During E3 2017 Microsoft announced the fourth major installment of the Age of Empires strategy game franchise. Microsoft's move can be interpreted as an attempt to play on the nostalgia of the players who grew up with this series (the announcement of works on the fourth game took place almost 12 years after the launch of the third part). However, it turns out that nostalgia glasses may not be needed at all - the franchise is still very popular. According to PCGamesN, the Age of Empires series is played by more than one million people every month.
“We have over a million people a month playing Age of Empires games, and the numbers keep going up. It can’t just be nostalgia, right?” Isgreen said. “There are new people coming into the franchise and playing it, and I think the interesting thing is that for a lot of RTS games, I think there is a pent-up demand – and the numbers seem to back this – for more ‘thinking games,’ the games that require you to plan and strategise and think.”
The first part of the series was published in 1997. Such a great interest in the franchise almost 22 years after its creation can undoubtedly be considered a great success, although it should be noted that recently the series has seen a few refreshed editions (in 2013 Age of Empires II: HD Edition was released, and five years later Age of Empires: Definitive Edition was released, offering support for 4K resolution), which effectively reminded players of this series.
Age of Empires IV is headed for PCs and there is no release date set yet. Also the "final editions" of the second and third installments of the series are in the works, and will appear on the market in 2019 and 2020, respectively.
- Age of Empires IV - official website