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Total War: Three Kingdoms has a day and night cycle

In a first for the Total War series of strategy games, Three Kingdoms will have a day and night cycle. The sun will move across the sky during your turn – you’ll notice the effect especially if you like taking a while – and should you attack someone on the campaign map, the time of day will determine whether or not you get a night-time or daytime battle. In previous games, you would decide this by clicking a button to delay your attack, essentially re-rolling the weather conditions and time of day.

Game director Janos Gaspar also tells us that, while the day/night cycle will occur ambiently, it will also “match” your own choices. Certain battles in Total War: Warhammer – notably the quest battles – were scripted to occur on certain maps and in certain conditions. It sounds like the time of day will adjust to similar predefined events in Total War: Three Kingdoms.

Other than determining the battle map, though, it doesn’t sound like the day/night cycle has a huge impact on gameplay. Rather, it’s all about atmosphere.

“We talk a lot about characters and character-centric gameplay, but we really wanted to bring the land alive as well,” senior designer Leif Walter says. “There’s lots going on on the campaign map, and the day and night cycle really helps to bring it to life.” Perhaps ambient details, such as the civilians you can see in the recent campaign flyover trailer, will change their behaviour depending on the time of day?

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Total War: Three Kingdoms’ release date is set for some time during spring next year. For everything else we know so far about the latest and most ambitious historical game in the venerable series, hit that link.