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Age of Empires 4: Samurai revealed to come in new expansion

Somehow Japan is included in The Sultans Ascend
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The Sultans Ascend has recently been announced as an upcoming expansion pack for Age of Empires 4 on PC and Xbox Series X|S. The title suggests a focus on the Middle East and the official artwork is hinting at a particular focus on the Crusades, depicting a battle between European knights and their Middle Eastern foes – that’s about what one would expect, right?

However, some early screenshots and the marketing for The Sultans Ascend have revealed a very surprising faction to be part of the expansion as well: the Japanese. Now, I’ve got a history degree and I couldn’t tell you how the Japanese fit into this scheme, but naturally fans are pretty stoked since feudal Japan is a favorite among many people.

Age of Empires 4 The Sultans Ascend artwork.

The Crusades seem like an apt theme for an expansion called The Sultans Ascend.

On social media site formerly known as Twitter, the official Age of Empires account has so far revealed an in-game shot of ninjas as well as of the Floating Gate, one of the Japanese Landmarks required to advance to another era. It’s been revealed to allow the Japanese to train Shinto Priests as well.

Most important of all the reveals so far, of course, has been a post showing concept art for the ever popular samurai. It seems like Age of Empires 4 will do a very neat thing with them – they look like they’ll be a cavalry unit instead of running around on foot, which is far more accurate to the way they fought historically. They were nobles, of course they fought on horseback when the terrain allowed them to. Now give them bows, please.

Some information about them is attached as well: They “negate incoming ranged damage with a deflective armor charge.”

Age of Empires 4 samurai concept art.

Concept art for mounted samurai in Age of Empires 4.

This artwork shows two different variations of mounted samurai, one from Age 3 and one in Age 4, so you can look forward to upgrading the warriors. Mind you, this doesn’t mean that the game won’t have melee infantry or even archer variants of samurai – in fact, explicitly naming them as “mounted samurai” might well be taken as a hint towards that. The more samurai, the better.

Much less – nothing, basically – is known about the other factions coming with this expansion, which seem to include one Middle Eastern and one Western civilization. Perhaps a Crusader Kingdom and the Ayyubids? Saladin against the Kingdom of Jerusalem would make for a very classic campaign in the setting and time frame. Or might the screenshots merely represent a variety of skins for the existing Holy Roman Empire and Abbasids, indicating reworks for them?

It’s difficult to say at this point – Japan, everyone’s favorite Middle Eastern sultanate, is the only officially confirmed addition for the moment.