Diverse Pigmentation proposal for AoE II: DE Units

This is my proposal for the implementation of diverse skin pigmentation for the civilizations of Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition. Although making whole new models for the units of different civilizations might be a bit of a tall order for the development team, I think changing the skin and hair colors of the models already in the game would be enough to convey ethnic diversity. The pigmentation sets I propose are as follows:

Blond: For Northern European civilizations (e.g. Vikings, Lithuanians, Celts, and Teutons). Admittedly the least necessary of the sets, but I wanted to see my own hair color represented in the game.

Brunette: The one already in the game. Would work for Central and Eastern Europeans (e.g. Britons, Slavs, Maygars, Franks, and Bulgarians).

Olive: For Southern Europeans (Italians, Spanish, Byzantines, Portuguese, Sicilians, and Turks) and East and Central Asians (Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Mongols, Huns, Cumans, and Tatars).

Bronze: For West Asians (Saracens and Persians), Southeast Asians (Khmer, Vietnamese, Burmese, and Malay), and Native Americans (Aztec, Maya, and Inca).

Mahogany: For Northern Africans (Ethiopians and Berbers*) and North Indians (Hindustanis, Bengalis, and Gurjaras).

Ebony: For Africans living closer to the equator (e.g. Malians) and South Indians (e.g. Dravidians).

(*) Berber-speakers actually come in a broad range of skin tones, from olive to ebony, but I chose mahogany as a sort of median or average for them. A better alternative, if possible, would be to have them randomize skin tones so that some would be lighter and others would be darker to better reflect their diversity.


I Don’t think we need to change hair color, just skin color is fine.

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Maybe the blond set could go if it’s too much unnecessary trouble, but the darker people should have black instead of light brown hair at least.

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i would love this, in conjunction with the other guy’s post, i think the outfits have more of an impact than actual-specific-to-the-last-pigment, skin colour

maybe the community is finally ready to accept new vil skins? but wondering how many will actually pay for it


I would like regional skins for villagers as well as for monks but I think that could become something out of control and become a racist subject
Just change the clothes would be a better approach IMO

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I dunno, white skin on African and Indian civs would always interfere with immersion even if they had culturally appropriate attire.

As said in the Reddit thread, changing Villagers is probably the hardest out of all units (which is why Trade Carts for example came first). I’d expect Monks to be second, perhaps even coming with the next DLC, who knows?

But overall, I also heavily support this idea, though I don’t think hair colour changing is as important - rather just skin. Not sure why this would become a racist topic either, if anything it shows more representation which is always more welcome (and makes the game more immersive).


I get what you mean, but it may not be as hard as some people might think. I believe the DE artists use textured 3D models which they animate before converting into 2D sprites. Change the textures for the models before processing their animations into sprites and a lot of the work would have been done for them. It wouldn’t be like they would have to change each 2D sprite manually.

In the end even if it is very time consuming to make, it’s still not impossible, so down the line at some point, I’m expecting to see regional varieties in skins anyway.


The best thing would be to have regional skins for Champions, Knights, Cavaliers, Crossbowmen and Arbalest
The most commonly used millitary units, which are totally europeanized for all in-game civs…

That’s the first place we should hit at


Yeah, I think those are easier to be developed, though I think depending on how the regional skins are made (saw someone saying Aztecs Champions make no sense to be in that armour for example), a potential problem is just game readability. As long as you can tell that particular unit is that particular unit, I’m all for regional skins for everything.

I suppose Trade Carts were the easiest to start with for that reason too, probably Monks are the next best target. 11


It infuriates me that all non-european civs are using completely european looking millitary units…

Atleast Villagers are generic enough with a medium skin tone, not too white not too black, and their clothes are generic too, found in many cultures. So the villagers do not bother me.
The monks are rarely seen in big numbers, so that doesn’t bother me either.

The best move in this direction would be to create regional skins for “non power unit” Champions, and the two “power units” Knights and Crossbows.

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Ah I agree with this, but the main problem is the default villager model is wearing European clothing. It just looks odd. But I do think after all this time AOE2 should update its Eurocentric models and introduce some diversity for the units, both villagers and military units.

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I like these. And I think it is possible, since the devs added regional skins for trade carts. But I think it would be quite time consuming, because they would had to create animations for all actions of each new villager skin, but not just the default version, also for the farmer, miner, hunter, gatherer, etc.
First I would like to see regional monks, having a catholic priest for all but the american civs has always felt odd.


This one is something they should do. They have some monk models in game and just need to add a couple more (Indian, African, Southeast Asian, Orthodox)

It won’t be a bad idea to have regional looks for monks and villagers if it can be turned on and off.


Yes, I am all for diverse villagers and monks. I imagine the thing that’s been holding them back (other than the technical aspects) is that it’s probably like opening Pandora’s box. Once you have ethnically appropriate “civilian” units, will it be jarring or strange to have the military without any ethnic variability? Will it be strange to play the Malians with African villagers but European archers? They probably have to plan for what the future looks like in the graphics department.

If more regional skins gets added, that’s fine, as long as I can turn it off.
Having things as readable as possible in multiplayer is very important to me.


These would look neat and not confusing unlike other villager skin suggestions I have seen.

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It would be nice, but as some have said, it would be excruciatingly time consuming to do for the amount of villager animations. In addition to possibly altering the game’s performance for purely aesthetic reasons. Easier to make only unique castles and monks.