Age of Empires Series Wiki
Trade workshop aoe2de

The Trade Workshop, a cut building meant for Age of Empires II, but later reused for the Battle Royale.

Cut content refers to material planned and produced during the development of games in the Age of Empires series, but not appearing in final retail releases.

It is not uncommon for previously unused content to be reused for future updates, or to be reworked into different things.

Age of Empires[]


Tech Tree[]

  • A building called the "Pasture" was cut, it allowed players to train Goats and Horses (like the Sheep and herdables of Age of Mythology) as a faster way of gathering food than Farms.
  • A building called the "Mine" was cut. It was built over Gold/Stone Mines to gather them effectively.

Units and buildings[]

  • "Space_Ship" (cut cheat unit)
  • "Hero_Traitor_01", which could be converted by nearby units, similar to Artifacts.
  • Hero 12 (before the Definitive Edition)
  • Numerous Flags and Banners
  • Originally, Composite Bowmen were called Longbowman, this is also the reason why their bow is longer than a traditional composite bow.
  • The Tool Age military units upgrade into their Bronze Age counterparts.
  • The "Balista[sic]" was built in the Archery Range.
  • The Catapult Trireme was an upgrade to the regular Trireme.
  • The Cavalry, Chariot, War Elephant, Horse Archer, Chariot Archer, Elephant Archer, Ballista, Light Transport, and Fire Galley all required technologies to be trained. In the final release, they are all available for free.


  • Initially, the game was called "Dawn Of Man", and functioned more closely to city-building strategy games of the time, such as Caesar II.
  • There were two more ages called The Ice Age and the Republic Age. However, these were deemed unnecessary and merged in the Stone Age and Iron Age, respectively.
  • There was a fifth resource called "Trade Goods" which could be "made" at the Trade Workshop. This could be collected by trading, which was more similar to its incarnation in Return of Rome and Age of Empires II.
  • Land Trading was available.
  • Two types of acacia trees were cut, an autumn one and a standard green one. The green one is still present in the original Age of Empires demo.
    • There was another tree that was cut, it can be seen in the demo.
  • A beta tree from the 1995 development was left over in the files.
  • Roads had to be built to allow further construction.
  • Leaves and the stump would be left over if the player (or AI) used attack ground with a Catapult against trees.
  • Numerous buildings were changed.
  • Berry Bushes were called "Forage Sites"
  • A lot of beta buildings were smaller, and more historically accurate.
  • Axemen wore only a loin cloth rather than a cloak (they looked like a Villager with an axe)
  • The Catapult Trireme was an upgrade to the Trireme.
  • The Ballista was built at the Archery Range.
  • Iron was a planned resource
  • Barracks were called "Military Training Centers"
  • Buildings called Outposts were planned, these functioned most likely as a Town Center that couldn't research Ages.
  • Farms were unique between Ages and architecture sets like Houses
  • Archery Ranges had a shared Tool Age variant, like Stables.
  • Barracks had a separate architecture set unique Tool Age variant.
  • Siege Workshops were known as "Engineering Shops"
  • Line of Sight would linger for a few seconds, rather than instantly disappear.
  • Starting in the Tool Age, when lacking resources for buildings/technologies, it was possible to use gold instead at a 1:1 exchange rate. Gold was also used less often.
  • Graphics exist for an unused Volcano object.

Descriptions and icons for various cut content have been collated here.

Age of Empires II[]


  • Janissaries were originally archers in the Castle Age, and could be upgraded into unique Hand Cannoneers, this was later changed due to an archer unique unit already existing.
  • Elite Janissaries wore a distinctive tall white hat which was removed before release as they were deemed to look similar to Ku Klux Klan members. However, The Forgotten reintroduced the original Janissary sprite-sheet for the untrainable Royal Janissary unit.
  • Spies were trainable units. While they appeared to the player as a spy (a unit wearing black armor), they appeared to the enemy as Villagers. They also had the ability to see how many enemy units were garrisoned in buildings, and had a large line of sight. Spies could only be attacked by other spies.
  • Off the map Trade Boats could be trained, they functioned as Trade Cogs that were large and would go to the edge of the map, and "despawn" for a short time, and return with a large flurry of resources. This system however was extremely buggy, and was cut due to time constraints. It is still usable, however.
  • Originally, the Spearman line was made of four units: Spearman, Pikeman, Iron Shank Pikeman, and Halberdier, implying that Ensemble originally intended the Spear-line to have been trainable in the Dark Age. The Iron Shank Pikeman was merged with the Pikeman, and the Halberdier was eventually brought back for The Conquerors.
  • The Halberdier cost gold and was known as "Halberdman", as shown in the alpha version of The Age of Kings.
  • There was a fifth ship line called Boarding Galleys - they functioned as boats that would come up and convert ships, similar to the Monk. It had no range, but an extremely high success rate. The system, as expected, still functions.
  • There was a unit called "Builder Ship", which could build Sea Walls, Sea Towers, Sea Gates, Docks, and even repair ships. These buildings are still found in the campaign and scenario editor.
  • Camel Riders had the ability to capture enemy Villagers, and drop them off at the player's Town Center.
  • Archers and Crossbowmen were originally two separate lines, similar to the first Age of Empires, Archers were to cost food and wood, and Crossbowmen cost gold and wood. Both had advantages and disadvantages to use. This concept would later be brought back in Age of Empires IV with the former costing food and wood while the latter costs food and gold.
  • Gaia units called "Outlaws" (in the form of Archers) would spawn randomly near trade routes, and rob Villagers and Trade Carts. Those units would later appear in the The Sack of Rome campaign scenario in The Forgotten.
  • Various units had different designs and functions, they were eventually changed, most likely for design quality due to the pushed date.
  • The Saracens had a ranged infantry called the Dervish instead of the Mameluke. That might be the reason why Mamelukes originally had infantry armor class in The Age of Kings.
    • According to the Age of Empires II design document, Dervishes were initially conceived as "Mounted Berserkers".
  • The Mongols had a unique siege unit called the "Mobile Siege Unit" instead of the Mangudai.
  • The Chu Ko Nu was originally called "Semi-Automatic Crossbow".
  • The Persians had a "multipurpose cavalry unit" instead of the War Elephant.
  • Ensemble originally considered a "super villager" mounted on a horse, that would be faster, carry faster, and carry more, but be more expensive.
  • The Knight line originally used lances as their main weapons, before they were replaced with swords.
    • Interestingly enough, Knights were originally meant to be armed with swords, before they were changed into Lancers, and later back into sword-wielding units.
    • According to the Age of Empires II design document, Lancers were considered as a separate unit, as a European (and perhaps Asian) answer to the Middle Eastern Camel, however, lacking the ability to capture enemy Villagers, but being a stronger unit against other cavalry. Their art assets were mostly reused for the Knights (hence why they used swords originally) when the Lancer concept was dropped.
    • However, Lancers appeared as Steppe Lancers for a few civilizations in the Definitive Edition.
  • The Throwing Axeman did not exist, instead the Franks had a unique cavalry called Frankish Paladin. However, the Frankish Paladin was later changed to be a hero unit and replaced by the Throwing Axeman.
  • The Samurai was originally meant to have both melee and ranged attacks, before developers ultimately removed their ranged attack due to being too unfriendly and cumbersome to use. The risk of quickly ordering a Samurai to attack a ram in a melee attack, attend to other things, and check back to see the Samurai accidentally having been ordered to attack with a bow instead of his sword was deemed too much. This concept was brought back in Dynasties of India as the special ability of the Bengali unique unit, the Ratha.
  • Mangonels and Onagers had to be packed and unpacked in order to be used. This was most likely changed due to how ineffective and tedious this system was.
  • The Scorpion was known as "Scorpion Ballista", as shown in the alpha version of The Age of Kings.
  • Villagers had a drop-off resource button, which would drop their resources off at the nearest building. This was brought back with Victors and Vanquished.
  • In the scenario The Scourge of God, the Scythian prince was meant to appear as a Light Cavalry hero but was changed to a Scout Cavalry with 1,000 hit points for unknown reason.
  • The Genitour was meant to be the Spanish unique unit as a mounted Skirmisher, but it was scrapped and replaced by the Conquistador. The Genitour remains available in The Conquerors as an untrainable unit in the Scenario Editor that uses the Militia sprite set, despite their Skirmisher-based nature. In The African Kingdoms, the Genitour appears as mounted Skirmisher as the secondary unique unit and team bonus of the Berbers. The original Genitour unit (after patch 5.1) is now hidden in the files, and cannot be placed in the Scenario Editor.
  • Originally, Ensemble intended the Monk to be unique based on the religion they chose, such as Christian, Buddhist, Islamic, and Pagan.
  • There was going to be a mobile tower that could roll up to the walls and the player could run a villager over a wall.[1]
  • More gunpowder units were considered.[1]
  • Some obscure Chinese weapons were considered.[1]
  • For the Definitive Edition, a new unique cavalry unit's sprites were present in the game files, unimplemented in the game. The file was eventually removed in a later update. The unit resembled real-life Sassanid Persia's elite cavalry descriptions. In The Mountain Royals, this unit was reintroduced into the game as a trainable unit called Savar, which is a unique upgrade of the Cavalier (in place of the Paladin) for the Persians.
  • For the Definitive Edition, sprites for an unimplemented unique mechanical unit were present in the game files. The file name consisted of the term Contraption. The files were eventually removed in a later update. It looked identical to the fictional creature named Dalek from the "Doctor Who" science-fictional universe, armed with a Halberd, and may have been a new cheat unit or easter egg.
  • For the Definitive Edition, multiple regional Monk models were made and regional Monastery models were conceptualized, but these were not implemented into the game at release.[2] The steppe Tengriist Monastery was implemented as the scenario editor building Shrine, and the Lithuanian pagan Monastery concept was added to the scenario editor in Dawn of the Dukes as Pagan Shrine.
  • More animals were planned and models made for the HD Edition, but the work to implement them was seen as cumbersome enough that they were scrapped. These animals were the White Tiger, Monitor Lizard, and Pig. The Pig was eventually introduced for the Definitive Edition.


  • Stirrup was a technology that would enable Lancer units.
  • Wheel was a technology that would increase Villager speed.
  • In order to build a Wonder, the player would have to research a technology called Wonder Plans.
  • Bombard Cannons and Hand Cannoneers originally just required Gunpowder to be researched, before this was changed to separate technologies for both (then later just being enabled with Chemistry in The Conquerors)
  • All Stone and Gold mining technologies were merged, before being divided.
  • In order to improve the pierce armor of infantry, the player had to research the Shields-line of technologies (much like Age of Mythology) before the technologies were merged into the Mail Armor line.
  • Greek Fire was originally a shared technology, before being brought back as a Byzantine unique technology in The Forgotten.
  • Much like Age of Mythology, gather rate technologies improved carry capacity, before the effects were divided into their own technologies.
  • In the Definitive Edition, Revetments is an incomplete technology that exists in the game files, but is not available to any civilization. When researched via triggers, it upgrades Palisade Walls into Fortified Palisade Walls, and doubles the hit points of Palisade Gates.


Unused dock aoe2

The unused, larger dock.

  • Houses generated small amounts of gold (aka Taxation).
  • Docks originally were much bigger.
  • The Trade Workshop was removed, it functioned not only as a Trade Cart drop-off, but also as garrison post for up to 10 Villagers, which could convert gold to trade goods. This is evident by the fact that the Trade Workshop has a garrison count in the stats when selected. The Trade Workshop is still found in the scenario editor and campaign.
  • Blacksmiths were used as drop-offs for gold, ore, and stone. They could also be built in the Dark Age. It would function similar to the Storage Pit in Age of Empires.
  • Similar to Age of Mythology, Town Centers could be fortified, it is unknown how this would work, although it is likely that they were able to fire upon enemies without garrisoning units.
  • Mongols, Celts, and Vikings originally used packable and unpackable Town Centers to reflect on their nomadic culture.
  • Monasteries were buildable in the Dark Age, and Monks could not convert units until the Castle Age, functioning entirely as healers until then.
  • Ports were a building that was cut from the game, and is hidden within its files, it functioned to train only military naval units, and research naval warfare technologies and upgrades, whilst the Dock could only train and research economic naval content. It was spiritually succeeded by the Harbor in Rise of the Rajas.
  • The City Wall was the original Fortified Wall for the Central European architectural style. The wall can still be found in the campaign and scenario editor, where its style is more similar to the Western European style.
  • Buildings in the beta version used to place "sand terrain" underneath, instead of grassy-dirt.


  • The July 1998 Design Document for Age of Empires II shows that even after the thirteen civilizations in the game were decided upon, several changes were made before the game's release.
    • There was at one point planned for there to be a fifth "Raider" architecture set featuring the Mongols, Celts, and Vikings. These civilizations would be incapable of building Wonders.
    • The Britons were meant to have diplomacy-themed bonuses, something that had to be changed when many diplomacy features were cut during development. Their Wonder was meant to be Westminster Abbey, rather than the German Aachen Cathedral.
    • Celts were planned to have cheaper military units, a bonus that would eventually be assigned to the Goths.
  • During the development of The Conquerors, Swiss, Habsburgs, Magyars or Slavs (instead of Huns) and Khmer or Tibetans (instead of Koreans) were considered as civilizations.
  • During the development of The Forgotten (when it was a mod), Lombards (instead of Italians), Tibetans (instead of Indians) and Scythians (instead of Slavs) were considered as civilizations.

Player colors[]

There are four unused player colors in the game files that are not accessible nor ever seen in normal gameplay: brown, sky blue, gold, and pink. It is unknown if these colors were meant to be used in normal gameplay at some point in development, or were simply used for testing.

Militia brownMilitia skyblueMilitia goldMilitia pink


  • There were up to 6 resources (7 if population is counted) which included: Ore, used for military units and military upgrades (whilst gold was used for economic units, trading, and economic technologies) and Trade Goods, which were used for unit-based trading.
  • Gaia units would have the ability to "repopulate" the map, if the number of animals fell below a certain threshold.
  • Various terrains were changed and fixed before release.
  • The "letter trees" are used in beta. Also, the jungle trees in The Conquerors would be used instead of palm tree graphics.
  • There are many unused icons, most of which were touched up before release:
    • AoEII-ProfilePic94 A "94" number icon.
    • AoEII-UnusedTechIcon1 A poor quality of the upgrade to the Pikeman.
    • AoEII-UnusedTechIcon2 Another poor quality of a Viking navy icon.
    • AoEII-UnusedTechIcon3 A Trebuchet icon, possibly an upgrade.
    • AoEII-UnusedTechIcon4 Unused version of the Siege Scorpion's upgrade icon.
    • AoEII-UnusedTechIcon5 A Palisade Wall icon (this icon was brought back for the Walls and Fences in Age of Mythology).
    • AoEII-UnusedTechIcon6 A possibly earlier version of Cartography's icon.
    • AoEII-UnusedTechIcon7 A vessel icon.
    • AoEII-UnusedTechIcon8 A earlier version of Siege Engineers' icon.
    • AoEII-UnusedTechIcon9 A signal icon.
  • Among those unused icons seem to be unused unit formations; some of these may have been just placeholders:
Unused formation icons aoe2de
  • The original The Age of Kings manual lists a fifth formation option, "Horde", that would allow military units to move without formation.
  • Kaesong was a scenario that was intended to be included in Battles of the Forgotten for Age of Empires II HD: The Forgotten, but was cut prior to release due to time constraints.
  • Although released as exclusive content of the Definitive Edition, it is possible that the The Last Khans expansion was planned and partially coded for the HD Edition, as the file "key-value-strings-utf8" contains the description of the Last Khans campaigns, and the Tamerlane campaign has a slightly different description.
    • Aoe2 last khans hd cover

      Possible proposed artwork of the The Last Khans expansion for Age of Empires II HD, with Ivaylo, Tamerlane and Kotyan Khan.

      The DLC4 description: IDS_LC_MAIN_MENU_BUTTON_ROLLOVER "Play the new campaigns from the Last Khans expansion. Ride across the vast steppes of Eurasia and lead fearsome hordes to victory as Tamerlane, Ivaylo and Kotyan."
    • Tamerlane campaign original description: "Bred on the rugged steppes of Transoxiana, Tamerlane is no stranger to the harsh realities of a life in the saddle. Chaos reigns as the Mongol Empire, bereft of true leadership, has fragmented into a slew of bickering factions scattered throughout Eurasia. Crippled by wounds sustained during his youth, Tamerlane has nevertheless made a name for himself through his tactical brilliance and charisma. His resolve is unbending - he will reunite and restore the Mongol Empire to its former glory, even if he is forced to slaughter half of its inhabitants in the process."
    • TLK AoE2HD UI artworks

      The planned HD Edition UI artworks of (left-right, top-down): Cumans, Lithuanians, Tatars, and Bulgarians

      At some point in one of the earliest beta versions of the Definitive Edition, it was possible to see the icons of the unique units of the new civilizations introduced on its older models, most likely for the HD Edition, as well as the unfinished campaign cutscenes, even some left user interface assets.
    • An early (but later extended) theme was also made,[3] as well as three in-game tracks[4] in Synth modul BOSS DS-330 sound format.
    • Another proof that it was in development before the release of the Definitive Edition is that the 3 new campaigns of The Last Khans were already designed in November 2017.[5]
  • The "key-value-strings-utf8" file reveals additional cut features such as
    • the ability to switch between "Definitive Edition" and "The Forgotten" mode (see strings 9510 to 9513). Its descriptions suggest that players were originally able to switch between old and new graphics ("Click to switch to Age of Empires: Definitive Edition mode. This will reload assets and you will only be able to create and see games that match this mode.")
    • An additional option for custom games to disable trade (String 9731)
    • Toggleable destruction animations
    • The option to set up the level of pathfinding (probably a leftover from Age of Empires)
  • Every unit in the game has an internal "Class" that specifies certain traits. There are several that are unused: Healer, War Elephant, Hero, Elephant Archer, Phalanx, Domestic Animal, Deep Sea Fish, Salvage Pile*, Resource Pile*, Two-Handed Swordsman, Pikeman, Ore Mine*, Spearman, Boarding Boat*, Raider*, Cavalry Raider*, Misc[sic] Building*. A * indicates that the class is technically used, but only by units that are themselves unused.

Several features that were cut from the final game can be found in the Portuguese Civ Mod II for The Conquerors.


Age of Mythology[]

Main article: Cut content (Age of Mythology)

Age of Empires III[]

Main article: Cut content (Age of Empires III)

Age of Empires IV[]

  • There is proof in the Content Editor that there were plans to include Crocodiles as huntable animals.
  • The function of the Blacksmith was divided with another building called the Arsenal. Now is only used in the campaigns, but because the Abbasid Dynasty and Delhi Sultanate do not appear in any scenario, their Arsenals are only present in the Content Editor.
  • Stone mining and gold mining were originally completely separate, with their own technologies (still present in the original four campaigns) and drop-off buildings (as evidenced by a leftover icon for a 'Stone Mining Camp')
  • Many technologies appear as Campaign-only content, but were cut for the regular game.
  • Farms were originally called 'Wheat Fields', and Mills 'Gristmills', as evidenced by their icon names.
  • Unused building icons appear for Wooden Bridges and Crafts Guild.
  • The Proselytization ability icon is actually called 'Declare State Religion' in the game, indicating a possible removed mechanic.
  • There are unused generic technology icons for the following technologies:
    • Belt Hook, Blast Furnace, Bodkin Point, Chevauchee, Cobbler, Farming Village, Forging, Forrester Training, Handcannon, Hand Cart, Improved Drop-off Buildings, Iron Casting, Leather Quiver, Quenched Steel, Repair Station, Scythe, Shaft Mining, Steel Bore, Tree Replanting, Trebuchet Counterweight

Civilization-specific content[]

  • The Mongols originally could not advance to the Imperial Age. In addition to this being referenced in an interview with Adam Isgreen, there are several leftover indications of this in game
    • Mongol units do not have unique dialogue lines for the Imperial Age, unlike every other civilization.
    • Mongol buildings do not have unique Imperial Age skins, unlike every other civilization, and their units have only very minor changes when upgraded to Elite versions.
  • Yam Network was originally called Ortoo Network.
  • The Chinese originally had access to the Early Handcannoneer, as evidenced by their unique Castle Age dialogue lines. The Mongols Handcannoneer dialogue lines also reference the Castle Age, but because they originally only had three ages, this was still a 'final age' unit, so it is unknown if this was intended to be the Early Handcannoneer or standard one.
  • Camel Traders appear in the Content Editor in the Malians section. They reappear in The Sultans Ascend as Ayyubid Atabegs, although erroneously, since they still have uncharacteristic Malian attire, and can be female despite having male-only voice lines and being historically only male.
  • The Ottomans have an unique unused Mill model in the Content Editor.
  • Originally, the Sipahi may have been intended to be a ranged or mixed cavalry (similar to the later released Desert Raider), evident from promotional screenshots where they are armed with a bow and arrow.
  • The icons for the Mehter buffs are named after specific formations, indicating that they may have required specific formations to deploy.
  • There are unused civilization-specific icons for the following technologies and abilities:
    • Abbasid Dynasty AoE4 Abbasid Dynasty: Improved Siege Engineers, Improved Trade Rate
    • Byzantines AoE4 Byzantines: Varangian Fear Aura, Chain Harbor
    • Chinese AoE4 Chinese: Sweeping Strike (likely Palace Guard ability), Warrior Code
    • Delhi Sultanate AoE4 Delhi Sultanate: Traveling Scholar
    • English AoE4 English: Double Time (moved to Rus), Royal Artillery College (moved to French), Aged Yew Bows, Braced Palings
    • HRE AoE4 Holy Roman Empire: Enlistment Incentives (moved to French), Gothic Plate, Royal Edict, Scale Mail, Spotters
    • Japanese AoE4 Japanese: Climb Wall (for Shinobis?), Oyoroi Armor
    • Jeanne d Arc AoE4 Jeanne d'Arc: Arbaletrier Companions
    • Malians AoE4 Malians: Cow Fatten (like in AoE3?), Standard Outpost,
    • Ottomans AoE4 Ottomans: Blacksmith Stockpile, Reinforced Hulls
    • Rus AoE4 Rus: Shooting Drills
    • Zhu Xis Legacy AoE4 Zhu Xi's Legacy: Turtle Shell Empire, Early Firelancer Speed, Elite Shaolin Monks, Grenadier Range



External links[]