Feedback on Anniversary Stream

Since this is the closest thing we have to a general forforum (at least not where I can post), I post my feedback on the anniversary stream here in hope its not completly out of place. I know its a bit late, but I forgot posting it :wink:

So there it is, the big anniverasy stream for Age of Empires. Overall, I feel underwhelmed.

For AoE4, it was only a reiteration of what was already released at this very moment. And the “Anniversary Edition” is a nutshell just a new name, or rather, post-fix for the game title and a price reduction. I’m not sure what this is for, my guess is it should fool unaware players into thinking its something new. Yes it accompanies a major update, but still it it feels like just relabeling it.

AoE2+4 coming to consoles: everytime I saw someone requesting that, I wanted to shout at them: You don’t want that. RTS with a controller has been tried many times, and the only time it worked was when the game was pur###### build for controller inputs, and that game was Halo Wars. But you can also see the difference to Age of Empires: no individual unit-control but squads, no #### #### building and very limited tech tree and general micro options. Its a very different game. And unless the console versions are changed similarly, it wouldn’t be fun. Age of Empires requires a lot of small, highly accurate interactions and has a complex user interface to manage it all, which would be tedious to use with a controller. Plus all in realtime, no time to be precise. I do UI programming and design for controller inputs for a game not designed for that on a daily basis, I know a lot of the pitfalls and that there usually are no easy answers, just tough compromises to make it somewhat viable.
We have to wait and see what that version will look and more importantly feel like. I suspect it will have the game and look and sound like Age of Empires, but will feel very different.
Note on that: There have been a couple of seconds of gameplay released by MajorNelson, including the way buildings are constructed: just place them, the nearest villagers will construct them automatically. There are the kind of changes that can drastically change how a game feels.

AoE on Mobile. Yep, because that is what your core gamers want. Worked well for Blizzard with Diablo Immortal. Fekking not. I just hope its not a cheap cash grab. Castle Siege died for a reason.

Now onto the big one: Age of Mythology Retold. The version lots of people (including me) were waiting for. The “Extended Edition” was more of an HD-Version and nothing close to a proper remaster. Plus there wasn’t really much “Extended”, so the title was mislabled (maybe not as bad as with Rise of Nations, were there was literally nothing “Extended”, but that is another story). Now finally AoM gets the treatment it deserves. Hopefully, because aside from a teaser without any information. No screnshots, no gameplay, no date, literally nothing. Again, we have to wait and see.

Oh, and some new DLC for AoE2DE. What was that “annoucement”? Seems like it was almost forgotten. Or accidentially leaked. Looks amateurish in a highly choreographed PR stream. Not event the key art was shown, I had to look it up later on twitter, nothing on the website. Putting AoE1-content into AoE2 seems like a nice idea, as especially the new triggers were a literal game changer for map ####### ### again, nothing more was said or shown.

Those twitch-voting-bits I really don’t get. But probably I’m too old for that to understand the appeal. The retrospecitve piece was nice, but honestly: most people watching the stream were already die-hard fans and should be aware of the history of Age of Empires.

To be honest, I liked the idea with the band playing historical songs and from the franchise. But that also says a lot about the rest of the stream with that was a “highlight”.

You might sense a theme there: “We have to wait and see”. Thats because there wasn’t anything actually shown. Now gameplay or even in-engine scene (which I don’t like much either), just some mood-teasers without any information. That AoM-thing? 10 Minutes in Blender, tops. Mobile? Even less. And the “anoucement” for the new AoE2DE DLC? Seems like it was almost forgotten and/or thrown in at the last minute. If it was at all intentional.

My guess is that the team saw that this big anniversary was coming up, which is an excellent time to show something new, but didn’t actually have anything. I can understand that, gamedev is hard and takes of lot of time got getting it right. But almost as imporant is the way it is presented to the players - lots can be gained or lost just by that. And in this case, it is most of the time a better idea to no say anthing and stay quiet until it is ready. I already questioned the marketing strategy for AoE4 with its tiny, cinematic snippets shown until very close to release. Not sure if this is even worse, but certainly not better.

Overall: D-, waste of time. Wait until you have something to actually show for.

I can only speak for myself but I’m looking forward to the console versions.

I’ve played a lot of RTS on console off and on over the years and some on PC. I feel if you are used to using a controller for it then it likely won’t be that big a deal, although for AOE I’ll likely use K/B and mouse.

I won’t have playtime for multiplayer so will primarily be solo unless my son likes it and we play against each other.

All in all I’m thinking it will be a good experience for me.