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Age of Empires 2: Definitive Edition will receive a massive amount of additional content with the Return of Rome DLC soon, and we finally know how exactly this expansion will work. Return of Rome essentially ports 16 civilizations from the original Age of Empires into Age of Empires 2, adding the brand-new Lac Viet civilization on top as a bonus.

Players will be able to use these 17 factions in three new singleplayer campaigns as well as in the regular skirmish and ranked modes – though the ancient civilizations can only play against each other in these modes, so they are almost completely self-contained.

There is one shining exception to this rule, though: Rome itself will not only be playable against fellow peoples of antiquity, but will transcend time and join the regular roster of Age of Empires 2’s medieval civilizations to take up arms against them. It’s the Return of Rome, indeed.

The following civilizations are included with Return of Rome:

  • Assyrians
  • Babylonians
  • Carthaginians
  • Choson
  • Egyptians
  • Greeks
  • Hittites
  • Lac Viet
  • Macedonians
  • Minoans
  • Palmyrians
  • Persians
  • Phoenicians
  • Romans
  • Shang
  • Sumerians
  • Yamato

These are the three campaigns available to players of Return of Rome:

Sargon of Akkad: An unlikely man rises to power in the city-states of Mesopotamia: Sargon is a simple cupbearer to the king, but everything changes when the war goddess Ishtar appears in his dreams. Under her guidance, Sargon leads the quarreling Sumerians into a new age, but the appealing nature of power forces him to choose between his divine destiny and his personal ambition. In this campaign, you will play as the Sumerians.

Pyrrhus of Epirus: As the Wars of the Diadochi saw Alexander the Great’s successors throw the Greek world into chaos, Pyrrhus of Epirus began as a small player among titans. Will he become worthy of the legendary Hannibal Barca’s judgment of him – a renowned general of the age – or will his constant uphill struggle prove insurmountable? In this campaign, you will play as the Macedonians.

Trajan: Marcus Ulpius Trajanus climbed the ranks of the legions while the Emperor Domitian’s tyrannical rule tarnished the Roman Empire’s glory. When circumstance elevates him to the throne as Emperor Trajan, he inherits a realm on the brink of disaster. Will resourcefulness, virtue, and military might be enough to save Rome and lead it to its historical zenith, or will the Roman Empire collapse four centuries before its time? In this campaign, you will play as the Romans.

Return of Rome launches on May 16, 2023, and is now available for pre-order.