A quarter century after its release, Age of Empires 2 is still getting DLC

Key art for the new Age of Empires 2 expansion showing an angry Viking and Japanese warlod.
(Image credit: Forgotten Empires)

Ensemble's Age of Empires 2 released in 1999, and I know of at least one person who thinks gaming never got better than this. They're clearly not alone, either, as this game has proven to have an enormously long tail and, after being supported by the community for most of its existence, got the full-fat remaster treatment it deserved with 2019's Age of Empires 2: Definitive Edition (developed by Forgotten Empires under the aegis of the AoE-focused World's Edge studio).

We thought the Definitive Edition was rather good, with PCG's strategy king Fraser Brown saying that though it "wavers between remaster and remake" it's "the best version of the best Age of Empires game by a wide margin." And while that may have been expected, what came next wasn't: Forgotten Empires set a relatively rip-roaring pace of expansions, with the game receiving five so far (probably the most impressive being last year's Return of Rome, which brought over every civilization from the original AoE). And it's not slowing down.

Roll up Victors and Vanquished, AoE2: Definitive Edition's sixth expansion which is bringing a whopping 19 new scenarios to the game including campaigns featuring the Viking king Ragnar Lothbrok and emperor Charlemagne. 14 of these campaigns are based on user-created content and five are all-new, all of which have been polished-up with professional voice acting, music, balance tweaks, bugfixes, achievements, and various quality of life improvements.

This is a loosely story-focused expansion so with Ragnar Lothbrok, for example, you'll play across a huge map of Northern Europe and from relatively humble beginnings begin to capture jarldoms in Norway, Denmark, and Sweden, eventually becoming a unifying king for the Vikings (and scourge of all non-Vikings). There are also unique mechanics tied-into certain of the historical figures: Otto the Great's quest to become Holy Roman Emperor can be helped or hindered by his three vassals, who can be obedient allies or rebellious dangers.

Much of this expansion builds on the world of community creator Filthydelphia, who not only has an excellent handle but has been brought on-board to oversee the polishing up of their work. Their scenarios has featured in previous expansions and the AoE2 crowd seem to regard their scenarios as among the finest the game has seen, and clearly Victors and Vanquished is another major endorsement from the devs themselves.

Victors and Vanquished releases on March 14 and is priced at $12.99 / £9.99 (there is a 15% discount for pre-orders). I'm not sure if this makes AoE2 the longest officially supported videogame out there: but a new expansion 25 years after its original release certainly feels a little historic.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."