When somebody tells Creative Assembly’s Al Bickham that Total War: Rome 2’s campaign map is big, he corrects them: “It’s colossal." Its reach reportedly stretches from the westernmost point of Spain to ancient Afghanistan, Bactria, and from the British Isles right down to north Africa and the Nile. And what are Creative Assembly doing with all this new space they’ve afforded themselves? Something new.
Total War: Rome 2 is finally set for worldwide release on September 3. You can pre-order it today and, if you’re the sort of person who might enjoy having three extra factions to play with at launch, you’ll be pleased to hear you can get the newly announced Greek States Culture pack thrown in for the same price.
If you’re the sort of person who likes firing ball bearings from miniature siege catapults - I kid ye not - you might even be interested in the Collector’s Edition.
Rome 2 may be halfway out the door and on its way to market, but that hasn’t stopped the Creative Assembly from chasing after it with their art-brushes and code-saws. Once it’s released, I imagine lead designer James Russell will be hiding out in your Steam Library like that Japanese lady in the cupboard, sneaking out at night for more playtesting. Anyway - the result of this mania is a whole new faction, bringing the total to nine for the game’s launch.
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Beware: Creative Assembly have balls of fire. In this video walkthrough of Total War: Rome II’s battle of Teutoburg. The video is all pre-alpha footage, so you can excuse the wince inducing v-sync issues. It’s looks absolutely gorgeous, so gorgeous in fact I’m questioning whether my PC will be up for the job. Creative Assembly also offer a few new features, including a new tactical aerial view and an improved cinematic mode.
I met Creative Assembly’s James Russell and Gabor Beressy on the last day of GDC at a convention center cafe underneath Moscone North. Both men had the worn look I’d seen on most media and developers that day, the toll of five days of meetings, sessions, and interviews. After a weary greeting, the three of us slumped at a table for our last interview of GDC, while all around us workers were tearing down exhibits and overeager security guards started shooing loiterers toward the exits.
Russell is the lead designer for the Total War series, while Beressy is the series’ lead multiplayer designer and the point man on Total War: Arena. Worried we were about to be thrown out by security, I got right to the point: “So the problem I’m having is: I don’t really get how Total War: Arena is going to work."
They nodded. That’s the problem they’re facing. It’s not easy to explain how the Total War formula can be adapted to a MOBA, and anxious Total War fans are reading their own worries into the news about Arena. Russell and Beressy wanted to set things straight.
Amazons: Total War is one of those complete overhaul, underhaul, wombling free mods that Creative Assembly games seem to have an abundance of. The total conversion introduces the soon-to-be-sequelled Rome: Total War to an entirely new campaign map, which covers Eurasia, India, and everything inbetween. There, players will find Amazon archers, war elephants and new incendiary weapons.
Creative Assembly didn’t think much about the original Rome as they set about creating its sequel, they said at a GDC preview event last night. They explained they’re not a backward-looking studio. Whenever they tackle a new game, they start by taking a close, fresh look at the era and subject matter and let that determine their direction. But as I watched Varrus’ legions perishing in an ambush in the Teutoburg Forest, beset by attack dogs, flaming boulders, and fire arrows, it looked like Creative Assembly’s investigation led them to a similar vision as the original’s.
Vague and insubstantial news posts aren’t my forte so bear with me. Tomorrow will see a new Total War game announced during Creative Assembly's lead game designer James Russell’s talk at GDC. The type of game it will be we do not know, the title of the game is something else we do not know, the era it is set in is just one more thing on the list of things we do not know.
For how we know these are things we don’t know read on.
Representatives from the Total War community were invited to join Creative Assembly at a San Francisco event this week and ask them searching questions. They readily obliged, and emerged hours later clutching some big numbers and an idea of what sort of PC you’ll need to run Rome 2 (clue: yours will probably do).
Creative Assembly have revealed that the Egyptians are coming to Total War: Rome 2. Part of both Northern Africa and the Middle East, it’s under the rule of Ptolemy following the sudden demise of the mighty Alexander the Great. The factions unique units comprise of skilled spear and pikemen, both utilising skills from both Greek and Egyptian fighting styles. If that doesn’t perk your interest, you can always count on the mighty African war elephants.
A Creative Assembly fan became the first studio outsider to play Total War: Rome 2 last summer, shortly before his death from liver cancer. While 24-year-old James didn’t live to see the game’s release, his digital likeness will play a part in the Siege of Carthage.
If you’ve bought a new game in the last six months - and I daresay as a PCGamesN reader you probably have - it’ll have been subtitled as a Digital Plush Sofa edition or a Super Whizz Bang edition. Or maybe a Founder and Developer’s Family Friend edition. Why, earlier this week I was bought a game called something like Crysis 3: Hunter’s Knapsack edition.
Whatever. What all of this means is that nobody can tell which version of any one game has all the stuff in it anymore. So I’m here to tell you this morning that Total War: Shogun 2 Gold Edition is the one you buy if you want all the Shogun 2 stuff. Two expansions, DLC, 800 years of Japanese history, all that guff. This is Shogun 2: All the Shogun 2 Stuff edition, and if you like, I’ll tell you exactly what’s in it.
Creative Assembly have introduced another of Total War: Rome 2’s playable factions: this time they’ve thrust Parthia into the spotlight. Parthia is an Middle Eastern faction formed from a collection of tribes. Their distinguishing feature: their horse archers and bronze-armoured heavy cavalry. Combined, they likely make for dangerous mobile armies.
Screenshots are there to make us go "Ooh", "Ahh", and "I hope the game looks something like this." The latest images out from Creative Assembly for Total War: Rome 2 are no different. Well, except that they reveal that it times gone by the Romans were a well pose-y bunch.
Between some leaked animations from Obsidian’s Aliens RPG and the release of Gearbox / TimeGate’s Colonial Marines - though the latter didn’t so much ‘release’ as tumble like a hidden cadaver from a train station locker - the internet is awash with images of half-finished Xenomorphs and chrome corridors at the moment.
Add to that list the above blurred photograph of Creative Assembly’s Alien game, which leaves the faintest scent of a narrative link to Ridley Scott’s Alien in its wake.
Creative Assembly’s Total War: Rome 2 is ticking along nicely. I recently had the chance to sit with the some of the game's lead developers about the campaign and watch one of the game’s historical battles: Teutoburg Forest. We’ll have more on the game shortly, but here’s an overview of what we learned.
The gauntlet the Roman soldiers ran through Tuetoburg forest lasted for three days. As they raced to their winter encampments, Rome’s best soldiers were harassed and ambushed from every side. By the end, not a single legion remained. Teutoburg was a disaster for the empire.
The gauntlet Al Bickham, Creative Assembly's Studio Communications Manager runs through Tuetoburg forest lasts for about twenty minutes. As he races to the objective marker, Rome’s best soldiers are harassed and ambushed from every side. By the end, a few scant units, aided by the noble sacrifice of legionaries who block the final wave of screaming Berserkers, make it safely out of the woods.
In the latest Total War: Rome 2 trailer, released this afternoon, Roman general Varus has lost his lesions, having presumably had them transferred to a stone wrapped in twigs and buried in soft peat by a witch - such was medicine in the year 9 CE. He seems really annoyed about it, which is odd - skins lesions are often very painful.