Age of Empires IV players eligible for UArizona credit through cooperation with the history department

Age of Empires IV banner announcement with residents gathered around the university

Members of the UArizona History Department have developed educational content for the popular strategy game. Content engagement can earn current and future UArizona students a university loan.

A unique partnership between the University of Arizona, Microsoft World’s Edge and Relic Entertainment will enable current and prospective UArizona students to “make history its history” while earning college degree credit.

Starting in early 2022, Age of Empires IV players will be able to interact with special educational content on; it is content that seeks to complement the historical narrative contained in Age of Empires IV Campaign developed by two members of the University of Arizona Department of History – Associate Professor of the Department of Medieval History Paul Milliman and head of department Alison Futrell, assistant professor of Roman history. Depending on the University of Arizona admission status, the use of this special content may allow players to earn one university credit.

“The idea was really exciting – to collect lessons in a different format and with a public opportunity to really dynamically interact with this material. And, of course, the presence of such a famous name as Microsoft really gave it credibility and energy, ”said Futrell. “One area of ​​my research is how the ancient past has been revisited in various media in recent times, especially in performances and films, but also in novels, advertising and the like.”

Age of Empires IV it is the first completely new entry in the franchise since 2005 for the popular game franchise, the first installment of which was released in 1997. The newest version allows players to enjoy 4 separate campaigns with 35 missions spanning 500 years of history from Darkness. A century before the Renaissance. In addition to the campaign, the game features 8 different civilizations that have strategic nuances based on history, and all of them are available in online multiplayer matches or in battles with in-game artificial intelligence.

V Early 2022the University of Arizona Enhanced Features entry will be highlighted in the game’s Community tab and will direct players to where they will find an onboarding portal, including the necessary steps to get a college loan, as well as companion modules called Stories Covered by Futrell and Milliman. This off-game content was developed to accompany a campaign mode that offers individual players four story campaigns based on key moments in the medieval period: the Norman Conquest of England, the Hundred Years War between England and France, the expansion of the Mongol Empire, and Moscow’s path to becoming a new superpower.

Milliman and Futrell also appear in short introductory videos that help tie the entire campaign content together. After completing all of the key storylines across the four playable campaigns, players can take an online assessment of what they’ve learned from UArizona. Passing this exam will earn them one credit hour, which will apply prior to admission to UArizona. College credit is issued only after successful enrollment in UArizona; however, the additional content on is available to everyone free of charge. As with many college courses, the necessary materials are available. Prospective students will need access to Age of Empires IV On Steam, Microsoft Store, or with Xbox Game Pass for PC or Ultimate. all players will need to sign in to the game using an Xbox Live account (available for free). The idea of ​​partnership emerged more than two years ago when UArizona Kara Aquilano Forni, Executive Director of Corporate Initiatives and Business Development for Arizona Online, associated with Will McCahill, Business Lead for Microsoft World’s Edge Game Studio.

“Will and I began to discuss collaboration using Age of Empires “The platform as a way to expand learning opportunities and improve the user experience for players,” Forney said. “I went to the history department and called it intuition or fate, but when I discovered that we had two professors who are gamers, and one of them was a medievalist, it struck a deal. We started discussions before COVID hit, which then set us back a year. But now we have finally reached the point where we can announce the partnership, and I am very happy. ”

“V Age of Empires Franchising builds a community of history buffs right from the start. In our latest release Age of Empires IV“The World’s Edge and Relic teams have decided to double down on what we call Humanized History, where we allow players to relive real-life historical events through gameplay,” McCahill said. “The university partnership was not our original goal, but when I first played the campaign it sparked over 20 minutes of talking about Normans with our story designer. I realized we needed to put this in the hands of the students, and Kara and the history university team were important partners in making this vision a reality. I am thrilled and I think students will be pleasantly surprised by this unique approach to the study of history. ”

Faculty members Milliman and Futrell hope that the first credit earned by the game will also be the first step for many players on their way to a history degree in UArizona.

“I am writing a course specifically for people who are not currently students who come to university through play. This will help them transform from gamers to students, ”Millman said. “I’m going to teach a different version of this to students who are already here, but this will introduce online students to how to do historical research and be a university student. There will be no tutorials or tests. It will be project oriented and based on their experience playing with our additional content. ”

Additional information, including the steps required to participate, will be posted on Age of Empires website when UArizona content becomes available next year.

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