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Age of Empires 4 briefly turned the Xbox showcase into a lecture about trebuchets

Age of Empires 4 achieved something remarkable at today's Xbox Gamescom showcase: It made Microsoft dedicate like ten minutes of its big show to an informative digression on trebuchets. This game knows its audience.

The video is made by Lion TV, a British TV production company that's made stuff for partners including the BBC, and who have travelled the globe gathering footage of experts talking about elements of the game. There will be a tonne of these videos in Age of Empires 4, covering subjects such as medieval surgery (sounds fun!), warfare and castle building, and odd topics like how archers kept flaming arrows from going out. It goes properly into medieval life, too, not just war, covering things like falconry, horse taming, and period instruments.

Back to the ultimate medieval siege weapon: As you'll learn above, trebuchets were used to "throw bee hives, even dead bodies... anything to cause maximum distress to the enemy."

You'll hopefully be able to do that yourself when Age of Empires 4 launches on October 28 on PC (it'll be free on Game Pass too). Something additional about AoE4 has been teased for Gamescom Live, and we'll be on it. Meantime, here's everything we know about Age of Empires 4.

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."