Through some network of likely very complicated and very boring sales, Microsoft announced today that they've acquired the Rise of Nations franchise. Those familiar with the situation may recall that it was originally THQ's property, acquired by an anonymous buyer during the auction of THQ's assets. In a surprisingly badass move, Microsoft has now revealed plans to rerelease Rise of Nations on PC in an Extended Edition that bundles in the game's expansion.
Rise of Nations is a real-time strategy game made by Big Huge Games and coincidentally published by Microsoft in 2003. Imagine Microsoft's own Age of Empires, only mixed with more tactical gameplay involving territories, something inherited from designer Brian Reynolds past creating Civilization II and Alpha Centauri. The game was spectacularly received when it was launched and it's both a blessing and a curse that it's now available. A curse, because I already see this game eating my free time.
As for what kind of content fans can expect in this Extended Edition of Rise of Nations, expect both the entire original game and the lone expansion Thrones and Patriots. That's not all that's included, however, otherwise this would just be this classic Gold Edition. Rise of Nations: Extended Edition also includes Steamworks features like cloud saves, trading cards, achievements, multiplayer, and Twitch streaming integration. Did I mention there are visual improvements too? There are visual improvements too.
In my mind Rise of Nations is one of those PC classics that all strategy game lovers should play at least once. It's one of those classics that will make players wonder just how good games could be even ten years ago. I can't even think of a modern strategy game that I've enjoyed as much as Rise of Nations at its launch.
Pick up the Rise of Nations: Extended Edition starting this June on PC. Preorders through steam will be discounted 20%.