Total War publisher Sega has released the first in-engine trailer for the latest full-fat historical game in the series, Total War: Three Kingdoms, as well as a delay in release from autumn this year to spring 2019.
While May’s Thrones of Britannia gave history fans a spin-off set in the turbulence of Dark Age Britain, it was built in the ageing Attila engine, and was a smaller-scale adventure with a price point to match. Three Kingdoms is the real deal: the first epic, era-spanning historical game since 2013’s Rome II.
And yet even it isn’t wholly conventional – its chief inspiration is The Romance of the Three Kingdoms, a 14th century historical novel by Chinese writer Luo Guanzhong. Set in China in the second and third centuries, it presents a romanticised version of history, following heroes who are capable of larger-than-life deeds.
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Today’s trailer takes a look at the first of those leaders: Cao Cao, a strategic mastermind who brings “grand speeches, breath-taking siege battles, and legendary duels” to the game, according to Sega. It hints at divisions in the grand coalition that was formed to oppose the cruel warlord Dong Zhou, and features a nice game of Go.
Sega confirm that the game will include “generals with preternatural fighting abilities, able to tackle scores of enemy troops single-handedly and heavily influence battles.” Expect those characters to take notes from the fantastical spin-offs in the Warhammer universe, with deep, RPG-like skill trees.
However, if you like your history plain-flavoured, Sega say the game will also feature a Classic Mode that offers “a more grounded, historically authentic Total War experience.”
When Three Kingdoms was first announced back in January, it was due to release in autumn this year – nicely leading into the holidays. Today’s trailer confirms a delay to spring 2019. That leaves only one confirmed Total War game unaccounted for – Warhammer III – which leads us to guess that’ll be out in autumn next year.