Age of Empires games seem to follow some patterns in the civs they choose. In my experience playing the five major AoE games, I would suggest the following criteria is pretty universal:
Era : How much does the civ overlap in the timelines of the existing civs?
Historical Significance : During the game’s era, how much of an impact did the civilization have in population, land area, length of dominance, cultural importance, etc.
Location : Is the civ generally located near our existing civs without overlapping too much on their territory? Did the civ interact with existing civs in significant ways?
Name recognition and curb appeal : Does the civ have a well-known name that generates excitement? Does the civ have well-known branding of art, architecture, and units?
Distinct Visuals : Would the civ be visually unique in its art, architecture and units and otherwise lend itself to readability by players?
Playstyle and Design : Would the civ provide an opportunity to introduce enjoyable and fitting new ideas, units, buildings, techs, and gameplay into the game? Would the civ fit into the game with regards to playstyle, design, and strategy without stepping on the toes of other civs?
We know that civs in AoE4 are supposed to be asymmetric, at least as compared to AoE2. Since asymmetric civs require unique buildings, units, techs, and gameplay features, there is a necessary tension between that high level of quality of civ design and the total quantity of civs that any game can have. Similarly, we know there are 8 civs at launch, which is the same number as AoE3, a full five fewer than the 13 launched with AoE2, and one more than was originally planned in Age of Empires Online. (Age of Mythology launched with either 9 or 3 civs, depending on how you count.)
Meanwhile, AoE2’s original run finished with a total of 18 civs and AoE3’s original run finished with 14 civs.
If I’d guess, the Devs have around 14-16 civs in mind for the foreseeable future.
Of the 8 civs at launch, we know of 6. Assuming we end up with 16 civs, that means we have 10 more to go.
Lots of players around here offer lots of suggestions for civs, but I rarely encounter anyone tackling the question from a wider perspective, which is how a developer presumably would. So I am curious to see how people would fill out a full roster of 16 civs in AoE4.
I will go first. For ease of reference, I made a chart of the largest empires sorted by population (based on the best information I could fine). The existing announced civs are in yellow. My selections are in blue.
I think one more civ from release may be on this list which would have to bump another one off.
I think a DLC with Spain, Aztec and Mayans would be fun, Inca if they could… honestly not sure if they belong simply because their best architecture is far advanced and unknown really if they built it or just repaired parts of it. So I would have Spain for them.
I hope the rest are included.
even with 8 civs game is going to need over 50GB space… how much more would all the DLCs add?
Spain is a close call, for sure. I excluded them just because with four civs in Europe, it was already super crowded. It’d be an overall loss to asymmetry and gameplay to have too many civs from one region.
I do not think geology has as much to do with asymmetry as other factors. And with all civs having the same basic unit types with different skins and strengths I think that term is over inflated. AOE3 is arguably the most asymmetrical but still all its start civs were Euro Civs.
I see it more about historical strength and significance to the outer world. its a shame to have to leave anything out.
I’m afraid we’ll get like 50% European civilisations again over all.
4/8 on release and than about every second civilisation that gets added to the game.
When were lucky the Expansions are more exotic.
I’m hoping for about 1/3 Europeans in the long run. It seems more likely than 1/4 Europeans.
The Rus are basically confirmed for AoE4.
The banner of the game shows a Russian looking person and there were some Russian voice lines in the trailer.
I don’t think they have planned beyond the first DLC and are more locking at the reactions of the playerbase.
What civilisations are how popular, what kind of civilisations specific mechanics do people like and what is the popular demand for civilisations. But also something that is fun to explore for the devs, like something that is completely different compared to what the game already has.
Poland and Bohemia were very likely added to AoE2 because of popular demand for example while the African Expansion for AoE3 is likely done because that’s something the devs wanted to explore themselves. A continent that was untouched by the original developers, something they can completely create on their own.