Microsoft is surprise launching Age of Empires IV on Xbox Series X / S and Xbox One consoles and Xbox Game Pass today. The latest game was announced for Xbox consoles last year with a 2023 promise, and Xbox Cloud Gaming players will also be able to stream Age of Empires IV.
Age of Empires IV originally launched in late 2021 on PC, and Microsoft added the title to its PC Game Pass service. Microsoft has added a tutorial to the console port of Age of Empires IV, which helps players get used to the controller layout. There’s also full keyboard and mouse support.
Real-time strategy (RTS) games aren’t an obvious fit for consoles and controller play, but Microsoft released Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition earlier this year, and we found that it plays great. Verge reporter Ash Parrish found that the thoughtful controller interface “worked as seamlessly as I remember with a mouse and keyboard.”
Age of Empires IV also has a villager priority system that uses predefined presets and custom settings so that players can assign villagers to focus on resource gathering with a single button press.
Microsoft has also added a variety of accessibility options, including adjustable difficulty levels, in-game narration, and a high contrast mode. You’ll be able to play Age of Empires IV with up to seven friends in either player-vs-player (PvP) or player-vs-enemy (PvE) multiplayer modes on Xbox Series X / S or with up to three friends on Xbox One.
Age of Empires IV targets up to 4K resolution on Xbox Series X, 1080p on Xbox Series S, 1440p on Xbox One X, and 900p on Xbox One consoles. Both the Xbox Series X and S versions support up to 60fps, with the Xbox One version optimized for 30fps.
Correction, August 23rd 11:30AM ET: An earlier version of this story said Age of Empires IV has optional cross-play support. Only Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition has optional cross-play support. We regret the error.