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Total War Pharaoh release date, trailer, and setting

When the Total War Pharaoh release date lands, we'll see the final years of the Bronze Age unfold, featuring Egypt's New Kingdom at the height of its glory.

An Egyptian king holds his sword aloft as he encourages his troops to attack.

What is the Total War: Pharaoh release date? The upcoming historical strategy game is the latest in Creative Assembly’s long-running Total War series. The developer recently revealed Total War: Pharaoh with a cinematic trailer, which opens with a chance encounter between two scarab beetles on an ancient Egyptian battlefield, with the glittering pyramids in the distance. Set around the year 1200 BCE, it’s by far the farthest Total War has ever gone back in history, almost to the time of the first pitched battle ever recorded.

We’ve assembled everything you need to know about Total War: Pharaoh right here, including the strategy game‘s release date. You can learn even more about it in our in-depth Total War: Pharaoh preview, featuring an interview with creative director Maya Georgieva.

When is the Total War Pharaoh release date?

Creative Assembly and Sega has confirmed the Total War: Pharaoh release date is Wednesday, October 11, 2023. A limited edition physical version will be available on October 23 that includes cosmetic packs, a double-sided poster featuring a campaign map, and portraits of the faction leaders.

Players who pre-order Total War: Pharaoh will have the opportunity to play early during an exclusive early access weekend prior to launch. Creative Assembly says it will announce further details on the early access weekend, including the specific dates, in the near future.

An Egyptian city made from beige brick and a clear blue sky.

Total War Pharaoh trailer

Total War: Pharaoh takes place in Egypt’s New Kingdom era, immediately following the death of the last pharaoh. Players will be able to pick from leaders representing the Egyptian, Hittite, and Canaanite peoples, and either prevent or accelerate the arrival of the cataclysmic collapse of the Bronze Age, all while fighting on battlefields infused with a new sense of realism and dynamism.

Total War: Pharaoh was announced on May 23 with a cinematic trailer that revealed its setting in ancient Egypt.

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Total War Pharaoh setting

Total War: Pharaoh takes place around the year 1200 BCE. This was Egypt’s New Kingdom period when the empire was near the peak of its glory. However, the Egyptians’ nearby rivals the Hittites, who occupy the lands of Anatolia (modern-day Turkey), know that Egypt is vulnerable following the death of the pharaoh, and are keen to take advantage of that opportunity.

Caught in between the two regional superpowers are the Canaanites, who can either pick a side in the coming war or attempt to fend off both warring empires and ally with the marauding Sea Peoples.

The river nile with a pyramid in the distance and a clear blue sky overhead.

Total War Pharaoh features

While Total War: Pharaoh takes a step back from the more mythological and fantastical elements the series has experimented with in Total War: Warhammer and Total War: Three Kingdoms, it’s nonetheless adding an interesting and complex suite of new mechanics to the existing Total War formula.

In battles, weather conditions can have a massive impact on battle tactics, and the weather can change quickly: the clear skies of a sunny day can give way to massive sandstorms or rain, which influence troops’ morale and visibility. Rain can turn the solid ground into mud, slowing troop movement or fouling the wheels of chariots, and sweltering heat will cause troops to become exhausted much faster.

Another new feature is the stance system, which makes it possible to command troops to take different dispositions when they make contact with enemy formations. Troops set to advance will try to push the enemy back; the hold command tells them to try to prevent enemies from advancing through their position; and give ground orders to troops to back up as the enemy approaches and makes contact, allowing players to draw enemy units into traps or out of position.

Armored units have a new armor degradation stat that reflects how many more blows their armor can take before breaking. Armour will eventually break, making those units more vulnerable to any kind of damage.

Fires can start during battles, and these are influenced by the new dynamic weather system. Wind can whip a small fire into a roaring blaze that moves from dry scrub ground cover to trees and buildings.

The new push for a more grounded, realistic battle simulation has led to changes in the sieges as well. In Pharaoh, troops will no longer have access to the so-called “pocket ladders” that seem to materialize out of thin air when they approach a settlement’s walls. Instead, players will need to decide ahead of time how many ladders to build and bring into the battle, and whether that’s worth the time and resources needed to prolong the siege. Another option is to use sappers to undermine a settlement’s defenses.

The campaign map itself is dynamic and reflects the state of the ancient world, whether it’s in a state of prosperity, crisis, or cataclysm. As conflict and political instability spread, the region suffers more severe weather events, increased attacks from the ravaging Sea Peoples, and finally total despair as the Bronze Age collapses into a chaotic dark age.

Overhead view of a bloody battle being fought at dusk.

Total War Pharaoh editions

Total War: Pharaoh will have three editions to choose from when it launches. There’s the base game, which retails for $59.99 USD / £49.99 GPB, the Deluxe Edition for $72.87 / £61.17, and the Dynasty Edition for $91.46 / £77.96.

The Deluxe Edition includes the first DLC faction pack and the digital soundtrack. The Dynasty Edition includes three DLC faction packs, the DLC campaign pack, and the digital soundtrack.

Players who pre-order will have access to an early access weekend prior to launch, although the date for that has yet to be announced. Pre-orders also include the Avatar of the Gods cosmetic pack, which adds a unique skin for each faction leader, and the Shardana Cosmetic Pack, which adds some unique outfits for generals’ bodyguards. These cosmetic packs will be included with pre-orders until one week prior to launch.

Here’s how we think Total War Pharaoh can succeed as the series moves away from the fantastical.