One of the most popular RTS franchise of all time is getting a HD makeover. Age of Empires Definitive Edition is now available on the Windows 10 store. The new release promises overhauled graphics, sound effects and according to the website “a smooth UI experience rebuilt from the ground up“.

In a post announcing the release, Adam Isgreen (Creative Director at Microsoft) says “We created Age of Empires: Definitive Edition as a homage to all Real Time Strategy (RTS) fans and to PC gamers everywhere…the Definitive Edition brings back the original feeling of Age of Empires, but better than ever.” 

The original Age of Empires was released in 1997 by Ensemble Studios and proved to be a commercial success. Ensemble Studios subsequently developed Age of Empires II in 1999. Microsoft acquired Ensemble in 2001 and the studio released Age of Empires III in 2005. Ensemble Studios closed down in early 2009, shortly after the release of Halo Wars and many fans feared that this spelt the end of the AoE franchise.

However a high definition version of Age of Empires II sparked renewed hope amongst empire builders, despite the remake receiving mixed reviews. This was mainly due to the lack of changes in game mechanics.

Age of Empires Definitive Edition

Fans will be happy to hear that this remastered version doesn’t just tweak the graphics and sound effects but also reworks some long requested changes to the game mechanics. This extensive list includes the ability to change the population cap in the pre game lobby, the ability to zoom in and out, setting rally points and various unit queuing mechanics.

For those who want to pick a fight with fellow empire builders, Age of Empires Definitive Edition also includes online modes for up to 8 players.

And it seems the good news doesn’t stop at just Age of Empires I. In the same post, Adam Isgreen mentions that definitive edition of Age of Empires II & III are being worked on but no release date is in sight. This follows on from an announcement last August that the long awaited development of Age of Empires IV  is underway in the capable hands of Relic Entertainment.