A Heartfelt Thanks from Shannon

Wolololo, Age Gamers!

Happy 2022. It’s hard to believe, but 2022 is going to be an even bigger year for Age of Empires than 2021 was. The team has so many great things planned and underway, and we can’t wait to share everything with you. But first, I have some personal news.

After 29 years at Microsoft, I’ve decided to retire to spend more time with family, on my hobbies, and of course playing games. Words can’t express how much it has meant to me to be part of the Age journey over the past five plus years. It has been the greatest honor of my game development career to be part of this community — to listen to you, to play with you, and to celebrate with you.

Team Xbox has been an amazing environment to incubate our dreams, and the support we’ve had across the board from Phil Spencer, Matt Booty and Aaron Greenberg, to the PC Game Pass team, to the store teams both at Microsoft and Valve, has been nothing short of amazing. I could not be prouder of the World’s Edge team or our partners including Relic Entertainment, Forgotten Empires and Tantalus.

I always told myself that I’d leave Microsoft only at a high point, and there has been no higher point than this. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for the support, passion, fun, commitment, feedback and joy you’ve all provided for all of us.

So, what’s next? Please know that you, and Age of Empires, are in great hands. My dear friend Michael Mann, World’s Edge executive producer for Age of Empires IV, will be stepping into my role as acting World’s Edge studio head. I’ll be around for some time to make sure he has everything he needs. Michael has decades in game development and has been in lockstep with all of us as we built the teams and partnerships for Age of Empires over the past several years. In his own words:

It’s been an amazing journey with Shannon, and her departure is a bittersweet one. Shannon, thank you for being a wonderful person and passionate leader, who’s pioneered and affected change in the industry throughout her career and shown such tremendous respect for the projects, people and players for which she’s championed. I’m energized to continue the great work of World’s Edge studio and uphold the values it holds dear – inclusion and diversity; cultural representation within our studio and titles; as well as a dedication to engaging with, listening to and delighting our Age fans across the globe. 

I wish Shannon all the best in her much-deserved retirement.

The team is continuing to grow the franchise and are planning exciting things for our millions of players around the world. With Age of Empires IV in players’ hands, they’re listening to your feedback and continuing to improve the game. With patches to deliver bug fixes and quality of life improvements coming regularly, they’re also looking ahead to the title’s first major game update in Spring, bringing in features that will enhance the Age of Empires IV experience as well as creating new ways to play. The teams working on Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition and Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition are also hard at work on expanding those titles, with exciting plans they’ll be sharing in the coming months. With Age of Empires’ 25th anniversary this year, the future is bright for the franchise and history is being made!

And so, it’s with a tear in my eye (a lot of them, actually) and gratitude in my heart that I say goodbye to you as a studio head, but also hello as a fellow gamer.

Take care, Age gamers – you all rock.