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A new Age of Empires dawns

Ensemble Studios' third RTS epic is revealed

Age of Empires developer Ensemble Studios is currently working on the third instalment in its hit RTS series, it's been revealed. Not exactly the world's greatest surprise, but it confirms recent speculation about the game's existence which has been flittering around the internet.

According to reports, Age of Empires III boasts a single-player campaign spread over the colonial time period, 1500s to 1800s, dealing with historical conflict in the New World (although the campaign won't be entirely fact-based, Ensemble describing it in a recent interview with US press as "historical fiction").

AoE III taking the series up to the industrial age, battlefields will not only be a hotbed of melee combat but eventually witness the destructive power of 'new' technology as gunpowder weapons come into play.

Physics has been shoe-horned in, and word is that the developer has practically re-written most of the Age game engine for Age of Empires III. Cannon fire flinging ragdoll units through the air and buildings hit by artillery fire throwing out debris realistically and in random directions are apparently just some of the battlefield treats to look forward to.

Ensemble is including eight civilisations in AoE III, but for now it's only been revealed that the British, Spanish and French will be among the nations present.

However, other slices of info served up on Age of Empires III at this time include news that the series' economy system has been tweaked and there's a hint that we'll see larger armies than previous in the Age franchise waging war o'er the hills and dales of the New World - combat is certainly sounding an impressive affair.

Ensemble is keeping its mouth shut when it comes to release dates, but with the game already two years in development hopefully it won't be too long before the full shebang is marched out.