It's hard to believe, but Age of Empires was released on October 15, 1997, which means that it is rapidly approaching its 25th birthday. 25 years old! That's a big one—the silver anniversary—and to celebrate, Relic Entertainment is making Age of Empires 4 (opens in new tab) free to play for a week.
To get in on the action, just pop around to the Steam (opens in new tab) page and click the "play game" button. It'll download and install, and then you're off to the chariot races. The free week runs until August 28, and both the standard and deluxe editions are also on sale for half-price, in case you want to stick with it for longer.
This isn't the only birthday fun Relic has planned. October will also see the launch of an anniversary update, free for all players, which will include two new civilizations, the Malians and the Ottomans. The Malians are an economic powerhouse and one of the richest trading nations in the game, while the Ottoman Empire boasts an elite military and the Great Bombard, the largest gunpowder siege weapon available.
The update will also include new maps, achievements, and masteries, alongside the new seasonal events, ranked team play, taunts and cheats, and other new features slated for the season 3 update (opens in new tab). If you don't feel like waiting until October, you can get a head start on the new civs and content in the Public Update Preview coming in September—sign up for the Age Insider Program (opens in new tab) if you'd like to take part.