Age of Empires II hits beta

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The forthcoming Macintosh conversion of Age of Empires II is arguably one of the more anxiously anticipated Mac game releases this fall. Recently, Mac game conversion studio Westlake Interactive reached an important milestone in the game's development -- it is now in beta. Westlake indicated that Age of Empires II would be Carbonized, too.

Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings

Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings may be long in the tooth on the Windows platform, but the real-time strategy game title has enormous staying power. It puts players in control of civilizations from the fall of the Roman Empire through the Middle Ages. You must lead your civilization to greatness as you exercise your economic, diplomatic and military skills to shape the world around you.

"Current development is focused on optimization and bug squashing," noted Westlake. "When complete, the game will support Mac OS 8.6, Mac OS 9, and Mac OS X with a single application program. You will also be able to download and use custom campaigns developed for the PC version of the game."

Originally published for Windows by Microsoft Corp., Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings will be the first game published by MacSoft founder (and ex-Apple and Bungie exec) Peter Tamte's new concern, Destineer Studios. The new company is working on its own original titles, and is also focusing on Macintosh game conversions to be published through its "Bold" imprint.

Originally developed by Ensemble Studios, Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings is the sequel to a game that was -- not coincidentally -- published for the Mac by MacSoft under Tamte's supervision. Enhancements to gameplay in this sequel include new combat, trade and diplomacy options; a total of 13 different cultures to choose from, each with unique attributes, styles of architecture and technologies; improved ease-of use; and enhanced multiplayer game play.

Destineer has previously indicated that Age of Empires II is expected to be released in early October. Another Macintosh game conversion, Links LS 2002 -- the latest iteration of the legendary golf game -- is also expected next month.

This story, "Age of Empires II hits beta" was originally published by PCWorld.

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