Age of Empires 4 is in development by Relic Entertainment, creators of the Company of Heroes series and other beloved strategy games. It's the first new entry in the series in well over ten years—AoE 3 was released all the way back in 2005.
Other than its existence, and the intention to publish the game exclusively on Windows 10, publisher Microsoft Studios has revealed almost nothing about the project since it was announced back at Gamescom 2017. Below, we've collected everything we know about it so far, as of Fall 2019.
Age of Empires 4 release date: likely in 2020 or later
There's no announced release date for Age of Empires 4, and the game has almost entirely skipped 2018 when it comes to news beats—nothing's really happened since the Gamescom 2017 announcement. This year, though, we've been promised that we will hear more, just not quite yet.
It's also worth noting that Microsoft has been a little quiet on the definitive edition of Age of Empires 2 since the remake of the first game was released. Expect info on that one soon, though.
Age of Empires 4 gameplay reveal coming to X019
As announced back in August by Xbox Games Marketing GM Aaron Greenberg, the first gameplay reveal of Age of Empires 4 will be shown during X019. In case anyone forgot, Greenberg teased the reveal with a gif on Twitter. That's incredibly soon, so keep an eye here to catch the gameplay when it drops.
A new Age is upon us at #X019 pic.twitter.com/FISiP5LQLKNovember 13, 2019
How far along is Age of Empires 4's development?
Microsoft has been pretty tight-lipped about Age of Empires 4, including at E3 this year when we tried to needle Phil Spencer (Microsoft's EVP of gaming) for more info.
He did say that the game is "making good progress" and that Microsoft has been impressed by the capability of the team at Relic developing AoE4. Apparently Microsoft and Relic are both learning a lot about the AoE community's hopes for AoE4 thanks to the concurrent development of the Definitive Edition for Age of Empires 2, which is being developed by a brand new studio dedicated to Age of Empires.
Age of Empires 4 has the same composer as The Witcher 3
The Witcher 3 composer Mikolai Stroinski announced on his Facebook page in January 2019 that he'll be composing the soundtrack to Age of Empires 4. Perhaps this is a sign the game is making progress, and that we'll hear more about it soon.
Age of Empires 4 trailer: here's the reveal from 2017
This trailer is all we've seen of Age of Empires 4—it leaves the style of game totally open to interpretation, though we anticipate some mix between Relic's in-depth style of strategy with the resource-balancing and long tech trees of AoE.
Age of Empires 4 is being made by Relic, creator of Company of Heroes
Relic added a few words on its own website about Age of Empires 4 back when it was announced. "[We] couldn’t be more proud to be a part of the legacy," the blog post reads. "We can’t wait to tap into our strengths as a studio to fuse historical context with deep strategic gameplay, and to bring this franchise back to the forefront of gaming and into the hands of its beloved community."
Age of Empires 4 will be Relic's first game produced for a publisher other than Sega, its owner, since it was purchased by auction in the selling off of THQ's assets in 2013. Speculating, it's likely that Microsoft paid Sega for the right to work with Relic, as it probably did for Creative Assembly, the Sega-owned studio that developed Halo Wars 2.
In 2009 Microsoft disbanded Ensemble Studios, the original creators of Age of Empires, eight years after acquiring it in 2001.
When is Age of Empires 4 set?
Judging by the animated concept art in the trailer, Age of Empires 4 won't take the series to a singular new era. Instead, a variety of armies from previous games in the series are featured in the footage: Native Americans, British Redcoats, Roman legionnaires, Japanese samurai, and others. It's unclear whether these are the units or factions we'll control in Age of Empires 4. Hopefully they won't take the form of individually purchasable armies, as Relic did with Sega's Company of Heroes 2.
Age of Empires 2 and 3 remasters are also in the works
In other Age of Empires goings on, a remaster/remake called Age of Empires: Definitive Edition was released last year. It didn't blow us away, even though its revamped graphics looked nice, but it's not the only series revival on the horizon. Age of Empires 2 and 3 are also in the queue for a similar treatment. Expect those to arrive before Age of Empires 4 does, though neither has a release date either.
Finally, hat tip to Bill Gates, who presumably got this whole Age of Empires 4 thing rolling after answering this question in a Reddit AMA in March 2016: