Early on we considered adding other civilizations but felt they wouldn't play as different as what we believe we can do with the Native Americans. We also felt there were good stories from the Native American point-of-view that we wanted to tell and hadn't seen in a previous game. Some people have asked if this topic has required "Sensitivity" on our part. Hmm. Ensemble has a history of trying to portray "underdogs". For instance, in Age 2 we presented the Crusades from Saladin's point of view. In effect we are now giving the native nations full control of history. So I guess we're empowering them.
The Iroquois controlled a large confederation that sprawled over a wide area. They actually expanded their territory and became more powerful after contact with the Europeans, making major conquests among other tribes. They enthusiastically adopted European technology and their military is the most "European-like" of our three native nations. So they are an interesting combination of a fairly contemporary army (for the 1700s) backed up by a native economy and a strong tradition of mysticism. We thought this made them a great choice for the game.
In addition, the Iroqouis really focused on their harvest, their domestic food plants, and their agricultural way of life and we've tried to reflect that in their in-game economy.
As far as Iroquois military units, the Iroquois Tomahawk and Mantlet units return from Age3 although their stats have changed and now all Iroquois units will cost population slots. There are about 6 new military units including the Aenna, the classic foot-archer unit, and the Musket Rider which is a musket-carrying cavalry unit representing the European influence on the Iroquois. Also, a feature of Iroquois military science was an emphasis on siege. Most of their enemies lived in fortified towns, and most Iroquois campaigns came down to siege warfare at some point. In the game, they have an excellent siege capability, partly reflected by special units such as their battering ram.
The single player campaign is going to expand the Black family saga, but it hews much more closely to historical events. Thus, you will have members of the Black family involved in actual well-known happenings.
There are new random maps, new native allies, new units, new Home City shipments, new civs, and new ways to win the game or break a stalemate. Of course, these new features do change the game, but it's in an additive way.
Age of Empires III: The WarChiefs is expected to be released fall 2006.
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