Age of Wonders 4 is coming, and you won’t have to wait long to play
After pivoting to sci-fi very well Age of Wonders: Planetfall (opens in new tab), Triumph Studios returns to its fantasy roots with its strategy sequel Age of Wonders 4. The team has been working in secret for several years now, which means it’s almost ready. Age of Wonders 4 will arrive on PC and consoles on May 2, 2023.
The series first started in ’99, offering an alternative to the Heroes of Might & Magic series, featuring a turn-based campaign in which rulers must divide their attention between exploring a fantasy world, building their coffers, upgrading their cities, and defeating them. . in tactical battles with various troops.
Age of Wonders 3 (opens in new tab) makes numerous improvements to an already compelling formula, upping the ante when it comes to tactical combat and letting players customize their leader with an RPG-like character creation and progression system. With Age of Wonders 4, this level of customization has been extended to your kingdom, allowing you to create things as strange as a “clan of cannibal beaks”.
As you can see from the gameplay showcase (opens in new tab), there are several steps before you start a new game. First, you define certain parameters for the realm, from its climate to the traits of its inhabitants, allowing you to create a desert full of megafauna, or a cold realm claimed by dragons.
Then you start customizing your people — though you can skip this by selecting a pre-built faction. There are many options, including elves, rats, frogs, orcs, etc. I don’t see it on the list, but I’m really looking forward to creating a society of hideous evil penguins—my favorite creature in the last game. Once you have chosen the form of your nation, you can choose their culture, making them feudal, barbarian, industrious, and so on. But you’re still not done; You then have to choose the traits of the people — of which there are many — that will allow you to turn them into cannibals or make them talented spellcasters.
Your ruler is again fully customizable, and if you choose a Wizard King’s origin, it need not be the same species as your faction. You can have elf wizards rule over barbarian orc societies, if that tickles your fancy.
Tomes of Magic let you improve your empire even further, any of which you can choose directly. It’s vast, giving you a set of spells that can enhance your army, summon creatures, or strengthen your empire. Tomes also stop your faction from being static. By unlocking new ones, you’ll gain access to new spells, buildings, and can even physically change people, creating angelic beings or something more sinister.
Age of Wonders 4 also touts a new event system, fleshing out the story sections of this 4X romp and letting you further define your kingdom. If you meet someone selling captives, for example, agreeing to take these captives off their hands or fight the slaves opens up many options. Maybe you’ll send them back home, improving your relationship with other factions, making it easier to become their follower later on.
Speaking of combat, we can see the cut between the orcs and the fire giants in a mine. It’s an attractive map, full of terrain jams and obstacles, which the developers took full advantage of to quickly destroy their hot and lumbering foes. The seats were also returned, but Triumph didn’t share any details about what’s changed in that fight type.
At the end of the presentation, the developers jumped to 69 years old, where we can see how we can impact the world. The neutral cities had been integrated into the empire, and the land around the capital was now covered in snow — the result of a certain cryomancy spell. Orcs have also been transformed and now icicles grow out of their bodies, which gives them immunity to freezing and allows them to move faster through the snow.
Concluding the reveal, Triumph also teased the Pantheon system, meaning that actions you perform in one game can be rolled into the next, giving you new unlocks for new characters and worlds to play in. You’ll also meet your custom leader in future games, much like how Stellaris used your custom empire to populate the galaxy.
It all sounds absolutely fantastic. And thankfully we don’t have to wait a year or more to get one. May isn’t too far away, and hopefully we’ll have more details to share before then.