Earlier this month, Microsoft announced that it would soon release the first paid expansion pack for the historical RTS game Age of Empires IV. The expansion, called The Sultans Ascend, will add a lot of new content to the Relic Entertainment-developed game.

One new feature that has never been included in any game in the series is being added with this expansion. It’s called Variant Civilizations, and, as a new post on the game’s official website explains, they will be designed to offer a different take on previously revealed civilizations.

While a variant civilization will offer the familiar parts of a previous civilization, the website says it will also offer new kinds of gameplay. The post states:

We start with historical inspiration from some element in the history of the classic civilization and then build gameplay from that theme. These elements can be a single individual (like Jeanne d’Arc), a philosophy (like the neo-Confucianism of Zhu Xi), or a particular historical group within the broader culture (like the Order of the Dragon). Although these seeds are often small moments, we explore the ‘what if’ of keeping that focus throughout the journey through the four Ages.

The variants won’t replace the original civilizations, according to the site, but instead will offer players a different take on them. Even some of the basic units will remain the same, but they might have all new units and landmarks as well.

The expansion will have four variant civilizations:

Jeanne d’Arc (variant of the French)
The Order of the Dragon (variant of the Holy Roman Empire)
Zhu Xi’s Legacy (variant of the Chinese)
Ayyubids (variant of the Abbasid Dynasty)

In the case of the Jeanne d’Arc Variant Civilization, it will focus on just one hero character, Jeanne d’Arc, who will transform and gain levels as the civilization progresses.

More info on the other three variant civilizations will be revealed in the coming weeks. The Age of Empires IV: The Sultans Ascend expansion will launch on November 14 for the PC, Xbox Series X|S, and Xbox One for $14.99.


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