Successful games often get expansion packs, but few of them take more than a decade to materialize. Historical real-time strategy game "Age of Empires II," first released in 1999, will receive a new expansion pack called "The Forgotten" via Steam this fall.
To be fair, the expansion pack is technically for "Age of Empires II – HD Edition," which came out just a few months ago, not the original game from 1999. However, "The Forgotten" is based on "Forgotten Empires," a fan-made mod that added a slew of new features to the original "Age of Empires II" just last year.
For anyone not in the know, "Age of Empires II," and its first expansion "The Conquerors," cast players as strategists who could lead history's greatest civilizations, like the Britons and the Japanese, from the fall of Rome to the beginning of the gunpowder era.
Gamers who procure "The Forgotten" can look forward to a ton of new content, including five new civilizations, four new historical campaigns, a handful of new multiplayer maps and direct streaming to Twitch.tv. Players will also be able to control up to 500 units at a time instead of the current 200-unit limit.
For those who have grown tired of commanding Huns and Celts, the civilizations in "The Forgotten" will offer new gameplay perks and units. The Italians focus on naval strength, the Indians excel at producing elephant- and camel-mounted units, the Slavs and the Magyars command powerful cavalry, and the Incas build structures to withstand both time and sieges.
History buffs may also salivate over the new campaigns, which follow the exploits of the Gothic king Alaric, the Italian mercenary Sforza, the Byzantine family Bari and the Romanian tyrant Vlad Tepes, better known as Dracula.
"Age of Empires II" has always had a strong online community, and "The Forgotten" will also deliver new gameplay modes.
"Treaty" games ensure that players have ample time to build up their civilizations before attacking each other (to prevent early-game "rushing" tactics), while "Capture the Relic" challenges players to produce and defend monks (weak, slow-moving healer units) as they attempt to collect valuable treasure.
"The Forgotten" has no solid release date or price yet, but expect more details to surface on Steam before too much longer. "The Conquerors" expansion was well-received, but that was 13 years ago. "The Forgotten" has big shoes to fill, but it has big historical figures to fill them.