Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition
is out on Xbox consoles, bringing the iconic RTS game to couch gamers worldwide. With a revamped control and UI for controllers, traditional keyboard and mouse support available, and full cross-play and cross-save features available on day one - we had a lot of questions heading into our interview with World's Edge.
Namely, how. But, also, why did it take so long? A snippet from our massive in-depth interview.
Our Full Age of Empires 2 on Xbox Interview
Age of Empires II has a huge legacy as an RTS game, and the Definitive Edition has been around for a number of years now. At what point did the team go, ‘Okay, let's bring this to Xbox’? Also, why did it take so long?
Earnest: I'm the executive producer, and my team works on all of the Age of Empires Definitive Editions. I, II, III, and now Age of Mythology Retold. We grew up playing Age of Empires, we love it, and it’s very important to us. It's also super to be able to bring the titles to a wider audience.
When we began work on Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition, our goal was to ship the best Age II experience ever. And with that, all of our focus was on PC because that’s where Age was and where you’d play. After we shipped, every time we announced anything new, and it didn't really matter what we said, every single time people were asking about an Xbox version.
We build these games with the community, and for the community, so we decided to investigate how we could bring the game to Xbox. In the first prototype, we literally lifted the game, put it on Xbox, and then hooked up a controller. It was functional, but that’s a nice way to put it. It worked, but to answer the question as to why it took so long, that was years ago.
If the point of doing this was to grow the Age of Empires franchise and introduce new players, we realised we needed to do this right. And the right thing to do was to make the game feels like a console game for a console audience. Based on that idea alone, we rebuilt the UI at least twice or three times from scratch.