I’d say it is because both were mighty empires during our era who occupied different areas than the original 8 and that expand the reach of the game to better fill the shoes as a game focused on the best empires on the planet. A fifth European civ should wait
Clearly they went for two empires that enlarge representation of present-day populations. They didn’t look at historical importance much, or else Byzantines would have been added by now already. Basically every European and Muslim empire’s wet dream was to be like the Romans, something true also for the Ottomans.
As a history junkie who wrote the ‘First Context-Based AoE4 DLC Investigation’ to appraise the best DLC themes by historical context, interactions and storytelling, but also wrote the ‘Rise and Fall Civs Investigation’ to appraise and rank civs on their own merit based on a defined Criteria Set, I can say with authority the reason to introduce these 2 civs is…
They both ranked very high in ‘Rise and Fall’.
The Ottoman Empire ranked #1 and Mali ranked #5, both far ahead of public hype heavyweights like Spain #9, Aztecs #11, Chola #14 and Vikings #15.
Persians ranked #2, Byzantines #3 and Japan #4 though; Inca was #6.
Indulging AoE fans in cheap, hollow hype is ok. But gifting them the opportunity to open their eyes to different, less-known, often greater civs in history that shaped humanity, is far cooler and respects the tradition of a classic like AoE.
Religion was a factor for Crusaders (who ended up killing all religions).
But definitely it was not a factor here, as the religion-tolerant Ottoman Empire was allied with (Christian) France, Sweden and the Netherlands while engaging in constant bloody wars against (major Muslim power) Persia, and prided itself on religious freedom, even allowing each religious community to write their own different Civil / Family Laws (only human society ever to allow so).
Mali’s most important wars were against (equally Muslim) Songhai and Morocco, and had friendly trade with Christian Ethiopia.
Something also true for the Byzantines considering they’re Greek and not Latin.
They might have seen themselves as Roman but they definitely weren’t considering they definitely didn’t resemble what the Roman Empire once was (Latin speaking, Polytheistic for a huge part of their glory days and roughly twice the size among other things)
Just to mention it, it’s a quite funny and sad situation to hear a lot of civs in Civ 6 claiming to be the Roman Empire, especially when Rome is part of the match XD
Anyway, I think Byz are likely to happen considering how frequently they’re requested.
Personally, I’d prefer an American civ first. Would be interesting to see the AOE4 design for them.
The Mali empire was the fourth largest empire in the planet during this era. The Ottomans were enormous and enormously important. Had they not taken Constantinople and cut off Europe from the Silk Road, Europe would have had little reason to sail west looking for India. If you are looking for civs to make current players feel happy, look no further than the English and Rus.
Umayyad caliphate conquered Iberia. So the caliphate is an “European-Middle Eastern” civ, by your thinking.
No, Umayyad has zero European-ness. It is Middle Eastern.
Golden Horde conquered Rus. So Golden Horde is an European-Asian civ, according to you.
No, Golden Horde has zero European-ness. It is Asian.
Your observation is unrelated to this classification.
Ottomans is not European only.
It lasted centuries in the meeting point of three continents and later expanding in all three continents, slowly creating a new hybrid blend of cultures and civilizations. Central Asia, Middle East and Europe simultaneously.
So yes, the only correct classification for Ottomans is the (only one) intercontinental civ.
It may seem academic but does have big influence in choosing next civs.
I am not suggesting any of those are a combination. I am pointing out that calling the Ottomans the only “intercontinental civ” is silly. There are a couple people here (and at least 1 person with multiple accounts) though that like to constantly refer to the Turks/Ottomans as the only one of a lot of things and the greatest thing ever. Usually with a weird nationalistic vibe.