Age of Empires II Definitive Edition begins testing co-op campaigns


E3 saw the reveal of an October release date for Age of Empires IV, but its much beloved predecessor is not being left behind. Age of Empires II Definitive Edition has begun public testing of its co-op campaign missions via the Public Update Preview on Steam.

To start with, the PUP will include several Historical Battles for testing co-op mechanics. The announcement on Steam also has a rundown of what full-length campaigns will be playable in co-op when the feature fully launches. It amounts to one campaign from each of the game’s myriad expansions (excepting the recent Lords of the West and upcoming Dawn of the Dukes), from the base game’s Saladin campaign up to Tamerlane from The Last Khans. Including the Historical Battles, it adds up to nearly 40 missions.

We don’t have a release date for the full co-op update yet, but the Dawn of the Dukes expansion is scheduled for an August release, and it seems likely the developers would want to pair co-op’s launch with that of the expansion. There’s always the hope for an earlier release, though.

Source: Steam

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Is this that much of a stretch? I mean, AoE2 has always had ‘ally’ mechanics (it’s critical to competitive multiplayer) so really, letting people co-op their way through specifically designed campaigns seems like a (relatively) trivial issue of (re)designing them for balance. Unless they’re intending some sort of scaling mechanism so you can coop with 1, 2, 3 other players – that would be damned tricky.

Can I remark on how amazing it is that AoE2 is undergoing a stunning Renaissance right now? Here’s a 22 year old game that’s 50th on most played title on Steam? The online tournaments are amazing to watch, pulling in 70k+ viewers.
I had the good fortune to interview Bruce Shelley in 1999 at GenCon as they were just releasing it. No idea that it be a success but pretty much vanish before exploding 20 years later.