.
In most online RPGs you play as a single hero. In free-toplay Age of Empires Online, you’re a city. You start out as either a Greek or Egyptian township, and must expand to become a sprawling metropolis capable of training the most powerful units your chosen civilisation has to offer.
To do so, you accept missions from beardy quest-givers loitering under giant yellow exclamation marks on the streets of your capital. They’ll point out nearby enemy towns ripe for pillage. Stolen materials can be combined with blueprints to build more structures, which in turn can be upgraded to boost the strength of your units.