age of empires fans in China, save the date: Tuesday, March 29 will see the release of Return to the Empirethe mobile version of the classic real-time strategy (RTS) game.
This is the first collaboration between Xbox and the Chinese group TiMi Studio, a subsidiary of Tencent Games who previously developed award-winning mobile games honor of kings, Call of duty: mobile, and Pokemon Union. honor of kings was the the most profitablefree game worldwide in 2020, making over $2.45 billion in revenue.
The partnership of the two gaming giants was first announcement in May 2021, and the official trailer for the mobile version of age of empires was released in August of the same year.
Over the past few months, Chinese gamers have had access to several rounds of beta testing via Return to the Empireit’s official site.
Additionally, gameplay videos have been circulating on both Bilibili and YouTube, triggering a flurry of comments from Chinese gamers and age of empires enthusiasts all over the world.
Released in the glory days (the 90s, of course – 1997, to be exact), age of empires sees players take control of an ancient real-world civilization. Players mine resources, build infrastructure, grow their economies, and engage their enemies militarily. Since age of empires‘ initial release, the title has developed into a franchise of related games.
Many fans expressed their excitement Return to the Empirebut a handful remain skeptical of the game.
Several Chinese netizens wonder if the visuals and gameplay will stand up to those of Rise of Kingdomsa popular mobile RTS game developed by Shanghai mobile game studio Lilith Games.
Meanwhile, some foreign players have critical the mobile game‘s fighting style, saying there’s too much resemblance to Japanese anime. Some also wondered the historical accuracy of the game.
TiMi’s promotional campaigns for Return to the Empire ran full steam ahead despite the mixed reactions online.
For example, the studio has initiated a partnership with Global Game Art Competition hold a special art competition from December 2021 to March 2022. Entrants were invited to submit artwork inspired by the game, as long as it fit into one of three categories: landscape design, character design, and illustration.
Spurred on by a cash prize of 100,000 RMB (about US$15,700), fans around the world submitted a steady stream of entries. The results will be announced in April this year.
The mobile version of age of empires follow in the footsteps of Tower of Fantasy and get a global version? Tencent hasn’t released a statement on this yet, but let’s hope it happens (and won’t take long!).
Cover image via Weibo