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Is Microsoft Developing a New Age of Empires?

A job offering over on LinkedIn (opens in new tab) seems to suggest that Microsoft is looking for talent to work on a new Age of Empires title. The company hasn't officially announced the development, but the portion of the job listing stating that it's a "well-loved strategy game franchise" has the rumor wheels turning. We haven't seen an Age of Empires title on the PC since the third installment and its two expansion packs.

"Microsoft Studios is looking for a highly experienced senior games developer to help build and lead the team for a new AAA title within an established and well-loved strategy game franchise," reads the job description. "This role reports directly to the Director of Development / Head of Studio. Your primary responsibilities will be to recruit and lead the client-side engineering team, drive technical strategy for client development, manage the day-to-day engineering rhythm, and evaluate and recommend appropriate middleware and tools to accomplish our goals."

Microsoft is looking for someone with eight years of AAA game development experience, and at least 5 years in a "leadership capacity." Candidates must also have "a Bachelor's Degree or higher in Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics or related field," and "experience in modern development techniques." Candidates must also have strong C++ development skills, exposure to C# and scripting language.

The very first Age of Empires was developed by Ensemble Studios and published by Microsoft in October 1997. The second installment was published in September 1999, and the third in October 2005. Microsoft acquired Ensemble Studios in 2001, for which the studio became a subsidiary until its closing in 2009. During its time, Ensemble also produced several spinoffs such as Age of Mythology.

Note that Age of Empires Online launched in August 2011, a free-to-play MMORTS first developed by Robot Entertainment and later by Gas Powered Games. However, as of January 2013, Microsoft had ceased creating new content for the struggling game, and then said in September 2013 that the game will be shut down in July 2014.

Right now news of a new Age of Empires is all rumor and speculation until Microsoft confirms development. Still, would you welcome a fourth installment?

  • axehead15
    As long as it goes back to being like teh first and second. The third kind of sucked.
    Reply
  • jase240
    I agree the first two were great( I liked AoE2), but the third was bad.
    Reply
  • csbeer
    The Third installment just didn't get the right sort of support. Studio, development, and update support. When Bruce Shelley himself isn't overwhelming supportive of his own game, you know it's gonna have a rocky life. Personally, I loved the game. Stick it on slow speed, go for a rush or installation victory. Good times.
    Reply
  • velocityg4
    Doesn't Age of Mythology count as one? Personally I enjoyed all of them except online. I'd say two was my favorite. Age of Mythology would have been much better if it wasn't limited to three civilizations.
    Reply
  • atlasica
    I got the third iteration first, and I loved it. I can see why those experienced with AoE 2 may be disappointed in AoE 3 due to it having less gameplay elements (amongst probably some other things), but I believe AoE 3 was still a great game in it's own right. Now, between getting a new AoE like the third or none at all, gimme the game MS. But take your time to make it good =)
    Reply
  • Pyrokinetic
    AoE 2 was the best of them all, never got tired of playing it. Everything released afterward just made the game more stupid to play. Would love to see a refresh of AoE 2 with better graphics, more civilizations, and more campaigns. Leave the gameplay model alone and follow what Blizzard rightly did with Starcraft 2: just take what worked oh so well and just enhance it.
    Reply
  • thundervore
    I miss AoE Gold. It was the game that got me into RTS games
    Reply
  • Novuake
    "We haven't seen an Age of Empires title on the PC since the third installment and its two expansion packs." Not true... Age of Empires Online, it was very bad but still an Age of Empires title.

    Everyone that said the third one sucks is either a fool or did not play it competively, unlike the first 2 games this game was much more strategic with a lot more content.
    Unlike the first 2 the third game was a lot better in multiplayer but shorter in the campaign with a lack of "true-ish" history involved.

    Geez I am excited about this! Lets hope its nothing like AoE Online.


    EDIT : And anyone is welcome to dispute my statement, but I would like to know WHY you say AoE 3 was bad. Because no one can ever seem to give me a reason.

    csbeer I know right? I still play it often. Its a shame they shut down the online ESO server. Enjoyed competitive play A LOT!
    Reply
  • DGriffin
    AoE 2 was the best of them all, never got tired of playing it. Everything released afterward just made the game more stupid to play. Would love to see a refresh of AoE 2 with better graphics, more civilizations, and more campaigns. Leave the gameplay model alone and follow what Blizzard rightly did with Starcraft 2: just take what worked oh so well and just enhance it.

    Your wish has already been granted: http://store.steampowered.com/app/239550/

    It's not leaps and bounds better for graphics. But it supports more resolutions, custom content, new civilizations, an AI that doesn't suck etc...
    Reply
  • Novuake
    Pyrokinetic that is a horrible policy. Hell do you like paying for an essentially old game with new graphics as if it were a brand new AAA title?
    Geesh hows that for killing innovation.
    Reply