Microsoft have announced a new game in the Age of Empires series called Age of Empires Online. Developed by Robot Entertainment, who are made up of former Age of Empires creators from Ensemble Studios, the game looks to break the mold of the previous Age of Empires games by adding in a bit of an MMO element. Originally teased as "Spartan" the Age of Empires Online puts players in the role of their own Greek civilization through various story lines and gameplay.
The game will utilize Games for Windows Live and create a persistent world where players build up their own civilization from small village to a full empire. The empire will grow and flourish even when you aren't actively playing. Players can choose to play alone or against other gamers in versus. The game will also offer "Cooperative multiplayer quests" and "a trading and a level-based system." From the teaser trailer it looks like there's a strong social element to the game.
Another standout feature is the unique art style, which is a bit more colorful and playful than the previous Ages titles. This seems to go along with the quirky humor element Robot Entertainment is going for with the title.
Finally there's a beta test that's going to take place "soon." To sign up hit the official website and follow the links. You'll need a proper Gamertag to sign up for it. There's no word on the game's release date or the number of co-op players it supports. We'll have more information for you as soon as we get it.