Following 12 years of silence, Microsoft Studios confirmed at Gamescom 2017 that Age of Empires 4 is in development for PC. The hugely popular series began way back in 1997, and despite the fact that there hasn’t been a new game in the franchise for quite some time, it’s still held in high regard by the gaming community – in fact, some call Age of Empires 3 one of the best PC games ever.

So, what should you expect from Age of Empire 4? Here, we discuss a possible release date, along with platform availability and what to expect from gameplay.

When will Age of Empires 4 be released?

Of course, the biggest question of all is ‘When is the Age of Empires 4 release date?’ and sadly, Microsoft didn’t reveal a release date – or even a release window – during its Gamescom 2017 reveal.

Looking back at previous Age of Empires releases, there’s no real release date pattern; the first in the series launched way back in 1997, followed by Age of Empires 2: The Age of Kings in 1999, and Age of Empires 3 in 2005. There was only a gap of two years between the first two games, while the gap between the second and third tripled to six years.

If we follow the pattern of tripling the gap between games, Age of Empires 4 won’t be out until 2023 – but of course, it won’t be that far off!

If nothing else, consider the fact that the majority of the reveal trailer consists of concept art. To us, that suggests that Age of Empires 4 is still quite some time from its debut, and may not even be released in 2018.

But with Microsoft's E3 2018 press conference fast approaching, we might not be far from finding out just how long we'll be waiting for Age of Empires 4.

Which platforms will Age of Empires 4 be available on?

As announced by publisher Microsoft Studios, Age of Empires 4 is headed to Windows 10 PCs. There’s no word yet on whether it’ll make its way to the Xbox One as part of Microsoft’s Play Anywhere functionality, or whether it’ll be available for other consoles like the PS4 and Nintendo Switch.

We’ll update this once we receive platform confirmation from Microsoft, so check back regularly for the latest news.

What should I expect from Age of Empires 4 gameplay?

Age of Empires 4 is the latest in the real-time strategy franchise since the release of Age of Empires 3 in 2005. The first three games in the series were developed by Ensemble Studios, a company that is no longer in business.

Relic Entertainment has taken up the mantle, confirmed by Microsoft in an Xbox Wire announcement. For those unaware, the Canada-based development company is highly regarded in the real-time strategy world. The company has produced hugely popular titles including Company of Heroes, Homeworld and, of course, Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War 3.

Talking about the decision to develop the game with Relic, Microsoft Studios creative director Adam Isgreen explained that “Relic Entertainment has a wealth of experience in creating high-quality RTS games, making them the ideal partner to develop Age of Empires 4,”.

This was backed up by a similar blog post on Relic’s own website: “We can’t wait to tap into our strengths as a studio to fuse historical context with deep strategic gameplay, and to bring this franchise back to the forefront of gaming and into the hands of its beloved community,”.

But in terms of actual gameplay, there’s not much to go on. As mentioned above, the fact that the trailer is comprised of concept art suggests that it’s still early days in the development of the game, and gameplay details aren’t likely to surface for some time.

But with that being said, we imagine that Relic Entertainment will take the magic that made the Age of Empires series so popular, and make it engaging and relevant to the modern gamer.