Empire: Total War: Land Battles Trailer

Oh boy, this is the big one for strategy types. The land battles trailer for Empire: Total War shows those 18th century musketeers in action, with the ultra-detailed new battle maps that allow proper use of terrain, and of buildings. The game is coming up in February 2009 and I’m already writing off most of the month’s potential productivity… We should have more detailed info on the game for you soon.

That campaign map is beautiful.


  1. Jigglybean says:

    I really hope that the AI isnt as bad as M2:TW was. That was a dreadful game

  2. Dante says:

    A plea to creative assembly.

    Please, please, please put Rourkes Drift in the historical battles. I want a game version of Zulu damnit!

  3. It's a Union Jack! says:

    I’ll just leave this here…

  4. drunkymonkey says:

    Well… I’ve seen enough of those Medieval 2 videos to approach this with caution. An excellent video does not mean a great game will follow, but man, I both hope and predict that it will!

    The detail in those units – like the drumming – was mindblowing, considering there can be about 1,000 units doing the same thing at the same time.

    I think that, finally, I might have a strategy game I love more than Rome!

  5. Kieron Gillen says:

    Dante: Wrong period. This is 1700-1800.


  6. Dante says:


    The date ranges for Total War games are getting smaller as they get further into the future, eventually they’ll be doing ‘Last Week: Total War!’

  7. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    I’m currently playing Medieval 2: Kingdoms (as the rampaging Welsh juggernaut) and the prospect of fewer sieges and more open battles is rather appealing at the moment, particularly given that the AI copes a lot better with the latter. Garrisoning could be interesting too, so long as it isn’t as twitchy as getting troops on or off walls in Medieval.

  8. rocketman71 says:

    Well, Dante, last week was really bloody! (ask Sarah Palin)

  9. Real Horrorshow says:

    Total War games have been crack since day one of Shogun. I will be sleeping outside Best Buy for this one.

    Jigglybean: You may be relieved to know that Medieval 2 was developed by their CA’s Canada studio. This is being developed by CA’s British studio, they’re the Shogun, Medieval 1, Rome guys.

  10. MeestaNob! says:

    I actually stopped watching at the first glimpse of the campaign map cause I wanted it to be a surprise when I play it.


  11. Duke Goosington IV says:

    the AI in Medieval 2 was absolutely abysmal, verging on non existent. Even on Very Hard mode, the only thing that made it vaguely challenging was the fact I got my money sapped and they got lots of it for free. Half the units were made totally obsolete simply by being 3 different shades of absolutely useless (archers taking out about 4 men from a unit before they engaged when those units are militia is ‘not a good cost/benefit equation’ or whatever, and the knights that rarely got a showing because most of the battles were sieges and they were pretty poor then). I understand that it was deliberate to show that most archers in the period (with the exception of longbowmen…. who still sucked anyway once you scaled the walls, which you would in about 2 minutes) weren’t of the highest quality, but there wasn’t much point in having them, from a players perspective.

    And despite ALL of that, it was still a game I spent weeks playing because it was great fun. So if they fix that, pleasepleaseplease, this will be a truly defining RTS.

  12. reiver says:

    In a post on the TWC fan forums one of the devs said there’s be no historical battles in this version.
    I’m not too bothered about the short period of time it covers as there’s as there’s so much technical progress and upheaval in it. It also allows them to return to a two turns per year format rather than the ambiguous “turns” which represented about 2.345 years in medieval. I do wish they were making the game longer than 200 turns though.

  13. Bhazor says:

    It looks like epic scale Company of Heroes but with elephants instead of tanks.

    That’s enough for me to get a preorder.

  14. Jigglybean says:

    @ Real Horror,
    Thanks for the info. I was aware of that and I am pleased that the UK guys are working on this – fingers crossed still.

  15. Theoban says:

    I’m going to give it a miss, I’m waiting for Wars of the Roses: Total War. Finally show those Lancastrians what for.

  16. cliffski says:

    this was around 80% FMV. Whats the point? If I want to see epic Napoleonic warfare, I’ll watch the Russian war and peace movie.
    The actual gameplay footage didn’t look anything like as good as company of heroes. They still have huge stupid oversized flags, which makes it look a bit ridiculous.
    I’d love this game to be awesome, but nothing in the video makes me think it’s a must buy tbh.

  17. caesarbear says:

    Without large flags the interface would be horrible.

  18. Bobsy says:

    God, yes.

    18th century tailors certainly knew how to make a sexy military uniform.

  19. Maximum Fish says:

    I just hope they’re not all siege battles, like in the last two Total War outings. That was the worst part of the newified campaign map, seconded by the overly complex movement system whose nuances were cool but totally irrelevant, especially when you could buy the entire armed forces of the Roman Empire from them.

  20. schmunkel98 says:

    Any chance of their being a multiplayer campaign mode? This would put it over the top for me.

  21. Biggles says:

    I thought Medieval 2 was developed by the Australian studio?

  22. reiver says:

    It was.

  23. Dreamhacker says:

    Are there any HD versions of this video? Or atleast higher res?

  24. dartt says:

    I hope I’m not out of line in linking to another games site but you can view it in somewhat better quality on eurogamer.tv.

    @Maximum Fish
    One of the things they’ve done with the new campaign map is to move a lot of city upgrades outside of the city; if you want to defend that fancy new engineering workshop you built you are going to have to march out and meet the enemy army on the field.

  25. Hogni Thor says:

    The AI designer for Empires, or one of them I read, is Luster, developer of the superlative Lands To Conquer mod for M2:TW. The mod made the AI in M2:TW far more believable, both in strategic and tactical modes (VH / VH). There were still some quirks to be sure, but far more enjoyable none the less.

    Luster’s farewell post on the TWCenter forum.

  26. cliffski says:

    “Without large flags the interface would be horrible.”

    somehow Company Of heroes muddles though.

  27. Mark-P says:

    That’s good to hear about Lusted. Firaxis produced impressive improvements for Beyond the Sword’s AI when they hired on a Civ 4 modder.

    The AI and overall difficulty level for Medieval 2 was woeful, and Empire will not be a compelling purchase for me unless they make a successful attempt to rectify those shortcomings.

  28. The Hammer says:

    this was around 80% FMV

    No. It wasn’t. The opening twenty seconds were, and then it was all using the in game engine, whether there was an overlaying interface or not.

  29. Jim Rossignol says:

    @Cliffski: the opening bit with the cannon balls and ships is FMV, then from where it says “Actual Gameplay Footage” onwards is in-game. The little men really are animated like that. Sure, they’ve ramped it up with camera wobble and removed the UI, but it’s still their engine.

  30. Someone says:

    I hope reviewers comment on whether the issues of Medieval TW2 were fixed. Seemed like all the reviews on MTW2 glossed over it’s rough edges. Sure it seems like a great game, until you actually try and play it.

    Don’t get me wrong, it was fun, but I remember Rome TW being better.

  31. Kieron Gillen says:

    Re: AI. I interviewed Creative recently. In hard numbers, they’ve just got many more people working on AI this time around. The last game this team made – Rome – had one, and he wasn’t a pure AI guy and did other stuff. I think – without checking my article – there’s 3 this time around, plus another two part timers.


  32. schmunkel98 says:

    Let’s hope after this release they re-do Rome. It is still my favorite era for these scale of battles. I catch myself re-installing it and playing every so often.

  33. Jim Rossignol says:

    Rome was the best one so far, easily.

  34. The Hammer says:

    Let’s hope after this release they re-do Rome. It is still my favorite era for these scale of battles. I catch myself re-installing it and playing every so often.

    /award medal for services to great game ideas

  35. Alec Meer says:

    You could kill more Popes in Med2 though.

  36. El_MUERkO says:

    i’m really looking forward too it, while M2:TW wasn’t perfectly balanced and the AI was at times sub par or prone to cheating it was none the less excellent and mods like Stainless Steal kept me occupied for months :)

  37. Gap Gen says:

    If the skirmishing is that good it’ll make a nice change from the to-me-to-you semi-turn-based attacking in Medieval 2 & Rome.

  38. Fumarole says:

    GOTY ’09 for me for sure. For those who don’t like the unit flags (which are mostly appropriate for this time period) there’s always a (rather small) mod released that removes them. This has been the case for the previous games in the series.

  39. EyeMessiah says:

    But what if I don’t want the way I need to think to be changed? I need to think that way!

  40. SanguineLobster says:

    I personally hope they remove a lot of the changes they tried in M:TW2 such as attempting to balance each of the big nations at the beginning of the game. The distinct imbalance made the older games much more interesting for me.

  41. Plopsworth says:

    Like Dante, I wish the timescale were a bit larger. There’s just that crucial period between the end of Medieval Total War (2) and Empire where lots o’ the good stuff happens.

    You’ve got your Thirty Years War (say it with me, DEFENESTRATION CUTSCENE!), The Golden Century of Spain (no, I’m not Spanish. I’m from Finland. Don’t blame jingoism, blame Arturo Perez-Reverte’s excellent Captain Alatriste novels), The rise of the Netherlands, Latvia and Poland (Winged Hussars!) fighting the newly formed Russians while Sweden running amok, Barbary Corsairs, The Medici and Italian Doge at each others’ throats, the Golden Age of Piracy etc.

    Also, a few years into the other direction into the 19th century you get the Crimean War. Epic stuff.

    Yes, late-Medieval has a bit of the pike, sword, and arquebus era, but I wish I could start a bit earlier in Empire and either lead or trounce Spanish tercios in Flemish fields. So yes, I can do that in Europa Universalis III, but I want to see the literal squares of pikemen and arquebusiers.

    So yes, we get the Napoleonic era and the American War of Independence. So there’s the Anglos and French catered for. Maybe they’re saving something for the expansion packs, but still.

    Still would’ve been nice with those Spanish tercios… Oh and alright *waves Finnish flag*, ravaging across the German states with Finnish Hakkapeliitta cavalry and also preventing Swedes from losing Finland to the tsars (or the opposite, taking Stockholm for Mother Russia) in 1808, or fighting the combined French and British expeditionary forces across the Baltic archipelago.

  42. Calabi says:

    Its completely innacurate though, I heard that soldiers during this time hardly ever hit one another(it was to do with phsycology, physology or phrenology).

    I like Rome but, what annoyed me about it, was it was too hard to control my army. To get them all to march towards the enemy you clicked, and then they’d all fall out of sinc. I’d end up more fighting my army trying to get it to do what I wanted it to do than I would the enemy.

  43. dartt says:

    I believe green soldiers would often aim too high, some models of muskets in that period had an arcing trajectory (first upward and then downwards) so their shots would go over the heads of their intended targets. You’ll often read about NCOs shouting “aim low, men!”.
    Aiming too low, however, could potentially result in the shot rolling out the end of the musket :D

  44. sinister agent says:

    They should do a Cuba: Total War, where the first player to do anything in any turn loses.

  45. Scundoo says:

    The troops aren’t in proper formation (shoulder to shoulder) since CA focused on “dancing duels” instead of making a suitable game engine.

    Once again you only get to command up to 20 units with a cap at about 250 men in each.

    Most units seemed to be identical, with only the facing colours changing with each nation.

    Shogun total war was a landmark in RTS gaming. I don’t think anything else even came close to that, except maybe the Myth series(actually that comparison is far from perfect. But both were 3d-ish, and you had to make do with what you had at the start of the game, no mass producing units). Rome total war added 3d in place of the sprites. What’s new with this? naval battles….yeah, woohoo. A realistic scale should have been the goal, and an AI which isn’t dumber than dirt.

    p.s. yes the graphics do look good, but after 5 minutes of that you just end up zooming out anyway in order to play the game.

    p.p.s. And while I’m ranting and raving, I might as well mention CA’s support towards moders. As in the fact that it’s non-existent. Lots of people put in a ton of effort and time in mods for RTW, producing stuff which outshone RTW, and made expansions like Barbarian invasion (or, *snicker* alexander) laughable in comparison. Europa Barbarorum, Fourth age and Napoleonic are but a few of those.

    Oh well, there is always HW les grognards and the mysterious LGS game.

  46. Binho says:

    About the giant flags: Since Rome: Total War it’s been really easy to disable them. In the same folder as the .exe there is a file called preferences (for medieval 2 it’s medieval2.preferences.CFG). It opens in notepad, and all you do is scroll down to the line that says:

    show_banners = 1

    And change the 1 to a 0, save file and voila! You can also remove that ridiculously large HUD that Rome introduced, and use the slick and less imposing Shogun and Medieval HUD (full_battle_HUD = 0). Even those silly green unit selection arrows/circles can be removed from within that file. It’s literally a 5 second operation.

    In fact, the preference file has a ton of customization options, and I don’t understand why CA don’t let you do all of that from the in game options menu.

    I look forward to Empire, but only when Mod’s come out to remove those ridiculous hollywood-swordfight animations, or “dancing duels” as Scundoo aptly put it. I am curious about the naval battles though. I hope they don’t mess them up.

  47. caesarbear says:

    “Without large flags the interface would be horrible.”

    somehow Company Of heroes muddles though.

    In CoH you can never see anything more than a few hundred yards away. TW games allow you to control troops on the other side of the battle field from your viewpoint. Why are you even comparing TW to CoH? They are completely different scale RTS games.

  48. jack says:

    Empire: Total Peace! How come that doesn’t exist?

  49. bilal says:

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  50. bilal says:

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