Total War: Warhammer 2: release date, races, campaign - everything we know

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Forget the Old World you know: we’re going west, where the carnosaurs roam and toad-like mage-priests levitate in their palanquin-thrones. Total War: Warhammer II takes Creative Assembly’s trilogy-in-progress to new continents, but it’s no grab for territory - a new campaign shakes up the victory conditions too.

Creative Assembly made their name with the Total War series, at least one of which will probably always be on our list of the best strategy games on PC.

Read on for everything we know about the grand strategy sequel, and to find out how you can combine the two Total Warhammers in one big mega-map.

Total War: Warhammer II release date

Total War: Warhammer II Lizardmen

With the announcement already in our rear-view mirror, it’s tempting to think ahead to release. It’s not likely to be a terribly long wait: Creative Assembly are planning a PC release by the end of 2017.

That’s not so surprising when you consider that the studio have two dedicated Warhammer squads: a new content team, and the ‘main’ team, responsible for producing the expected trilogy of Total Wars in partnership with Games Workshop.

Total War: Warhammer II setting

Total War: Warhammer II

CA emphasise that the continents we’re exploring in Warhammer II are “mysterious”, but they’re not so enigmatic that we don’t know which they are.

If you followed the countdown that preceded the game’s announcement, you might already have had a glimpse of Lustria - the Aztec-ian jungle empire also known as ‘the one with the Lizardmen’. The land itself has a reputation for being hostile - not to mention stuffed with dinosaurs, so that should be an interesting one to scout out.

We’ll also be seeing the isle of Ulthuan, a geographically odd ring of land partially sunken during the Sundering - the great civil war that divided its natives into High Elves and Dark Elves. If you’ve ever played either of those races in the tabletop game, you’ve this one curved strip of land to thank. To the east are the Shifting Isles, a maze of mists and magically-moving sandbanks. And beneath the volcanic mountains live most of the dragons left in the Warhammer world. In the centre of the ring is the Isle of the Dead, where the great elven mage Caledor Dragontamer conjured a vortex to drain the Winds of Magic from the world. More on that later.

Naggaroth, or the ‘Land of Chill’, is where the Dark Elves wound up. They inhabit the north-eastern quarter of the continent, though their influence is felt all over this frozen land. And finally we have The Southlands - the part of Total War: Warhammer II’s map that’s been least explored in Games Workshop’s existing fiction. Believed to have once been connected to Lustria, the Lizardmen have many cities in the jungle here, and there are also Dwarfen and High Elven outposts nearby. Perhaps the most notable inhabitants, though, are the Skaven Clan Pestilens, who kicked out their rivals in a bitter civil war and whose eventual dominance of the continent led to them being given a seat on the ruling Council of Thirteen. Finally, the jungle is also infested with Greenskins, with the Savage Orc tribes that dwell here considered barbarous even by orcish standards. 

Total War: Warhammer II races

Total War: Warhammer II High Elves

Given the lands we’ve just described, the new playable races in Warhammer II will come as no surprise: the High Elves, Dark Elves and Lizardmen will all show up to defend their respective continents and fight with their neighbours. They’ll each come with unique campaign mechanics, and their army rosters will be a nice variety of troops, monsters, spellcasters, and siege weapons, plus Total Warhammer’s character classes: Heroes, Lords and Legendary Lords.

A fourth faction is yet to be revealed, but the presence of a rat at the tail end of the trailer, and the fact that one of the four new continents has a heavy Skaven presence in the lore, should let you make a pretty confident guess.

Total War: Warhammer II campaign

Total War: Warhammer II Lizardmen

This is where Warhammer II gets really interesting, in a couple of respects.

First, this is a Total War campaign in which the goal isn’t territorial conquest. Not alone, anyway. We come to the New World at a time of crisis - just as the Great Vortex that has swirled above Ulthuan for millennia starts to fail. 

The Vortex is a great plughole that sucks magic - the essence of Chaos - from the world. Every race has a vested interest in either saving or disrupting it. Campaign progress is made by performing a series of arcane rituals, and Creative Assembly say this struggle will lead to a “cataclysmic” endgame that will shape the fate of the Warhammer world.

The second point of interest is the prospect of a combined campaign map. If you own both Total War: Warhammer I and II, you’ll get a free update shortly after release that lets you play across both maps stitched together, as any of the existing playable races.

As ever, though, the campaign represents hundreds of hours of empire expansion, city development and widescreen, real-time battles. That much doesn’t change.

Total War: Warhammer II trailer

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If any of this is failing to coalesce in your head, just take a look at Creative Assembly’s stunning announcement trailer. Here you’ll see High Elves, Dark Elves, and Lizardmen clash in a magically-charged conflict that reflects the focus of the whole campaign.

“The success of the first game has increased our ambition,” says game director Ian Roxburgh, and that’s already evident. 

The more we know, the more we’ll print here - so check back for more info, and share your excitement in the comments.

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Shriven avatarMighty Gaz avatarQDP2 avatarRowan the Roman avatar「Spaerk」 avatarFreakshow avatar
Rowan the Roman Avatar
2 Months ago

Looks like an announcement for the Lustria/new world game. Especially given the thing which looks like a ziggurat in the background.

Shriven Avatar
6 Months ago

When companies announce massive amounts of DLC for their game it, for me anyway, just acts as a giant "WAIT FOR GOTY" flag.

Mighty Gaz Avatar
6 Months ago

indeed. this one is particularly cash grabby.

QDP2 Avatar
2 Months ago

To me this looks like a Total War: Warhammer 40K :O

If you go to the countdown website and look at the building in the foggy woods (pyramidal-shaped, with an odd crystal-like structure at the top), it's very comparable to a Necron Monolith..

Consider me hyped!

「Spaerk」 Avatar
2 Months ago

TW:40K with Necrons would have definitely been great, but the Lizardmen are neat, too.

Especially the feature two play on both maps (from I and II) sounds interesting.

QDP2 Avatar
2 Months ago

I hope that one day the 40K license gets shared with Creative Assembley (I believe Games Workshop still own the licenses for game production of 40K, they haven't limited themselves to THQ have they?)

The multi-map support reminds me of the Lord of the Rings version of Risk. They made 4 maps (one for each corner of Mordor) that you could just put together and play over the entire area. I hope the balancing works and results in a square-enough map. 4 maps is easy to turn into a square, but if TW:W2 is to the west of TW:W1, where can they place the 3rd installment to stop it from being one extremely long (and narrow) map?

Freakshow Avatar
1 Month ago

A few years ago Games Workshop opened up the license to anyone who wants to make any video game of their choosing. So it is up to CA (Sega) if they want to make a 40K version.

But I believe after they finish up the 3rd sequel for this, they are doing a Lord of the Rings game(s).