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Total War Pharaoh director encourages you to save scum

As Creative Assembly and Sega gear up to release Total War Pharaoh, we spoke to the director in an exclusive interview about the strategy game's features.

Total War Pharaoh: an Egyptian pharaoh stands before a pyramid backdrop, his fist out in front of him as he looks proud

Total War Pharaoh is one of the most highly anticipated upcoming strategy games, as prospective players ready themselves for its epic real-time battles and unique Egyptian setting. If the exciting Bronze Age period and intricate combat system aren’t enough to win you over about Total War Pharaoh, then its accessibility may be. In an exclusive Gamescom interview with the creative director, Todor Nikolov, we learned more about its implementation and how the developers have improved upon familiar Total War features.

Thanks to our Total War Pharaoh preview, we know a good bit about the game. What we didn’t know about, though, is how important save scumming may be. If you’ve been around in the role-playing scene at all, then you probably know what save scumming is and how seriously some gamers take it. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, it basically means saving before doing something significant (making a game-changing dialogue decision, going into a boss battle, etc.) so that you can reload said save if things go wrong.

Nikolov introduced the idea of save scumming by first referring to the coming quality of life features, saying, “We have introduced an undo turn” mechanic. The director stated that if players have “made a blunder,” they can simply click the undo turn button to “be brought back to the beginning of the turn instead of the end of the last turn.” Nikolov then said that it “saves time,” especially “if you like save scumming.”

When asked why the developers have chosen to embrace save scumming with Total War Pharaoh, Nikolov said that the primary reason is that the game is single-player. Devs “don’t mind if anyone decides to play that way.” The experience is all about how you want to play, and if you’re looking for a challenge, you can opt to have one. Nikolov cited options for people who want a tougher experience, like the “Ironman mode.”

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You can also balance your overall experience with the best of both worlds since even the Ironman mode is no longer tied to the legendary difficulty. If you want the challenge it brings but with a lesser difficulty overall, you can play that way. Nikolov also said that you can “control the level of AI aggressiveness, the resource income, the starting position of your resources,” which offers some serious gameplay customization options.

That’s not all though, in terms of accessibility for all and quality of life. “You can randomize the personalities of the factions, and you can randomize your starting position as well,” the director stated. “We’re giving all these different options because they can drastically alter your gameplay.” New players are free to challenge themselves, or “use a very easy type of campaign to learn the ropes.”

From the Total War Pharaoh factions to the Total War Pharaoh leaders, it seems like the upcoming strategy game is all about player comfort and providing you with a fun, tailored gameplay experience.

While you wait to see just how different Total War Pharaoh is compared to its predecessors, you can check out a few of our other favorite turn-based strategy games. Alternatively, browse through some of these exciting turn-based RPGs if you’re searching for a more narrative-based experience.

Gamescom 2023 reporting provided by Will Nelson.