What we know so far regarding AOE4

I’ve been collecting stuff about AOE4 in a document, both clear statements and hints, but haven’t had the time of organizing it a bit to share it here. There was more, but I omitted everything that didn’t involve any official party.
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  • 21st August 2017

AOE4 is announced at Gamescom in Germany with art trailer and the following official info: developed by Relic Entertainment, PC and Windows 10 exclusive.

In addition, trailer drops massive hint it is going to remain historic, NOT futuristic. “It’s time to battle through history once more in the latest entry of the landmark Age of Empires franchise.”

Source: YouTube video - see official description/info bellow trailer, not actual trailer.

[…]

Relic Entertainment releases statement about intention to “fuse historical context with deep strategic gameplay” for AOE4.
Furthermore, it defines AOE as “known for its strategic gameplay founded on historical civilizations”.

Source: Relic News while 2nd quote is from the description of AOE on Relic’s fist page

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Quinn Duffy from Relic Entertainment is Game Director of AOE4. Has previously worked on the following titles: Homeworld, Impossible Creatures, Company of Heroes 1, Company of Heroes 1: Opposing Fronts, Space Marine, and as Game Director for Company of Heroes 2.
He had this to say about how he sees AOE games: “Nothing feels out of place, there’s these amazing holistic environments that players can get into, there’s deep levels of strategy, and always new things to explore and to learn. And when you have a nice big community there’s always people influencing how the game is played, how it changes over time, how the meta experience of the game evolves and it keeps them fresh year after year after year.”

Source: His LinkedIn profile and others, will not list exact links here because I consider them private, while the quote is from History of Age of Empires video YouTube min 09:39

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  • 28th August 2017 (although recorded right after Gamescom event)

Shannon Loftis, Microsoft Studios - General Manager, further clarifies AOE4 is going to remain historic and not futuristic, while also stating it’s not intended for Xbox release.

Interviewer: Will it always have to be historic or will we see the future one day? [about AOE4]
Shannon Loftis: I think there’s a lot of history that we haven’t explored, so let’s go ahead and get through human history first, and then we can talk about what comes next.
Interviewer: Any chance of Age of Empires ever getting on Xbox as well?
Shannon: We’re focusing on PC now because that’s really the heart of RTS and where RTS lives, but you know, never say never.

Source: Link with video min 08:45 (start from 07:00 for the whole part in English)

[…]

Adam Isgreen, Microsoft Studios — Creative Director on AOE4, RTS pioneer with an impressive CV, having worked on Command and Conquer and many other titles, is now working “on the Microsoft side making sure Age 4 is going to be a true Age of Empires game” and revealing that Relic “has been working for quite a while on Age4 [before official announcement].

Source: Same video min 09:50 + his LinkedIn profile for his CV
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  • 30th September 2017

Shannon Loftis, Microsoft Studios — General Manager, is interviewed by gamezone.de (translated with Google Translate) where she further emphasizes AOE4 is going to be a PC game by mentioning “a time when we can focus on Microsoft as a gaming company and not Microsoft as a console company, so the return to the Age of Empires brand was just right” and also “[…]because we know that the best input device for a game as complex as Age of Empires is mouse and keyboard, we focus exclusively on the PC.”, tries to alleviate fears about Relic’s style for fast real time strategy games with little or no base construction by saying “we are very aware of what makes Age of Empires great. […]It is absolutely the case that building a base and discovering the historical background is a big part of what makes Age to Age. We intend to remain absolutely true to these cornerstones.” Furthermore, she says they are focusing on “making the mouse and keyboard experience as good as possible and returning to the roots of Age of Empires”. Lastly, she mentions the 3 Definitive Editions for the previous games have “definitely different development teams” and they “would not hold Age 4 back for the other Definitive Editions, meaning they won’t necessarily be released in order.

Source: German written interview
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  • 6th October 2017

Quinn Duffy (AOE4 Director) and Carolina (AOE4 developer) mentioning AOE4 during a Homeworld 18th anniversary stream and some other RTS related things.
“I could see a return of the classics; else do you think we would develop Age of Empires 4? So I think there’s a good possibility real strategy games come back. I think things are cyclical, they improvised enormously in the 90s, and I think Relic is one of the few companies that do these kind of games.”Q. Duffy about classic RTS vs MOBA today.
“If you look on forums like Dawn of War’s or Blizzard’s you can see people saying we should go back to the roots of RTS when it was thriving in the 90s. Instead of establishing the genre for what is known, right now it is a genre that struggles to innovate within its own yard. You have to make sure you only do the right amount of innovation without changing the formula, like you see in these remasters.”Carolina about classic RTS vs MOBA today.
Source: Video and written down
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  • 1st December 2018

AOE4 developer Carolina talks about implementing a progressive system in their (Relic’s) games, probably AOE4 as well.
“We’re thinking a lot about progression in RTS games and how those systems could focus on helping players develop their skills. It would be great to build progression systems that actually help players get better at the game, not just arbitrarily leveling up or unlocking power. We believe this will create better value for a player’s time investment and be more meaningful, while respecting the competitive nature of our games.“
Source: Relic News
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  • 3rd January 2018

Relic employee expresses major concerns for the studio and their “next big game” (most likely referring to AOE4), doubting the game’s direction and the team’s cohesion. However, it is impossible to know for sure whether this was an official/legit review.
Source: Glassdoor
Discussed here: Forums thread
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  • No particular date

Relic lists job opening for Social Systems & Progression Game Designer among many others, to work on AOE4. One of the requirements for this position is: Experience designing progression systems and live economies.
If I’m not mistaken, ‘live economies’ suggests a microtransactions system for such a game - paying real money for in-game virtual goods. Unfortunately, this strengthens previous assumptions, explaining a potential (and unnatural) existence of a progression system in an RTS game, system which is often required to facilitate microtransactions.

Sources: Social Systems & Progression Designer job listing
All Relic’s job listings

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Adding that this game will be has progression system (that relic game has since coh 1, but we don’t know what will be has level progression) according to AOE 4 lead progression designer Carolina Mastretta and relic post about finding designer, that now how implent level progression to their games.

That’s right, I totally forgot about the Relic job announcements from greenhouse. I will update first post.

However, CoH1 did NOT have a progression system. The commanders panel during a match in CoH1 where you unlocked a doctrine and abilities was just a gameplay mechanic, similar to researching technologies in the university in AOE2 each game or going up to the imperial age. Anyone had access to those, while no one started the game with any.

A progression system is a system outside the actual game, it’s like a pre-customization, although it usually can be achieved inside the game through grinding or outside of it through microtransactions, and you can then always use it in game while others can’t. It’s a grind for better stats to support a microtransaction system. It is tied to the game’s Social System, hence that is also mentioned as a requirement for that role.
They are quite obviously trying to apply something like this to AOE4, unfortunately, and they have started doing it since Company of Heroes 2. For example if you start CoH2 afresh now, you won’t have only the lack of skill to be concerned with, but also the lack of similar pre-made stats/armies all other players already have. It ruins FPS games like Battlefield 4 in the long run, let alone an RTS where the point is to outsmart the opponent by starting with equal in game possibilities. Just imagine Starcraft or AOE2 with something like this… That being said, I seriously hope they reconsider or they just make it for some cosmetics or something.

in dow 2 we get in single players and the last stand with upping level hero new loot and customization, so is dow 2 has progression system too?

@“Vovchik Naletov” said:
Adding that this game will be has progression system (that relic game has since coh 1, but we don’t know what will be has level progression) according to AOE 4 lead progression designer Carolina Mastretta and relic post about finding designer, that now how implent level progression to their games.
https://www.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1981485878534205&id=100000184367937&ref=content_filter

Link not found So they deleted that post :slight_smile:

@KingDarBoja said:

@“Vovchik Naletov” said:
Adding that this game will be has progression system (that relic game has since coh 1, but we don’t know what will be has level progression) according to AOE 4 lead progression designer Carolina Mastretta and relic post about finding designer, that now how implent level progression to their games.
https://www.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1981485878534205&id=100000184367937&ref=content_filter

Link not found So they deleted that post :slight_smile:

Updated original post with that job ad, you can find it at the bottom. Unfortunately, that kinda suggests what I previously said on this forum, progression systems are usually tied to microtransactions nowadays, which used to be specific just to F2P games. They are looking for someone with experience in “live economies” for AOE4, which to me suggests microtransactions when it comes to an RTS/closed arena game.

Edited since I don’t want to bring unnecessary negativity.

@IamDalv said:
Updated original post with that job ad, you can find it at the bottom. Unfortunately, that link pretty much confirms what I previously said on this forum, progression systems are tied to microtransactions, which used to be specific just to F2P games. Yes, they are looking for someone with experience in “live economies” for AOE4, which means exactly microtransactions…

Here is a link describing the usual mechanisms behind microtransactions if you are having second thoughts: https://techcrunch.com/2015/08/05/how-to-build-a-smart-game-economy/
[…]Never start picking their pockets right from the get-go. Get the user collection hungry and spend-savvy; start them with a positive balance.

Now, i understand the big concerns about AOE4’s development…

@IamDalv said:
Updated original post with that job ad, you can find it at the bottom. Unfortunately, that link pretty much confirms what I previously said on this forum, progression systems are tied to microtransactions, which used to be specific just to F2P games. Yes, they are looking for someone with experience in “live economies” for AOE4, which means exactly microtransactions…

Here is a link describing the usual mechanisms behind microtransactions if you are having second thoughts: https://techcrunch.com/2015/08/05/how-to-build-a-smart-game-economy/
[…]Never start picking their pockets right from the get-go. Get the user collection hungry and spend-savvy; start them with a positive balance.

Now, i understand the big concerns about AOE4’

https://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/Employee-Review-Relic-Entertainment-RVW18568693.htm

Some clarifications by Microsoft would be really appreciate, don’t you think?

This is great, I missed a couple of those hints.

@nonlosojimmy said:

Now, i understand the big concerns about AOE4’

https://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/Employee-Review-Relic-Entertainment-RVW18568693.htm

Some clarifications by Microsoft would be really appreciate, don’t you think?

Relic already responded, you can read their response below the review.

@nonlosojimmy But they don’t want us to know, yet. The thread about it on this forum disappeared quite quickly.

[Mod hat on: Guys, I’ve taken a sacred oath to snuff out all alleged leaks, true or unwittingly misguided, from the forum. Please make my job easy.]

@“Andy P” said:
[Mod hat on: Guys, I’ve taken a sacred oath to snuff out all alleged leaks, true or unwittingly misguided, from the forum. Please make my job easy.]

Ok Sorry

"It would be great to build progression systems that actually help players get better at the game, not just arbitrarily leveling up or unlocking power. "

So they are going to slide a mandatory tutorial and or levelling system down our throats to “unlock power”? I really hope that they understand the core business of pvp and not force us to level anything for that. “■■■■ i can’t do pvp right now, i have to level the greeks up first”…