Break the Definitive Silence

It has been 3 weeks since the Age of Empires III: DE gameplay trailer was released during Opening Night Live at Gamescom 2020. In that time there has been a few interviews posted by PCGamesN but not much else. The official Age of Empires website has not posted much since the announcement until today with an interview with Anthony Brave, a tribal consultant. In that interview new game mechanics were discussed but there were no short video clips showing fans what those will look like in the game. In addition, the last beta for the game was back in April and no invite waves have been publicly announced since that time. This leaves the question, why the definitive silence?

There’s no question that this past year has been a challenge for many amid the COVID-19 pandemic and various world events. Even so, back in March the first beta for Age of Empires III: DE was announced on social media and I was fortunate enough to be invited to participate. At the time the community at large knew nothing about the game besides it was in development. A few weeks went by and another beta was announced by the community team. After the last beta ended there were no public announcements about the game or any indication that the game would even release before the end of the year. There were no further announced beta opportunities for months afterwards, either.

The Age of Empires III: DE gameplay trailer was a welcome change of pace during Opening Night Live at Gamescom 2020 and the community at large finally learned at a basic level what the game was going to offer fans. In the trailer there were short gameplay video snippets and in a follow-up developer interview there were also some short gameplay video snippets. Since that time 3 weeks ago there have been no further gameplay videos released. Only a series of posts by PCGamesN and one post by the Age of Empires community team with a tribal consultant. I’m confused why there has been so little media coverage on the game since the gameplay trailer release. I had expected much more.

All of this leads me to wonder why there is so much secrecy behind this game. Are there a lot of graphics glitches and artifacts? Are there game-breaking bugs which haven’t been fixed yet? Why have insiders been left in the dark for so long? Now with only one month before release and a multiplayer stress test starting today, is there enough time for the game to be ready for release or is the game simply being rushed out the door so that the attention can be turned to Age of Empires IV? I know there has been a lot of effort put into the game by the fact multiple teams of developers have worked on it and every part of the game has been touched and I’m not denying that fact. At the same time, I cannot help but think if the beta for Age of Empires III: DE had been ongoing like with Age of Empires II: DE there would have been more time to discover and fix bugs before release. We shall see. I am cautiously optimistic that the game will be polished upon release. At the same time I’m concerned that the limited use of the insider program with this release was a poor decision which will result in an unfinished product.

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