We sit down with Xbox Game Studios' World’s Edge and Melbourne developer Tantalus to discuss the creation of Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition
and a classic series that has found renewed success. With Age of Empires IV currently in development over at Relic we take a deep dive into the process behind bringing back the 2005's Age of Empires III.
Age of Empires III presented a somewhat different challenge than what had come before. The original game’s 3D visuals, that is polygons and textures moving about the screen, were cutting-edge back in the day. That day though, was 2005. With the Definitive Edition the teams at Tantalus and World’s Edge had to rebuild every model, texture, and animation essentially from scratch.
Click Here to Read The Making of Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition
“The original game still stands up despite his age,” Joss Ellis, Director of Development at Tantalus tells me. “But it's a DirectX 9 game that features pretty low poly models. When you zoom in on some of the things now, they're like cubes with blurry textures. When we started out, we were like, right, lets rev the engine.”
That revving of the engine can be seen in Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition’s trailers, screenshots, and early preview builds seen to date. Where new physically-based rendering means modern, dynamic, and impressive lighting that sits alongside new higher detailed models and textures. With full DirectX 12 support, the team were also conscious of the fact that Age players also come in the form of players of a certain age - so it will scale well across everything from a modern PC beast to a somewhat older DirectX 11 rig.