Microsoft Announces Free-To-Play Age of Empires Online

by Gamer
2 minutes read

Microsoft, as the publisher, and Robot Entertainment, a development studio made up mostly of veterans coming from the regretted Ensemble team, have announced and shown off their upcoming digitally distributed strategy title Age of Empires Online. Taking full advantage of the company’s Xbox Live online service and today’s social-networking craze, fans can look forward to a completely new take on the classic, historically-based RTS blockbuster franchise, complete with a cartoony new look and feel.

It plays like the classic titles in the series, although there are signs that suggests that the game will become more complex as the player invests more time and, presumably, more money in it.

Initially the game will be free to play. Anyone can get the package and get started. The Greeks, the best known civilization of the ancient world, will form the launch civilization this time around, with plans to expand the roster considerably around and (if the game is a success) long after the game’s launch. Although it’s an online-only affair (no offline modes will be included), fans of the original games can look forward to many cooperative quests and original storylines against the expanse of what’s sure to be a ever-growing community of players looking to get their historically-based action on. Most curious is the promise of giving players a persistent capital city that continues to develop even when players are logged-off. Not sure how that will go down with some fans, as it sounds an a bit more like FarmVille than Age of Empires. Let’s just hope the micro-payments don’t follow along, though.

Age of Empires Online is scheduled to start invading Live-enabled PCs running Windows XP, Vista, and 7 sometime in 2011. Those interested in getting involved in the game’s closed-beta can head over to the official website, which has opened with all sorts of game-related media, including downloadable wallpaper, screenshots, and an impressive gameplay-filled trailer.

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