'Age Of Empires' Developer Explains Why It's Being Remastered

Over the last few years we've seen many games come full circle.

Despite the growing technology when it comes to consoles, many developers are reverting back to classic games, remastering them in the hope that they'll recapture pleasant memories.

It's not a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination - if anything it's good - but some are more important than others.

For example, when it was announced the the first three Crash Bandicoot games would be updated for PlayStation 4 everyone got a bit giddy at the thought of once again sitting cross-legged, two inches away from the TV screen, jumping across boxes and spinning your way to crystals. But that's all it was.


The news that Age of Empires is being rereleased is a bit more important.

Back in 1997 when it was first released AoE helped forged a path for many other strategy based games, including three sequels of its own.

Strategy games are very much an acquired taste, but those that have the taste know the true relevance of Age of Empires.

Age of Empires Definitive Edition is due to be released on October 19, with a number of improvements made so that it run on modern computers, as well as aesthetically pleasing updates.

Credit: Windows/Microsoft

The idea to resurrect the game came from Jörg Neumann, the head of production for global publishing at Microsoft, Mashable reports.

"I asked them, 'Hey, so if I want to redo Age 1, how am I going to go about this? Does anyone have the code?'" Neumann told Mashable. "And they were like, 'Dude, there's this one guy, and his name's Matt. Without him, you can't do it.'

"We had lunch and I said, 'Hey dude I want to make Age 1,' and he's like, 'I want to make Age 1'

The pair reached out to a team of modders called Forgotten Empires, and with that, the show was on the road.

"There's a nostalgia factor with some of these games and Age 1 hasn't been playable in forever," Neumann said. "We haven't sold that thing in - I don't know how long - since 2000 or something. So if you really want to play it right now you basically have to go to a ware site.

"We redid every piece of art, every sound effect, we rewrote all the music, but we kept its soul intact as much as we possibly could.

"It's kind of like how you remember Age of Empires 1 from '97, just better."

Credit: Windows/Microsoft

With remastering cult games there is obviously a huge amount of responsibility, and we should really be careful what we wish for when it comes to them. But surely they can only be a good thing?

Dan Maher, gaming expert and editorial director at Explosive Alan, a video production agency specialising in gaming, seems to think so.

"A remaster in the right hands means that an old favourite looks as good as you remember it, and ideally plays even better - or at the very least considers quality-of-life expectations like regular checkpoints or save points," Dan told LADbible.

"Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy is a perfect example, although its brutal difficulty and unforgiving controls have come as an unpleasant surprise to some.

"Is it worth the effort? Judging by Crash's sales and the reception to the announcements for the remasters of Resident Evil 2 and Shadow of Colossus, definitely.

"Do they detract from the appeal of brand new releases? No. If anything, a trip down memory lane is often an indicator of just how far things have come and increases your appreciation of the numerous advances made over the years. You'd have to be pretty wrong to believe that things really were better in the old days."

Featured Image Credit: Windows/Microsoft

Mark McGowan

Mark is a journalist at LADbible, who joined in 2015 after a year as a freelance writer. In the past he blogged for independent football fan channel Redmen TV, after graduating from Staffordshire University with degrees in journalism and English literature. He has worked on campaigns such as UOKM8? and IIOC.

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