There hasn't been a new mainline Age of Empires release in close to 15 years, but the real-time strategy franchise still has a fair bit of pulling power.
The long-running franchise currently attracts over 1 million players a month according to series creative director Adam Isgreen, despite there not being a major new release since Age of Empires III launched back in 2005.
Offering their thoughts on the series' enduring popularity in an interview with PGGamesN, the creative director suggested it could be down to a "pent-up" demand for games that require players to think for themselves.
"It can't just be nostalgia, right?" commented Isgreen. "There are new people coming into the franchise and playing it, and I think the interesting thing is that for a lot of RTS games, I think there is a pent-up demand -- and the numbers seem to back this -- for more 'thinking games,' the games that require you to plan and strategize and think.”
The news comes as Microsoft prepares to revitalize the franchise, with the Xbox maker having recently established a brand new Age of Empires studio helmed by veteran producer Shannon Loftis.
Remastered 'definitive editions' of both Age of Empires II and Age of Empires III are also in development, the first of which is expected to arrive sometime next year.