Since AoE 2 DE came out, AoE 2 HD hasn’t received another patch. While I understand moving on to the next project is the primary focus of publishers and developers, AoE 2 is owned by a huge number of people using Steam, and the game is lacking one critical feature for future usability.
In AoE 2 HD, there is no option to choose which resolution to run the game at, and the game defaults to the PC system’s native desktop resolution. And the higher the resolution, the more zoomed-out the player perspective is (so everything appears smaller while more is visible on the screen), and the smaller the UI is. At 4K, it’s basically unreadable and extremely hard to play with because the buttons are incredibly tiny.
If an option to select the resolution to run the game at, or if the viewport distance was fixed regardless of the resolution the game is running at (which it should be, if for no other reason than fairness and balance for multi-player) and the UI was always the same size regardless of the resolution being played at, then AoE 2 HD would be future-compatible.
I don’t see a reason it wouldn’t be in Microsoft’s own interest to do this, as the fix is likely very little work for someone to do. And AoE 2 HD isn’t cutting into the sales of AoE 2 DE and isn’t a replacement for AoE 2 DE, and AoE 2 DE isn’t a full replacement for AoE 2 HD, either.
Also, AoE 2 DE and AoE 2 HD are priced exactly the same on Steam. So, by making AoE 2 HD future compatible with a resolution and UI scaling fix, that can only serve Microsoft by making it more attractive for people to buy both AoE 2 releases rather than just the only one that is playable on higher resolutions.
Since they’re both the same price, Microsoft doesn’t stand to lose or gain something if people buy one or the other. And there’s only less incentive to buy both when one has a simple-to-fix but interfering issue with the resolution and UI scaling.
Additionally, I think it would be in-line with Microsoft’s Xbox division’s new gamer-centric operational philosophy, which has been touted by Phil Spencer and shown in various Microsoft decisions such as bringing Microsoft’s games to Steam and pledging to do simultaneous console and PC launches for new titles.
AoE 2 HD really just needs this one simple fix to be a solidly accessible game indefinitely into the future, and for those who own it to continue being able to enjoy playing it. And it seems like fixing the high resolution issue would be a win-win situation for Microsoft, AoE 2 HD owners, and other players who want to try AoE 2 in both the DE and original style. So, I hope this will be done for it, and for its fans, as well as for Microsoft. Thanks for reading.