An open letter of aestethics and visuals

Dear Forgotten Empires

first of all i want to say thank you for supporting the beloved franchise of Age of Empires for so many years. I loved every new DLC, every little update, the HD and the Definitive Edition and everything Age of Empires has become through your hard work and passion. I’m a fan of Age of Empires since my childhood. Age of Empires was one of the very first pc games my eyes ever saw and i instantly loved everything about it.

I know this topic is not directly new but i really feel the need to share my thoghts with you, the developers (if someone will read this), and every passionated fan here.

I’m happy about every new civilization, every new campaign, everything new to the game. But now we are standing here, right before the release of the fifth expansion after the Definitive Edition release. Since this day we’ve got not one single new architecture set, not one regional better fitting default unit skin (villagers, trash units, knights, crossbows etc.) besides the trade carts, not one new tree or something like that (if i’m not wrong) and besides the fact that unique castles for new civs are very cool they feel unfair to older civs that share one castle with many other civs.

Don’t get me wrong. I love everything yo’ve done to the game. I just feel like i’m at a point where i’m not happy about new civs anymore. Not because the new civs are not cool or not a good addition to the game, but simply because i want visual diversity even more. It feels like at this point not one single aspect of the game should get more work power or attention than this one. Because with so many civs in the game i want to see them. I want too feel playing japanese people and not europeans building chinese restaurants for example. I don’t want to play a game with 8 different civilizations building the exact same buildings, and i don’t want Huns and Vikings building german ‘‘Fachwerkhäuser’’ anymore. It might be presumptuous to say ,i want this’’ or something like that. I don’t want to judge anyone and i know i’m just a customer at the end. But i don’t think im alone with that feeling and i know it would make the game so much richer without rebalancing anything.

  • new architecture sets
  • a unique castle design for EVERY civ
  • regional fitting unit visuals for every unit

The Age of Empires 2 Definitive Edition is such a beatiful game. It deserves a big visual update like that.

I’m playing this game with my friends for years. near to every day ends with a match age of empires with a friend for years. We love playing against self-scripted AI player on our self-scripted random maps. Yes, we are more casual players. I don’t speak for competitive online players or pro gamers. But i think every Age of Empires fan would look at an visual update like that and think , wow, looks cool’'.

I just want to share this thoughts and feelings about a game that follows me like my whole life.

Sincerely yours,
just a customer

And sorry for my bad english


(Writes in perfect English) “And sorry for my bad english”


I think that every game has some kind of forced limit where it should stop. Not because we don’t want even more variety, but because authors don’t have endless resources. Ideally, I would also like to see each race unique, and something like this was done in AoE 4, but we have 40 races here and making everything unique is almost impossible. In addition, mastering such a game would take a VERY long time. I understand your claim and request, but personally it doesn’t hurt me that many nations are more or less unified. I would go crazy if I had to memorize 40 markets, 40 shooting ranges, 40 forges.
Separation of umbrella civilizations, more skins, more unique units - yes. But I don’t understand why everything should be THAT diverse. I really think there must be 6-7 ethnic skins for workers and 5 priest skins. But not 40.


haha thank you. I gave my best :slight_smile:

I absolutely get you point. I’m not speaking about unique unit skins and an own architecture set for every single civ. I’m more talking about (i don’t know) maybe one architecture set for 3 civs, one unique castle for every civ (like the new civs since DE) and regional units like the trade carts (european, asian, arabian, african, american) or something similar.


central asian came with DE as a new set
mediterranean was completely redone for DE

this would be quite controversial as it would (probably) reduce visibility

you are. with definitive edition and then again with lords of the west (source: aoe2 wiki)

i think unique castles would be cool, they are probably quite easy to distinguish visually anyway, regional unit visuals I would be very careful about, I still want to be able to recognize stuff. to a lesser degree this also applies to buildings, I already find it quite hard to recognize buildings of some of the newer civs sometimes (with the south east asian set in particular)


I was talking about everything after the DE release, not directly with the DE release. For the trees, i guess that’s my fault. The regional unit visuals should be clearly recognisable as the unit they are. That’s absolutely right. But it’s possible (especially in the detailed but still minimalistic art style of the game). Games like Age of Empires 4 are an good example that something like this is possible. And at the end there would be mods for competitive players that make every unit look like before. Or maybe even a ingame setting for that.


I think the ideal example is what was done to the Indian races. Before the game, I didn’t even know about the composition of their peoples or that they were different in any way. But divided nations didn’t became completely unique - they still have a lot in common. I think it’s the perfect balance between diversity and similarity within a game like this. Moreover, it is obvious that several Indian peoples will be more similar to each other than to representatives of other groups. And so within each group. Several Turkic races, several Islamic, several American, Asian… We need to concentrate on the differences between them. I myself wrote a topic about how knights need to be renamed and recolored into several archetypes for these groups (but not for every race). But I don’t believe in the uniqueness of each nation’s castle.

You speak out from my soul, thank you for that. I am also at this point now, where I will not buy any new civ expansions, such as the upcoming Caucasus DLC, because furthermore new architecture graphics for several civs will still ignore in the for certain players important areas like units and buildings.

It is to be hoped, that Microsoft will correct this course as soon as possible, but they will maybe only do that, if their naked civ expansion DLCs are no longer purchased as often as to now. What important about the whole thing is, that we have people like you in this forum, who express their displeasure about it. I think Microsoft will only listen, if forum entries about the matter are made again and again.


No one wants a different skin for elite uus?


While were at it, bring back unique UI art for each civ.


Yes please! The current architecture-based UI just seems so lazy. Unique UI for each civ gave them more personality.


We had it in the original AoK and in HD, so it’s a bit disappointing that the “Definitive” edition of the game downgrades this aspect of the art.


ah, fair enough, I misunderstood

games like aoe4 are the reason I am worried. I tried watching it and can’t distinguish units

if this comes for free I think it’s fine, the issue is if it is a paid DLC. because then how do you deal with mods? basically this dlc would be a paid mod, I reckon they would stop you from making your own mods giving each civ unique architecture
a better solution might be to allow modding of the architecture of individual civs

this is something i can get behind, something that actually improves gameplay


i support this to 100%.
new architectual sets would be neat. I really dislike the overuse of the slavic and mediterranian sets. i also dislike the underuse of the african and central asian architecture. i think more diversity in building desings would please my eyes a lot (even more in team games).

i really dislike discountinuity, which is clearly there in the castle designs of aoe2. some civs get fancy new castle designs while others dont. i know that this approach started with the dlcs for the definitive edition but why not give epic new castle designs to older civs aswell? it would strengthen every single civs identity by a lot.

one thing i want to add are unique monk designs, like the american civs have. again big discountinuity for no logical reason (especially when considering that the models are already in the game).
i heavily enjoyed the redesign of some trade carts. that was an epic move :smiley:


Yes please. This takes very little effort (compared with units and architecture sets). It could be done over time, but I’d really appreciate it.

As long as it’s optional, I don’t see the problem. Furthermore, if they are sold as micro-DLCs, it could be a good way to keep the game financed without adding new civs forever.


I wholeheartedly agree with this. All the civs using standard units with European style graphics (ex. Aztec champions) just looks odd and breaks the immersion. I also second the motion to release them as skins or micro-DLCs, something like an “Immersion Pack” say for Aztecs, where they get unique architecture, unit graphics, UI, and possibly even background music. It would be glorious.

Some people really want this and are willing to pay for it, and I myself will gladly support the devs. A menu option for not seeing the DLCs would solve the problem for some people who will have a hard time identifying which is which. People from the modding community have been doing this for years and for free, so I still don’t understand why this not happening yet. It would make fans happy, and the game will earn and grow more.

I really hope so, one day. This is my ultimate wish. Devs please :smiley:


I guess I have to link my thread again: [poll] Cosmetic DLC

The majority of people want regional units and some are even willing to pay for it.
Maybe I should make a new version of the poll considering that AoE3 got a lot of new unique unit skins in a free patch recently.
Why can AoE3 get those things all the time while AoE2 doesn’t?
AoE2 has like 3x times as many players as AoE3 does, so why does AoE3 get more content?


Trading skins is game falling into hell.

1 Like