the key to A great historical game is to ensure that the story does not spoil the game. Relic Entertainment knew this from the beginning The Age of Empires 4 had to include the Mongols. They were the clear supporting civilization, both an iconic force The Age of Empires 2 and an iconic force in history known for its lightning-fast cavalry, with an empire stretching nine million square miles from east to west spanning almost the entire world of Relic’s game.
Or, to put it bluntly, “We were like, well, well, they fought with everyone,” says Quinn Duffy, the play’s director. “So now we can begin to understand who else we can include.”
The task now was to reduce the 500-year history to the “essence” of a civilization: an abstraction invented to conform to the rules of the game.
Some elements of the story are mapped perfectly. Odegay Khan, Ghengis’ third son, expanded the giant Yam network, an early pony express: post offices where a horse or runner could rest while transmitting a message across the empire. The Relic team rethought them into small stone circles: outposts that give units a bonus to speed as they ping around the player’s base.
Other ideas were abandoned. The team catches the movement of horses. Instead of the animated spinning penny that the animals drew in previous games, in the new one the horses will be realistic, with a full set of animations slowing down and spinning in a circle towards their goal. The game was impossible to play. “Everyone hated him,” said Adam Isgreen, creative director of the World’s Edge franchise, who collaborated with Relic on the game.
Finally, there were aspects that both Duffy and Isgreen acknowledged were simply unhistorical. The Mongols c The Age of Empires 4 are nomadic: their cities can be packed in wagons and moved on the map. In fact, Duffy says, while this may seem “authentic,” it is inaccurate: as the Mongols spread from Genghis Khan’s era to his sons and grandsons, they settled, built cities and fortifications. “It’s always an interesting battle,” he says. “We always struggle with the impact of authenticity and the abstraction of that authenticity in the game.”