New Historical Total War Announced

Tuesdays can be quite boring in general. You’ve just had your weekend, your first day back at work and you realize you’re well and truly on with the week ahead. The folks down at Creative Assembly looked to break that trend as they announced their next historical set Total War Game.

A Total War Saga: Thrones of Britannia is, of course, this next title. Set in Britain during the Viking invasion the game is said to slightly smaller in scale but with a greater detail than ever before.

For the last few years, Creative Assembly has focussed on their fantasy title Total War: Warhammer. Just last week they announced they will be releasing new content for one of their older historical titles. That turned out to be some new DLC for Total War: Rome II. This announcement felt somewhat underwhelming for the majority and although Rome II still has a large player base, I think most were hoping for something a little more substantial.

This latest announcement is that substantial piece of cake those were waiting for. It’s not yet known what the developers mean by calling it A Total War Saga. I would expect the game not to be on the scale of something like the Warhammer series, but how small or big are we talking here?

The British Isles are not the biggest piece of land in the grand scheme of things, but neither is Japan and that still took plenty of time to conquer in Total War Shogun II. I’m hoping for something similar here. The era they have chosen is rife with history, political intrigue and clashing of different civilizations.

What we do know is that the game is set after the initial Viking invasion in 878 AD. Beyond that is pure speculation, but we did hear from series director Mike Simpson who had this to say, “Our aim with Total War Sagas is to explore key flashpoints at distinct places and times in history.”

“Unlike our era-spanning titles, we’re putting defined geographical areas under the microscope, building super-detailed campaign maps with a strong cultural focus and flavor that players can dive into. This will complement our broader-scope titles perfectly.”

So we know some broader details about this new title, but what is it we want from the next historical Total War game? What must the developers have learned from the excellent Warhammer series?

This first thing I think of is the combat. Warhammer has the best impact charges for any Total War game. When you charge a giant Tree-Man into a band of lonely swordsmen, the impact feels like it should. I want to see the same with cavalry charges in this next historical title.

Ships are also a huge part of Vikings DNA. In the Warhammer series, all sea battle is automated. This has to change for Thrones of Britannia. I want to ram people’s ships and then swarm them with hordes of ax-wielding Vikings, taking their heads as my prize. This was always one of my favorite parts of Total War games. Even down to having my reinforcements on ships for coastal battles. I loved seeing my fellow soldiers disembark from their ships, wade through the sandy shore and join the battle.

Another inclusion must be the minor settlement sieges. This is one of the biggest disappointments in the Warhammer series in my opinion. These were some of my favorite battles. Defending a small town with a few men became my party trick. You could close the tight streets and defend till the last man, going all 300 on them.

The variety of units that the Warhammer games are something a historical title will most likely not be able to replicate. There should be some variation between the Saxons and the Viking for example, but I think the main source of difference will be aesthetically or through the use of formations, which brings me onto my next point.

Thrones of Britannia must have shield walls and flaming arrows. This is something I dearly missed in the Warhammer games. I would expect this to be in any historical title as it has in the past, where appropriate. There’s nothing quite like having that solid wall of defense whilst you rain fire upon your enemies.

Family trees are also a big plus for me in Total War games. I love carrying on my legacy from father to son, arranging alliances through the use of marriage. It adds a role-play element you don’t find in a lot of strategy games. Sadly, I’m not sure we will get this in Thrones of Britannia. This seems to be a character-focused title, and I think figures like Alfred the great and Guthrum the old will be main players in the wars to come. That said, Total War: Attila was character focussed and that still included family trees, so here’s hoping.

The tools and the ground works are already here for Creative Assembly to exploit. Fans have kept coming back in their numbers time and time again. That’s because you can’t get this kind of core gameplay anywhere else on the market. Total War has a great legacy of historical titles and there’s always a slight tension when they choose to focus on a new setting. I think in this instance they have chosen the correct setting. It’s brimming with conflict and has a lot of details they can focus on. Include as much of what made your games special and I can only see this being an excellent title.

As much as it pains me to say, I already feel hyped for this game. Let’s be honest, we know nothing about the title yet but I’m sure in the next coming months, further details will follow. Thrones of Britannia will be out in 2018 and there is already a Steam page where you can pre-order the title.

Constantly threatening to write a book, but always with a story to tell. Tom has a typical northern English soul. He may sound as mundane as Jon Snow, but at least he tries to articulate. Lover of video games, comics, geek pop culture and wishing he could play Dungeons & Dragons.
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