Guten Tag, Age leute!
I’m not much of a nostalgist when it comes to year-in-review lists, but I have to admit that 2019 was a pretty special year for the World’s Edge team. To begin with, we were born! This time last year a bunch of us were going to lunch, huddling in conference rooms, and wondering “what if …?” What if we created a studio to care for the most important PC-focused IP that Microsoft has ever had, what if we all got to focus full-time on the game we love so much? If we could form a team that seeks, and partners with, the best Age of Empires and RTS developers all over the world, that unites Age communities across all the platforms and versions of the game, and that dreams of the biggest and brightest future for the IP?
It happened! I still pinch myself every day that Matt Booty and Phil Spencer were so enthusiastic with their support for our proposal, and that 6 months later we were a team dreaming up our name and our plans.
In some ways, it’s not a huge change. We already had Age I DE for Steam going, as well as Age II DE and Age III DE, and of course we’ve been partnering with Relic for several years on Age IV. But the ability to do things like:
- Start our own Discord channel
- Build a robust Insider Program
- Build insider profiles
- Chase Elric
- Start the Insider Newsletter
- Build an internal playlab with the latest/best of all Age games updated regularly
- Dedicate time and energy to visualizing the future of Age
E3 was a real highlight for us this year. First of all, we put a 20-year old PC game on stage … and people loved it. Then we had a fun playable challenge on the floor of our space and we had a line of people waiting to play. I loved talking to people in that line. I heard over and over and over again, “I used to play this when I was a kid.” Or “I watched my dad play this when I was growing up.” Or “I can’t wait to share this with my kids.” The generational effect of Age of Empires is something we take very seriously. I think it makes our community better, and frankly nicer, than many other communities. And it reminds us that we are not making games for just right now, but for 10, 20, 30 years from now.
We loved flighting both Age I DE for Steam, and Age II DE, with all of you. Your feedback, your bugs, and your passion helped point us in the right direction as we approached our launch date for these games. We addressed 300+ changes that you pointed out to us.
I couldn’t be more proud to call the Tantalus, Forgotten Empires, and Wicked Witch teams our partners. These teams have brought so much passion and integrity to the process of remastering our legacy Age games and working as a 4-company juggernaut we released Age I DE for Steam and Age II DE for both Steam and Windows. The response has been amazing. The memes, streams, epic multiplayer matches, deep discussions on Discord and Reddit – we love them all, and they give us life and energy to keep going.
Showing off Age IV gameplay was one of the scarier moments of the year. Not because we aren’t proud of it (we are!), and not because Relic isn’t an amazing partner (they are!), but because it was the first time we’ve shared our vision for Age IV broadly. I shouldn’t have been nervous. We’ve had so much great feedback, so much support, and so many suggestions (we’re listening!).
2020 is the year of building. Building town centers and cities and armies, building community, building Age II DE content and gameplay, building Age III DE, and continuing to build Age IV. We’ll keep you updated as we make progress, and we’ll be asking you for a lot of input and help. In the meantime, please keep those memes and streams coming … they’re our fuel!
Happy new year!!