I have good news, and I have bad news. First, the good news: Microsoft has announced that a new Age of Empires game is coming in September! The bad news, however, is that it's probably not the game you were hoping for.
Age of Empires: Castle Siege sounds more or less like a fairly conventional AoE game, at least based on this part of its PlayXBLA description: "Choose from one of several civilizations, expand your castle into a massive city, defend your walls against marauding empires and, when your newly trained army is ready, lay siege to other castles built by online opponents."
But while it will be released for Windows 8-based PCs, the game is designed first and foremost for the touch-screen interface of Windows Phone 8 devices. "Now all your strategizing, empire-building and sieging is controlled by the simple swipe of your finger," the site states. "Drag paths on the touchscreen to command units directly in battle. Using this tactical control to counter your opponents' defenses is crucial to victory."
Six different civilizations will be available to choose from at the start, each with "upwards of six unique 'cultural units,' along with cavalry and trebuchets," and there will be ten historical battles to play through. Cross-platform play between Windows 8 devices will be supported, as will microtransactions, which can be used to "accelerate gameplay," although there isn't any information yet on how exactly that will work.
Age of Empires: Castle Siege will be out sometime in September, exclusively from the Windows 8 Store. Will you give it a try?
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Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.