Age of Empires IV Looks Great, Doesn’t It? Epic Loses Millions! Plus, A Larian Studios Interview! (Outsider’s Outlook)

Age of Empires IV’s developer Relic Entertainment revealed the long-awaited strategy’s first gameplay trailer this weekend, and I felt something in my chest constrict–either a minor heart attack at the veritable age of twenty-five, or a wave of nostalgia must’ve overcome me, for as I watched on, I was reminded by the hundreds of hours of joy I experienced with the original. Outrageous, brutally tough campaigning as Jean of Arc with my dad aside, Age of Empires has a special place in many strategy players’ hearts – I hope the launch of this marks a renaissance for one of my all-time favourite genres.

If you remain unconvinced, take a look at the gameplay trailer below:

In other news, Epic has done a woopsie and lost $330 million ever since its store front opened up. We know this due to Apple and Epic’s legal bout over the latter’s attempt to circumvent Apple’s rules about in-app purchases. Eurogamer states:

Apple’s filing reveals Epic lost around $181m on the Epic Games Store in 2019, and it projected to lose around $273m on the store in 2020. Even with “significant” growth, revenue for last year was projected at $401m. Epic has confirmed $700m was spent by PC players on the Epic Games Store in 2020, although only $265m of that was spent by players on third-party PC games in the Epic Games Store. So its $444m in minimum guarantees for 2020 alone is a big loss-leader.

A price tag that has earned the loyalty of very few, I’d wager. Free games are great – I’ve plenty of friends who wouldn’t otherwise be able to spare the coin for the many, many offerings that Epic has made available on a bi-weekly (or even weekly) basis. But throwing a pile of cash and hoping it’ll be enough to beat out the competition simply isn’t feasible; not when the competition is so much further ahead in terms of services offered. Not when the competition is Steam.

In today’s edition of WASH YOUR EYES OUT–the newly christened segment that makes you forget about mucky practices in gaming–Destructoid interviewed Larian Studios’ founder Swen Vincke on the latest about Baldur’s Gate 3, the druid class, and the studio’s Early Access policy overall. It’s a great read, and I can’t recommend it highlly enough. Here’s what Vinke had to say about putting the druid into Early Access:

“It was one of the hardest classes to get right. So we wanted to put it in there to force ourselves to go through the entire process of that class, and at the same time to see what people were going to be doing with it, because we are going fairly far with what you can do with Wild Shape.”

I also love Destructoid’s description of some of the BG3 companions: “the enigmatic Shadowheart, the intriguing Astarion, and the fairly direct Lae’zel”. That’s one way to put it.

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