As someone which played Age of empires since childhood and went on studying history : The preview of the game doesn't feel right


I discovered history with 2 games during my childhood. Mainly Age of empires and Caesar III. I was a child but enjoyed a lot the games.

I loved discovering history threw the campaign, but what i enjoyed the most, was learning some rough aspects from medieval architecture and from medieval military.

I play mainly strategy games. I played every single aoe with aom, The settlers IV, Caesar, Starcraft 2, Stronghold, Total war, Rise and fall civilizations at war (which is an excellent and actual free game), Star wars galactic battlegrounds, Empire At War, Battle for the middle earth and so on. I played Age of empires online too.

What made me consider loving history was the roman legions and learning that legionnaries built roads and bridges impressed me. I was fascinated by how well the roman armies were organised. Then i felt in love with greek architecture and hoplites. Well i love the ancient aspects of society and the material part of it : Buildings, weapons, armors, clothes. Those are visual and by a lot.

Then I went on studying History Archeology and Geography. I learnt about the Celts and the Hallstaat and La Tène (Iron Age) periods.

When i saw that a New Age of empires was coming i was quite happy. But when i finally saw what you showed us some weeks ago i must admit that i was a little bit disappointed. Here is why :

  • Units seem to be totally out of place because of the way they are designed.

  • Weapons are unrealistically scaled (i don’t know if it was done for visbility but it disturbs the eyes quickly). Swords seem to be too thick at the handle (they were but not as much), Some spears are way too thick. One example of this is the halberd it looks so thick and large on pikemen. Look at the difference :

  • The swords are shaped like in a cartoon. Specially on the scouts they are way too thick near the handle it makes them look specially cartoonish.

  • The helmets on swordsmen are gold/yellow. Most of the medieval equipment was iron and sometimes steel please correct this and use silver all the time ( I believe you did this to show units upgrading). It would be better like that : imagine that a swordsman without upgrade should at least have Mail, next Gmabeson and finally plate armor as it upgrades.

men at arms

  • Shields have historical issues. For example you decided to use the cross of st George symbol for the english. But I don’t think it is accurate. As we know most of the knights used the coat of arms of their lords. If you want to say it is england and to be accurate use at least the coat of arms of the english crown :


Same for the french. Don’t use a cross, use a triple fleur de Lys. Here is a painting of the 100 hundred year war :

  • the design of the units seem to be quite weird it’s an inbetween cartoonish and realistic. I think that’s the main issue. The landscape looks amazing and quite realistic but the units with their cartoonish look seem out of place. I mean if you decide to go cartoonish go then full cartoonish like the settlers :

By the way i know it is 2d but the reflections on metal look better on this game than in AoE IV x)…

My opinion is that there shouldn’t be an in between on graphics. You don’t know which audience to focus on ? Well keep in mind when i was 7-8 years old i liked the realistic graphics of AOE i would never have prefered a cartoonish age of empires.

For me History is reality and it isn’t fiction. Age of Empires should be the representative of history in video games and because of this it should look realistic and not cartoonish. I know it is just my opinion.

However look at this :

Which is the only Age of empires to go cartoonish ? Age of empires Online. Where is Age of Empires Online Now ? People didn’t like the art style and the gameplay. But a lot of people strugled with it to be cartoonish. What hapenned ? the game failed. And despite of this Units were way more detailled and beautifully designed that in Age of Empires IV.

Another think i want to say is look at age of empires online : How can units from an old game be more detailled than the units in a 2021 game ?

This old game graphics seem way more polished than AoE IV.

The gameplay of aoe IV seems nice however as Age of empires online showed us it is not enough at all…

My advice is this one :

  • DELAY and Postpone Launchment or the game will not be a success.

  • Rework graphics decide to go full cartoon or full realistic.

  • Scale realistically weapons to realistic sizes.

  • add more details to the units.

  • change the main symbols of the civilisations for their real coat of arms.

  • contact the community, there are many historians and archeologist within our ranks we can help you to improve historical accuracy / reliability.


" As we were leaving Vancouver i was really really optimistic about the direction and vision were age of empires was going. Now over the couple past of years, the community council we have playe dthe game on multiple occasions and given feedback to let them know what we feel in order to help them devellop the game. Obviously there are things that there are taken into account other not. You can’t blame me if you don’t like the game. Snake not impressed ? I will admit that the first 2-3 times i played it i found the game very slow but the last time i played it my excitement rised a lot. "

It seems way better and it is good but when he talks about how the feedback was taken into account he had some sad face and then when someone said snake not impressed and he answered you could see that there was something not going as excepted. But he has faith that relic will improve the game and i hope so.

you can see on his face when he says that many things weren’t taken into account that he seems a little bit sad. But it seems to have improved a lot so he gets excited.

If you do this i’m sure it will be a success. But as microsoft will not want to spend more money on developping the game i’m sure that it will not be done…

That’s sad…


They have a big problem, either they decide to appeal to RTS players or they will appeal to everyone ( no one) that’s the issue here… With DOW lll they decided to appeal to everyone ( mobs players, RTS players and cartoon lovers ) at the end DOW lll is the biggest Relic failure… and age IV is following the same patterns… it will still sell a lot of will it retain it’s player base? Don’t think so…

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This readability thing comes from mobas, on those game you will have a lot of spells at the same time so they do things to see clearly but this won’t apply to RTS… We never needed this back then and we don’t need it nowdays…

Thanks for the honest opinion. I’ll have to agree with many of your points.

That’s interesting, can you send the source of this?

I think he said that during a streaming or during his reaction video to aoe IV. He said that he played the game and had to give his oppinion and how they should improve the game and he said that they didn’t seem to agree with him for some things. He seemed a little bit skeptical about this.

Well he is a “pro” and he plays age2 so any change to gameplay the will be sceptical, most of the people that will play the game are not pros and if the game is good ( doubt so) it eventually will have pros… That’s the normal process for any other RTS, may pros from sc were unable to play sc2 I don’t remember any single sc1 pro wining anything in sc2

This is sad imho.

Opinions about graphics are fine, but as you proofed already by your impressive list you are not too selective when it comes to playing RTS games and it’s graphical styles.
Do you get get the hypocrisy of your rant here?

Personally I like the pastel painting like environment style with great contrast in all units, buildings and their actions. Slightly visually impaired might have more fun with this version, just an example given.

Finally don’t forget that all AOE games are distinctly different in their graphics and game play as well and all versions have their dedicated pro players.

They would have disappointed me if AOE IV would be another AOE DE but this time with extremely detailed graphics like most other RTS games these days.

I like it that they think different and refuse to judge a game on graphics. Anyway if the gameplay sticks to you, it will be a succes, either you like the graphics or not.


i’m perhaps too selective however i think that Age of Empires Online showed that a big part of the Age of Empires community isn’t enthousiasmed by cartoonish graphics. You should learn about what happened to age of empires online. Don’t get me wrong, i play a lot of RTS. The settlers IV is one of the best rts of all time however in the settlers case the unit design matches the landscape. And for the historical accuracy in aoe IV it seem to become dull… Aoe became somehow reknown for it since the 2 and it became better in terms of historical units in the 3…


Uhum. I played AOE Online probably the longest of all and was very disappointed when they pulled the plug on it, so there you go again with your wrong assumptions.

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TheViper actually said that he’s getting really enthousiastic about AoE4 in his fan preview movie. So I don’t believe it is accurate to say that they are not listening to pro’s and that he is very sceptical.

Personally I like the game a lot and I am looking forward to it. In addition, how can we say the game will not be a succes when we haven seen any really gameplay yet? Should we not first see a 1v1 pro showmatch and afterwards decide what we think of the game?


" As we were leaving Vancouver i was really really optimistic about the direction and vision were age of empires was going. Now over the couple past of years, the community council we have playe dthe game on multiple occasions and given feedback to let them know what we feel in order to help them devellop the game. Obviously there are things that there are taken into account other not. You can’t blame me if you don’t like the game. Snake not impressed ? I will admit that the first 2-3 times i played it i found the game very slow but the last time i played it my excitement rised a lot. "

you can see on his face when he says that many things weren’t taken into account that he seems a little bit sad.

Someone even said Snake not impressed ? because of his face and sayings when he explained they were part of the experiment.

are y’all gonna bring in the same dumb argument of aoeo again? the game didn’t fail because of it’s artstyle, the game failed because of the garbage microtransaction it had and the unbalanced matchmaking and unbalanced item mechanic for units, and the low amount of civs on release (like 2 civs), and the game was pretty much a pay to win.the game had nearly over 700k active player on release.

so no the game didn’t fail because of the artstyle it failed because of other many reasons, here this video explains so well

and have this video too

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. (dot) :wink:

As it’s still played today as we speak (and got so much better in the meanwhile).


agreed i love playing project celeste time to time and it’s so much better without the microtransaction and other garbage that the original game had, and i really love the romans civ and i appreciate the work they have put into the project and they all doing it for free!

the project and other videos criticizing the game proves if aoeo were to have
-free to play currency (i didn’t understand why did they make a f2p game without a way to play it for free)
-more civs and content at launch (like i will be fine with 4 civs)
-less pay2win mechanic
-faster production of new content
-balanced matchmaking
-not locking basic gamemodes (like skirmish mode) behind a booster pack (like seriously i didn’t understand why they locked basic age of empire feature behind a paywall)

and many more to name then it would have been a successful age of empire game, but too sad they went with the wrong direction and the game died because of it.

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You never know what the future of AOE brings. 20 years is a long march after all anyway. I’m always in for more AOE as it’s nice to switch between the versions. Yet, everyone will have their own favorite one or two versions of this game. If that number gets to three or more by reviving the franchise I would say mission succeeded already.

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It helps their argument, so they ignore the real reason why the game flopped


Cartoon game design is also very good. RTS games need new highlights. If the game blindly follows the real model, it will be a bit boring and lifeless. For example, StarCraft, Warcraft, the game is more cartoon, but does not prevent these two games become classic, get everyone’s love and high praise. Now in the age of Empire, games need innovation to keep their vitality and classic.

The cartoony style of AoEO also alienated a lot of the fans of the franchise, myself included and many others I know. So while it was not the main factor, it was one of the factors for some too.
This is not to say AoE4 has the same style, I said my opinion about this before.

The same can be said for Aoe3 graphics, which, like many people have said, was ahead of its time and not many people were able to run it smoothly.
You, BelatedLemur1, and Jimmy are all the only ones that I think know what they are talking about, others make hypocritical statements imo. Like saying Aoe0 failed because of cartoon graphics, but ignore the fact that not that many people could play Aoe3 when it came out because of how graphic heavy it was.

I don’t see what you are seeing. TheViper only said that some things are not taken into account, which is logical ofcourse. I don’t see a large dissapointment on his face either.

Concluding from this talk I see him state things like Relic really did his homework to make a proper game, development was noticable, his excitement grew a lot (he emphasizes it himself with his hands even) and he is very optimistic about the game now. And in half a year time we could be palying aoe4 on his channel. To me Viper doesn’t seem negative at all.