New Age of Empires 2 HD expansion out this week

Age of Empires 2 HD: The African Kingdoms

To say it's unusual for a 16-year-old game to get a new expansion is more than a bit of an understatement. And to be fair, that's not precisely what's happening with The African Kingdoms, the Age of Empires 2 expansion that was announced (but not named) in April: It is in fact an expansion to the HD remake that hit Steam in 2013. To-may-to, to-mah-to, I suppose. The important part is that it'll be out in a couple of days.

The African Kingdoms features four new campaigns—the Malians, Berbers, Ethiopians, and Portuguese—all of which are fully voice-acted. Naval combat has been rebalanced and now features two new units, the Fire Galley and Demolition Raft, as well as a unique new naval unit for one of the four kingdoms. (Which one of them remains a secret because reasons.) A new Sudden Death mode that appears to be a "fight until you die" type of experience has also been added.

Developer Forgotten Empires said in a separate blog post in October that The African Kingdoms will bring the same balance updates, generic technologies, and units to Age of Empires 2 HD as The Forgotten, the fan-made mod that became an official expansion in 2013, and vice versa: Owners of The Forgotten will get the African Kingdom units and balance changes, even if they don't own the new expansion.

Age of Empires 2 HD: The African Kingdoms will be out on November 5.

Andy Chalk

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.