I See No Ships (trad)

By Kieron Gillen on August 14th, 2008 at 3:55 pm.

Sexy Boats. I'm using this one a lot. I'm sorry.
Actually, for the first time, you do (also trad). Sega have released some actual in-game footage of the much-anticipated Empire: Total War. On any other day, it’d be the most exciting naval-vessel news of day, except for the story Jim’s just posted of a similar nautical bent. But we’re still pretty excited. Video and commentary beneath the cut…

00:07: “SEGA”. That still seems odd in front of a Total War game.
00:10: “Creative Assembly”. That’s more like it.
00:10: Ooh, tracking shot of a cannon. Is this in-game yet? I don’t think so.
00:14: A battle between assorted period troops on land. They fall to the ground. Still doesn’t look in-game yet. Except maybe it is? That’d be splendid. Hmm. It appears that this commentary is being brought to you by a forum poster circa 1998.
00:16: Cannons. This is like a game of Risk.
00:17: Person waving flag on building in a revolutionary fashion.
00:18: Ships firing!
00:21: Another tracking cannonball shot. Actually, I think this is rendered.
00:15: The Logo. Yes, that was a rendered video. Phew. My hard-drive is safe.
00:34: Words appear on screen “Actual Gameplay footage”. I must presume this is footage of an actual gameplay variety. It’s pretty.
00:38: Oh – it’s a boat. Or a ship. I still don’t know the difference.
00:50: Pull out. Actually, it’s many ships. Six of them. They look like majestic herding creatures of rope, canvas and oak.
00:56: And they bring in the actual game control stuff, which looks quite similar to the standard Total War malarkies. As in, big square window with troops in middle, map on the left, icons on the right.
01:07: A monologue about arms race between the superpowers, etc which has me thinking that the term “superpowers” seems far to anachronistic for my taste when I’m distracted by an in-engine version of the tracking the cannon ball shot. Which is probably just as anachronistic, but escapes the brush of my disdain by high awesomeosity.
01:21: Ships engaged in an actual battle, shown from in-play rather than cinematic angles. If you want to know what the game will look like, this is the place to skip to. Cannons fire en masse. Aces.
01:39 “You must respect the power of the wind”. Which sounds like a cue for a Gamesmaster joke from about 1995.
01:50: Bits of the ships falling apart in a destructible ship-bit kinda way.
01:54: Boarding sequences shown. There will be boarding.
02:02: Close on the actual battles on ship.
2:05: Battles are getting more pretty fucking brutal. Ships on fire, listing to stern and… yeah, it’s a total war game… but at sea. If they could only work out a way to freeze the oceans and have Elephants charge, it’ll be perfect. And give those elephants shotguns.

In short: Never let us design a Total War game. It will only end in disaster.

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20 Comments »

  1. Jim Rossignol says:

    Empire developer interview coming up soon, btw.

  2. The Poisoned Sponge says:

    Was it just me or was that monologue thingy spoken in such soft lilting tones that you could barely hear it over the sounds of battle? And it also seemed more like a history documentary than a trailer from the narration, even though the whole ship battle thingys look very purty.

  3. Chemix says:

    I don’t know exactly that it is, but each time I buy one of the total war titles I get hard addicted in 2 days for 2 weeks and then I never want to touch the blasted thing again.

  4. Bobsy says:

    Oh dear fucking god the world cannot take this much awesome.

    On 01:21: Not actually what playing the game looks like. At least for me. Press pause, issue orders, then zoom in close to watch the fireworks all cinematic-like. Been that way since forever, y’know?

  5. lukasz says:

    the ship shooting looks awesome.
    I still want Shogun 2 though

  6. cyrenic says:

    I’d like to see ship battles in the next Rome: Total War (if they ever make one). Cannons are nice and all, but ships intentionally ramming each other is way cooler :D.

  7. MaxMcG says:

    I drool.

    Utter Win.

  8. Okami says:

    @Chemix: No, you’re not alone. It’s the same for me. I guess the campaign is just too fucking long, it gets tedious after a while. Rome’s campaign was the only one I’ve ever really played through. In Shogun, Medieval 1 & 2 I’d usually play to the point, where it was basically me and 1 to 3 other major powers locked into a bloody stalemate.

    I actually stopped playing Medieval 2, because I knew that I hadn’t enough time to conquer everything I needed in order to win the game. That was really demotivating, because by then I’d conquered the british isles, france and lare parts of germany, so I was doing rather well. But a quick calculation revealed, that I needed to conquer one city every two turns from now on in order to win and that blasted pope kept threatening me with excomunication.

    Never had more than one cardinal in play at any time too, and everytime a new pope was chosen, it would invariably be a member of a faction I was at war with at the moment. Damn vatican was giving me hell all the time.

    But yea, bloody addicting games nonetheless. I shall buy Empire and play it to bits for at least two weeks. And then cop out in shame..

  9. UncleLou says:

    I see some more ships: http://www.eicgame.com/?page=screenshots#

    Looks almost identical, they even use the same perspective in some of the shots. One to keep an eye on.

  10. Beefeater says:

    Great visuals, but the narrator’s voice didn’t go well with the script. Not that his voice was unpleasant, just a bit hammy.

  11. Fumarole says:

    The Total War series is the closest thing to gaming nirvana for me. This looks to raise the awesomeness to yet another high.

  12. Ben Hazell says:

    0.22ish, sound effect lifted from Battlestar Galactica.

    Looks pretty great.

  13. simbo says:

    That sounds like Sean “Sharpe” Bean…?

    EDIT: Actually maybe not, not northern enough.

  14. Buckermann says:

    Needs more sharks. With lasers.
    Other than that, excellent.

  15. Sum0 says:

    With every new Total War game they just keep adding awesome features which make it even more perfect. The downside, of course, is that the previous games now lack the things you’ve got used to.

    I agree with the comments about how Total War games just get too strenuous after a time. I’ve been playing Medieval II recently for two centuries (and it feels like it, too), and when the Danes declared war on me for no reason (another complaint I have) I just thought: that’s it, I can’t fight a billion wars at once and expand my empire and appease the Pope and lift the dozen sieges on my cities. A faster pace, perhaps? (Though I shudder to consider the effort of managing the entire world.)

    I’ve also been musing about a modern Total War series. Obviously expanding your empire by force wouldn’t be as much a viable option (unless you’re Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia, say), but exerting cultural and hegemonic power over other states (e.g. how Canada and the United Kingdom are arguably under the thrall of the US) might be a intriguing gameplay concept.

  16. mujadaddy says:

    This looks very cool… one problem, though. Why are all the cannon shots from 3 or fewer ship-lengths? The balls *do* fly further than that … Closing is a last resort in ship battles…

  17. Yargh says:

    anyone else really like the ripple of fire effect when the larger ships fire off a broadside?

  18. Steelfist says:

    “The balls *do* fly further than that …Closing is a last resort…”

    LOLOL

    But yes, it does look excellent, now at least.

  19. reiver says:

    @simbo
    It does sound a bit like him. It’s probably intentional. They did the same with Rome when they had the tutor doing an impression of Russell Crowe.

    I’ve got mixed feelings about the new game. I know i’ll buy it and enjoy it, as I have all their games (since that tantalising demo of Shogun and the agonising 3 month wait for the release), but i’m worried there hasn’t been enough progress. I strongly believe that this series is best suited to a real-time strategic map in the EU style. I don’t hate TB gaming but in the TW context I find it extremely limiting and frustrating. It has so many flaws and consequances that inhibit realism and gameplay which are only exacerbated by CA’s decision to reduce the number of turns to 2 a year.
    The other announcement that sucked the wind right out of my anticipation sails was that they’re sticking to the rigid 20 unit limit per army. This just reduces the game to a series of fun but indecisive skirmishes. With this limit there’s unlikely to be significant battles that change the shape of the world. Battles where you can look back at as the defining point in your campaign. No Austerlitz, Assye nor Waterloo. It also takes away a massive advantage from the AI as you can almost guarantee to never be outnumbered.
    That’s one of the reasons the endgames lack the excitement of the early game. After a certain point there’s almost no point playing. Once your nation is establised and you’ve rolled out your first 20 unit uber stack the end result is inevitable. Hopefully the AI will either match pace with the player (the way the original Medieval’s did) or the improved diplomacy will see proper alliances aganst any would be Napoleons.

  20. El Stevo says:

    Mmmmn, what does ‘trad’ mean?