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X-Box Ara: History Untold Announces Release Date, Multiplayer Details, and More

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Jul 23, 2022
June 12, 2024

Ara: History Untold Announces Release Date, Multiplayer Details, and More​

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    Mike Nelson, Xbox Wire Editor

Ara: History Untold Hero Image

Earlier today on the Official Xbox Podcast episode, hosts Malik Prince and Jenn Panattoni spoke with President of Oxide Games, Marc Meyer, and Head of Ara for Xbox Game Studios, Brian Stone, as they stopped by to share more in-depth details on Ara: History Untold, including new details on its multiplayer and – best of all – to share a release date: Ara: History Untold will launch this September 24, 2024, for Windows PC, Steam, and will be available on day one with PC Game Pass!

Watch the full podcast below – the Ara: History Untold section begins at 1:58:

As they detail in the interview, the team at Oxide really wanted to make Ara distinctive in the historical grand strategy genre, by looking across the landscape of strategy games to identify common pain points they could address and explore ways they could shake things up. There are many things the team is excited to talk about when it comes to Ara and we’ve highlighted some of the biggest news elements to come out of today’s segment.

Playing in a Living World

Ara: History Untold Screenshot

One of the standout elements of Ara: History Untold that’s immediately clear from the footage shown during the Official Xbox Podcast segment, and its screenshots, is just how beautiful and detailed the world looks. At a high level, you can easily see how the regions are divided, making them distinguishable from agricultural versus industrial, as well as resource deposits.

Ara, at its core, is a classic turn-based historical grand strategy game that spans the scope of human history from ancient times all the way up to the modern era and beyond,” explains Stone. “But it’s also a game that (Oxide) has been really pouring a lot of modern elements into it. They’ve made the look of the game something completely unique that you’ve never seen before.”

Diving in closer, however, you see that this is a “living” map with massive amounts of activity from planes flying overhead, garbage trucks going down the street, children playing in playgrounds, to wildlife living in dense jungles. It brings character to this game world and lets you connect with it in a way that you may not have before in other grand strategy games.

“This is all randomly generated every time you build a new game. Every time you play again, you will get a different world. It’s going to be full of all these different biomes,” Meyer explains. “It’s the living world; it’s full of all types of interesting things we want the players to notice and to see… And it’s a resource. That’s part of the game. It’s something you will harvest and get things from, and you will establish your nation here and you’ll use that resource to improve the lives of your people and your citizens.”

Multiple Paths to Victory with Unique Leaders

Ara: History Untold Screenshot

Because there’s so many ways to play through Ara, it was important for the team to make sure there were leaders for every playstyle, and we were shown that during the Official Xbox Podcast segment. There’s a variety of traits that help define who these Leaders are, inspired in part by how they existed in the world.

“Each of the leaders has sort of this unique hero trait that that sets them apart from everyone else,” explains Meyer. “They’ve got these set of traits that they share with each other and they kind of dictate a little bit of the underlying pieces of their personality and they dictate how they’re going to get along with each other… It lets us have a huge variety in the different leaders that we offer and so that playing each one of them is very different.”

Ultimately, the goal of Ara is, through your own means, to become the most prestigious nation on Earth. And you can do that across a lot of different types of gameplay strategies, from military conquest to religious victories to industry. Or become a beacon for other nations through prestige. “There are almost unbound ways to kind of go invest in kind of what you’re building from that first little village,” says Stone.

“As your nation grows, and as you gather people, you’ll gain claims that will let you take over pieces of land and grow your empire and find new places to build and new resources to exploit,” Meyer adds. “And so, it’s all this self-fulfilling system where you grow so that you can grow more, and you can get more land and you can get more resources. And then you take those resources, and you refine them through our crafting system to produce amenities that will improve the quality of life of your people.”

Multiplayer and Simultaneous Turns

Ara: History Untold Screenshot

In many grand and turn-based strategy games, multiplayer sessions can be a challenge — trying to wrangle a dozen players in a single game can be a daunting task. But Oxide might have a solution here. They call it “Simultaneous Turns” and it involves all players resolving their Turns at the same time. While not wholly new to the genre, the way simultaneous turns are implemented in Ara is truly unique.

“The way that works is you submit your actions, and everyone else in the world submits their actions at the same time, and then they all get resolved together,” explains President of Oxide Games Marc Meyer. “It’s not a situation where if you go first, you get to get the claim; the person who goes second doesn’t get the claim. In this model, everyone goes at the same time. So, in multiplayer you really have a fair chance at everything.”

“We’ve built all of that turn processing in the Azure Cloud, which means that it’s all there, all running, all the time,” adds Head of Ara History Untold for Xbox Game Studios Brian Stone. “Anybody in any game can hot join, in or out. You can run games at any pace you want. If you want to play a game like one turn a day or one turn every 30 seconds. It doesn’t matter. You can do that. You don’t need to worry about who’s hosting — it’s like almost unlimited flexibility in terms of how you play.”

“We really wanted to remove all the barriers for multiplayer,” says Meyer. “You can jump in and out of as many games as you want. You can take your turn when you have time and wait until it gets submitted. If your friend decides he doesn’t want to play anymore, an AI can come in and take over for him, it doesn’t mean the end of your entire world if you’re playing online and you don’t want to do that, you can stop, and you don’t have to worry about destroying the game for everyone else who’s playing.”

Check out the entire Ara: History Untold deep-dive episode on the Official Xbox Podcast to hear more information around the details mentioned here as well as seeing the game in action. Look for Ara: History Untold to launch on Windows PC, Steam, and with PC Game Pass on September 24, 2024.

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