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Age of Wonders is a staple name for fans of strategy games and the series’ next iteration has just been announced. Developed by Triumph Studios and published by Paradox Interactive, Age of Wonders 4 is coming on May 2, 2023, for PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X|S.

Sticking to its turn-based 4X roots, Age of Wonders 4 returns to a fantasy setting after making a successful stop in science fiction with Age of Wonders: Planetfall in 2019. Aside from showing the announcement trailer, Triumph and Paradox also presented 40 minutes of gameplay, giving interested players a welcome look into what awaits them.

You’ll be able to have full control over the world you're playing on, the faction you’re controlling, and the ruler you’re embodying. You can stick to premade factions, if you want to get into things quickly, but how could you resist the urge to play an evil orc warlord who controls a tribe of cannibalistic elves, which inhabits a world largely populated by sadistic toads? Yeah, I thought so. You’ll even be able to meet your custom made empires in later games, just like in Stellaris.

Of course, you’ll have to evolve and adapt your empire over time, which is done through Tomes of Magic. You can unlock more of these as time goes on, gaining the ability to magically summon different creatures to enhance your armies or buff your realm in some other ways.

Taking inspiration from other Paradox games like Crusader Kings 3 or Stellaris, Age of Wonders 4 features a new event system. These events randomly pop up and offer you a variety of choices, which affect your campaign in a certain manner depending on what you decide to do. It’ll also be a nice way for you to role-play your faction.

Age of Wonders 4 works similarly to Humankind or the Total War series in regards to having a strategical and a tactical layer. Your empire management, troop movement, diplomacy and so on is done on a hex-based world map, while battles take place on a smaller scale map of the area. They will once again be turn-based and include terrain features with various characteristics to spice things up. Your units have a range of abilities and characteristics as well, which you’ll need to take advantage of to win.

A magical creature in a dark grove.

Age of Wonders 4 will be full of magical dangers and secrets.

Your magic can affect the world in a pretty huge way. In the gameplay presentation, the devs showed off a powerful ice spell that surrounded their capital with snowy fields and changed the looks of their population to signal a newly gained bonus to movement in such terrain as well as an immunity to being frozen in battle.

Rounding things off for this presentation, the developers teased a so-called Pantheon system. This will let actions you take in one game influence future campaigns by unlocking new options – that sounds quite exciting, however it will work in detail. It’s a good thing we won’t have to wait for very long until we can get our hands on it.