Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition
Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition is a real-time strategy video game developed by Forgotten Empires and published by Xbox Game Studios. It is a remaster of the original game Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the original. It features significantly improved visuals, supports 4K resolution, and “The Last Khans”, an expansion that adds four new civilizations based on Central Asia and Eastern Europe, and four new campaigns. It includes all previous expansions from the original and HD Edition. It was released on November 14, 2019.
The core gameplay elements are shared heavily with the original but Definitive Edition builds upon it. The remaster includes new 4K graphics, new improved visuals for troops and buildings, the ability to zoom in and further out and a new spectator mode. It features a new campaign called The Last Khans and includes four new civilizations: Bulgarians, Cumans, Lithuanians and Tatars. Four new campaigns were added for the new civilizations: Ivaylo, Kotyan Khan, Tamerlane and Pachacuti which is about the Inca civilization and replaces El Dorado from the HD Edition (Lithuanians do not appear as a playable civilization in any campaign; however, they represent Poles in the Ivaylo campaign). It includes all previous expansions from the original (The Conquerors) and HD edition (The Forgotten, The African Kingdoms, Rise of the Rajas).
Bert Beeckman (left) and Adam Isgreen (right) at E3 2019. Isgreen is the creative director on Definitive Edition and Beeckman is the co-founder of Forgotten Empires
Players can choose between the original AI, the updated HD Edition AI that was added alongside the HD Edition of the game, and a newer AI developed for the Definitive Edition. The original AI had to cheat to be competitive, while the new AI is advanced enough to not require any cheating. When the old and new AIs were pitted against each other in a test, the new one easily defeated the old one. Unit pathfinding is also supposedly improved upon. Players can shift-queue villager tasks. Farms now have the option to be replenished automatically.
An expansion pack, Lords of the West, was announced on December 15, 2020 and released on January 26, 2021. The Lords of the West expansion introduced two further civilizations, the Burgundians and the Sicilians, as well as three new campaigns, featuring Edward Longshanks, the Dukes of Burgundy and the Hautevilles.
A second expansion, Dawn of the Dukes, was announced on April 10, 2021 and is planned for release in Summer 2021. The expansion’s focus is on Eastern Europe and will include new campaigns.