Age of Empires just celebrated its 25th birthday, and with it a cheeky little livestream that announced that both Age of Empires 2: Definitive Edition and Age of Empires 4 are coming to Xbox in 2023. Turns out that's pretty good news for us too, as the PC versions will be getting the extra goodies coming to console.
Both games will be getting cloud gaming support and, more excitingly, controller support and crossplay with our console friends. I can imagine contorting complex RTS controls onto a controller was no easy feat. In an Xbox News Wire post, director of customer voice at World's Edge Emma Bridle acknowledged that it was a "massive task," one which the developer "had to approach carefully and thoughtfully."
Bridle added that there'll be a new controller-specific tutorial added to the game, "paired with a new user experience for consoles" that should help those who favour a pad over the ol' keyboard and mouse. On top of that, both games will have "a new game AI which helps make resource management in a strategy game efficient and intuitive."
I'm always a fan of seeing more intricate control systems boiled down to simpler, streamlined forms, and I'm sure World's Edge has done a great job of making an RTS playable and enjoyable on a controller. Combine that with being able to play alongside fellow strategy nerds on Xbox and the whole thing's a pretty sweet deal. I'm sure most people will still opt for keyboard inputs—Xbox players will also be able to plug in a keyboard and mouse to play—but more options for varying comfort levels are never a bad thing.
The additions will come to PC when each game gets its respective console release. That's January 31, 2023 for Age of Empires 2: Definitive Edition and sometime later that year for Age of Empires 4. That wasn't all the fun AoE news in the livestream either—we're also getting a definitive edition of a very beloved spinoff in the near future. Neat!