Hey Age fans!
Meet Bert Beeckman! He’s the Project Lead for Age of Empires: Definitive Edition over at Forgotten Empires! We got a chance to chat with Bert and ask him some questions about his time working on the game. Read on below to see what he has to say!
- What did you work on for the game?
Along with Ryan Shepherd, our other Project Lead, I make sure that in the end, everything comes together. The right people need to work on the right items, teams must not block each other’s work and every team needs adequate staffing. And of course I must be able to always answer questions on the direction of the game, especially focused on the game’s design. Although we’re remastering an existing game, we have to make sure that we don’t make changes that would fundamentally alter the game.
- What was it like working on such a classic widely known game?
We have a lot of experience with working on Age of Empires II of course, but this was still a whole different beast to tame. The biggest challenge was to keep the balance between new and old. A lot of the fans have grown up with the game and look back at it with a great deal of nostalgia. A good remake manages to build a sweet pair of nostalgia glasses into the game, so it still needs to look fresh after 20 years of technical advancement. On the other side, we have to make sure we don’t turn the game into something that it’s not and stay true to the original formula. Out of whack gameplay, massive catapults and wololo’s all over the place would feel weird in a new game – but work perfectly fine in the crazy charm that Age of Empires I has to offer. And we have to maintain that at some level.
- What changes were made to the actual game play? Is there anything that will work differently than it did in the original?
We tried our best to stick to the original core gameplay of the 1997 release, but introduced a few features that are now considered standard in RTS games. Things like attack move, gather points and intelligent villagers will all come to the game. There’s of course a very tricky balance to strike here, you can’t change too much or you’d turn the game into something that it’s not.