Why not introduce a skin system like in Starcraft 1 and SC2? So you could change toy to real units skins.
Starcraft 2 and SC1 has a skin system
Here example of SC1 Remastered DLC^^
Carbot are a series of Starcraft cartoons and they were added as skin to the game.
Here as example the mecha Zerg, you can use online and in skirmish.
Those are skin from one of Co-Op commanders.
So why not add a skin system to AoE4? This way they could keep those em low polygon models and introduce along the way some units that look up-to-date.
As long it is civ based skins. I see why not.
Each civ will already have unique visuals for all their units to give variety, however I would also love to see an option for realistic skins. Even if they had to add an option to force default models for competitive games and for people who don’t want to get overwhelmed.
One the other hand Starcraft can get away with different sized and shaped creatures for its units due to its sci-fi theme, whereas AoE remained fairly grounded and is restricted to human shapes and sizes, plus cavalry. Which is why they made weapons so massive - it should help quickly differentiate unit types in the heat of battle.
They could’ve gone with more cartoony, stylised designs to differentiate unit types better, but I’m glad they haven’t.