The appearance of a new line of code suggests that Microsoft may have begun testing for a version of Empire 4 on the Xbox console.
Empire 4 launched last October and fans are generally very pleased with the latest installment in the local game series. Empire 3 was released in 2005 and the franchise was considered dead for many years, so, of course, there was a lot of skepticism before AOE4’s release. However, Empire 4 has clearly been a huge success for Microsoft. Despite being available on Xbox Game Pass, the title regularly ranks among the best-selling games on Steam and currently holds the record for the highest number of concurrent players in the series. There’s always been demand for a console version of Empire 4, and a new line of code suggests an Xbox version is currently in development.
Twitter user Aggiornamenti Lumia says that “Cardinal”, the codename for Empire 4, is now available for internal Xbox testing. Lumia speculates that the letters XIP may stand for Xbox Insider Preview, and clarifies that this is the first time Microsoft has used those letters alongside Cardinal. As always, any rumors or leaks shouldn’t be held to high expectations, but it should come as no surprise that part 4 of this RTS series is finally coming to Xbox.
While previously only available on PC, Microsoft Flight Simulator released on Xbox Series X in July, and the title could encourage Microsoft to do the same with Empire titles. However, Empire 4 is a completely different series of games, and porting it to consoles could require major design changes.
While fans can always plug a mouse and keyboard into their console to play, the game will still have to be designed around a controller before it’s released on Xbox consoles. There aren’t many RTS games available on consoles, with Halo Wars and its sequel perhaps the most notable titles on this list. However, Halo Wars is designed to be fully compatible with the controller. Empire 4 is widely considered one of the best multiplayer titles of 2021 and it will be a great addition to the Xbox Series X’s library.
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