Gamescom 2019 - Microsoft's new Age of Empires arm isn't a developer, firm overseeing other studios working on IP

Gamescom 2019 - Microsoft's new Age of Empires arm isn't a developer, firm overseeing other studios working on IP

The newly-announced Age of Empires studio headed up by Shannon Loftis at Microsoft isn't directly making games, but instead is more of a production outfit overseeing other studios' work on the IP.

That's according to Microsoft creative director Adam Isgreen, who told that the company's responsibility is to make sure that Age of Empire games from other studios are going in the right direction.

Microsoft has worked with developer Forgotten Empires for the Definitive Edition of Age of Empires - which was released in 2018 - and the modern update of its sequel that's launching in November. Isgreen says that Australia's Tantalus Media is working on Age of Empires III Definitive Edition, too.

That's on top of the Big M bringing in Sega-owned Relic Entertainment on-board to make Age of Empires 4.

The new Age of Empires venture was announced at E3 2019 alongside Microsoft's purchase of adventure game specialist Double Fine

"We do have an internal team but we're really providing oversight to our wonderful development partners - our team at Forgotten Empires that made Age of Empires Definitive Edition and is working on Age of Empires II - Definitive Edition, but we also have a group in Australia - Tantalus Media - that's working on Age of Empires III," Isgreen explained.

"We have Relic up in Vancouver. But they're also helping each other out with all the games, too. Our role at Microsoft is to enable these great developers to make Age products and to be the overseers and the ones making sure that we're on-message and on-brand for delivering what we believe to be great Age of Empires experiences. They're accessible, for all ages and you may learn something about history whether you want to or not. That kind of approach, a game that's accessible that is really meant for a large audience, across the world. We have a wonderful userbase from all across the globe that plays Age of Empires games every month and we want to make sure we can bring everybody in, not just from specific cultures."

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PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.