Shogun 2: Boats, Fortresses, Men

Shogun 2 is coming, and I believe we have SPLENDID information about it arriving on the shores of our isolationist archipelago quite soon. In the meantime you can gaze sullenly at this cinematic trailer, which implies boats, fortresses and lots of angry-looking samurai. They’re going to do some war, real soon. Like, totally. Arf.


  1. Sobric says:


    *don’t mess it up CA, don’t mess it up!*

    • Alexander Norris says:

      Dude, it’s CA. Of course they’re going to mess this up. Shogun 2 will be a buggy, broken, unplayable mess that doesn’t qualify as a game for the first twelve months of its existence, then an expansion pack will come along that fixes the original problems but introduces a whole new world of bugs.

      By 2014, it’ll probably be playable. That is, if they’re letting people mod the core parts of the game again instead of locking them out to sell unit reskins for $2.50 a pop while neglecting to fix the core game in favour of releasing all the fixes as a separate title which they charge full price for in the euro zone.

    • Mad Doc MacRae says:

      Yeah, optimism at this point just means you have no pattern recognition.

      Which is disappointing because I’m reading Shogun right now.

    • Vinraith says:

      It breaks my heart, but I can only agree with Alexander. A break of pattern at this stage would be nothing short of astonishing, for all that I’d love to see CA turn it around just in time for a Shogun sequel. For God’s sake CA, just open modding back up so people can fix the broken mess you’re bound to release. Your games clean up so well when you let them.

    • Geezer says:

      Actually some of the original games were either playable from the get-go or only needed one patch to get up to snuff.

      It wasn’t until Failpire that suddenly nothing worked anymore and you needed 15-16 updates to STILL have a bug-infested, but kinda-sorta working game. I have no idea what happened, but I suspect at some point scope or internal handling got out of hand, or maybe teams changed, or publishers pulled out the raep-whip more than usual.

      Either way, it wasn’t always such epic buggy-fail.
      Personally I am curious whether they will manage to make it fun to Samurai through your opponent etc pp or whether they’re going to botch some part of it all, but more on the gameplay side.

      Very much interested in this.

    • Popish Frenzy says:

      Yeah medieval 2 had a number of serious bugs at release, while napoleon from my experience and from what ive read on the TWC forums is pretty bug free (and very good). If anything, napoleon broke a run of bugged games at release. On its own I wouldn’t call that a reason to be optimistic but neither do i think empire’s sorry release state is a good reason to be pessimistic.

      What I do think a good sign though is that shogun will be using an improved version of the empire/napoleon engine rather than building a new one from scratch.

  2. Garg says:

    I wonder if the war will be of the total variety?

  3. Elyas says:

    Cherry blossoms really add color to a battlefield.

  4. Mereli says:

    I just hope it won´t be riddled with bugs.
    I still can´t really play empire because of all the (mostly graphical) bugs.

    • Pema says:

      ETW was a crashfest. Too many bugs that werent squashed by CA.

      NTW, though, is technically perfect.

  5. TheApologist says:

    I’ve always been a bit scared of these games – too scared to actually jump in and play one.

    But they should be just the sort of thing I like. I hope this is a) good and b) not completely inaccessible for a noob

  6. Metalfish says:

    Looks like a much “purer” (is that turning into one of those meaningless gamer words?) form of tactical combat than the last couple of games. Medieval 2 was brilliant, Empire wasn’t so great for me since I prefer stabbing people up -so insta-kill ranged weapons for all made for a somewhat samey experience.

    The real question is when/if these guys are going to step on Mount & Blade’s toes and let the player have an avatar on the field? I think it’ll happen at some point, even if it’s a spin off for the console crowds, like Spartan….

    • Lack_26 says:

      Wait, Empire had ranged weaponry? I didn’t notice over the sound of my bayonet charges.

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      Samurai Archers were pretty lethal if you used them right in the original. I never bothered with arquebusiers or muskets once they were available though.

    • Bhazor says:

      Reply to Metalfish
      Actually I have heard in a preview that the troops are customisable including the faction leader which I guess is your avatar. From what I heard theres fewer unit types but each unit type can play multiple roles depending on what you give them. So fast lightly armoured archers could be given polearms and spears and used as quick anti-cavalry units, charging into their flanks as heavy infantry take the brunt of a charge.

      link to

      All in all sounds pretty good to me.

  7. monkeybreadman says:

    Funny i was thinking about this just yesterday. Taking it back to the old dojo

  8. Curvespace says:

    Looks nice, but I hope they spend more than an afternoon on the AI.


    • battles_atlas says:

      The tea boy has been given the morning off his regular duties as well this time.

  9. Peter Radiator Full Pig says:

    A good sounding game.
    However, i shall never pay for another CA game, after Empire.

    • Nallen says:

      I didn’t play anything like as much Empire as I did Rome, but I never had any issues with it. Suprised people are saying it was really buggy.

      Empire was boring I thought. Or maybe my play style was. Abushing and charging and hundreds of tiny sword fights was fun. Pointing blocks of men at each other and waiting for one to fall over wasn’t.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      The diplomacy AI in Empire still doesn’t work, refusing to recognise that you have the upper hand in any conflict and thereby requiring you to end every conflict by eliminating each and every singly faction that declares war on you. That’s how broken Empire is. As for the game’s stability it pretty much runs without crashing nowadays, but it was a mangled mess at launch – like every Total War game ever.

      Also like every Total War game ever, the opening cinematic is very nice but the game is going to disappoint everyone.

    • Zwebbie says:

      Same here. The combination of bugs, looooong loading times, terrible AI and the utter blandification of factions, people and locations in Empire made it atrocious enough for CA to be placed on my list of developers I’ll never buy anything else from. Which is a shame, because Shogun 2 would be pretty interesting if I weren’t familiar with Empire’s lack of fun.

    • Novotny says:

      CA have shafted us for years with the same games but fresher bugs. Empire was a bitter disappointment. Didn’t they have just one man working on AI – and it wasn’t his primary job?

      It seems CA have such contempt for the public that they reckon a fancy bit of CGI will help sell us the same crap again.

      I’m not even going to even with the trailer. It’ll take some genuinely great reviews to make me think of getting my fingers burned with them again, but then again, look at meta-critic for Empire Total War – 90%.

      Then look at the disparity between the public reviews and the official ones: 6.7 to 90%.

      It’s a winning formula: the game is shiny and seems to have enough depth, so in the time your average reviewer has to make an assessment, he decides it’s good. Yes, there are crashes, but he’s assured most have already been caught for the first patch.

      It takes a while to realise that beneath the interface, nothing works. For instance, you don’t notice right away that the AI cannot use boats. What? A game about sea-borne invasions, and the AI can’t do them.

      Every fight, almost without exception, resolves in exactly the same fashion.

      Hoi3 is not a perfect title by any means but they try very hard. When challenged in regard to their AI and asked how it compared with Empire, they responded to say they weren’t aware that there actually was any AI in Empire, which I found amusing. Cue little spat between developers.

      The simple fact is, CA have continually re-released the same title for a decade, using the absolute bare minimum of staff needed to convince a publisher to release the shoddy but re-shinied thing; their objective being as much coin as possible and to hell with any integrity whatsoever. Gamers are so stupid they don’t even notice.

      Well, screw you CA. We did notice.

    • DiamondDog says:

      Disappoint everyone? Speak for yourself.

    • littlewilly91 says:

      Yeah Empire boring, but this is Shogun! Horsees and pikemen and men with swords.

      These are fun battles surely. Storm the keep, and then the keep within the keep, and within that keep the keep, and every stage the defenders pouring boiling oil over you.

      I think Creative Assembly should branch off into something, still Strategic historical empire building, but with a different formula. And maybe not under the Total War title where they have a certain obligation to stick to the old rules, just “from the makers of”.

      I’d like to see a finite description of who the player is. The soul of a nation? Because the biggest bossman in all these different political states never had the general control the player has in Total War.

      Maybe more incidental events to get you to believe in the world, like a dialogue tree where you argue with your daughter about who she can marry, and afterward you see the rippling butterfly effect of your actions.

      The simultaneous turn based gameplay of something like Frozen Synapse could be brought to this genre, and I think it would be a more realistic display of the history.
      -How come If I’m a massive army of cavalry I can walk most of the way across France and storm Paris without being intercepted? Because of the turn based nature of the series! Silly!

      And those are just my ideas. There are tonnes of areas like these that they seem to have forgotten about, and dabbling in the fundamentals occasionally would reassure me that creative assembly is still creative and not just making variants on an old lucky card, not taking any risks, variants that are awkwardly difficult to flick between because of their slightly rearranged interfaces. I’d buy into that, not this thing I’ve played before that they are running into the ground.

    • The Innocent says:


      There already are simultaneous-turn games like that; the ones I play are usually PBEM games like Solium Infernum or Dominions 3. It works a lot better with everyone moving at once, and I agree that the AAA industry could afford to draw mechanics from the smaller- and indie-games market and innovate their games. Simultaneous turns always seemed to me like the best way to simulate an empire in a turn-based game.

    • Davie says:

      Instead remembering Empire, I’m remembering Rome and Medieval II and all the good times we had. It looks like that’s what they’re going for here, so I’m not worried. In fact, I’m quite excited.

  10. Dreamhacker says:

    Have they promised campaign multiplayer yet? :P

  11. FinalSin says:

    Thanks, Gametrailers. We never forgot you.

    • Nallen says:

      Thanks, Gametrailers. We’re Shogunna remember you for this one.

      What happened to the Gametrailers puns? :(

  12. Richard Beer says:

    You can lead a Shogun 2 Total War, but you can’t make it think.

  13. VonFIDDE says:

    Dont wanna sound rude or anything, it looks cool and all that i give them that… but what will they really improve rather then the visuals? The AI havent been improved since vanilla Shogun :/. I will buy this game like all other totalwar games however i stil lhate it, i rather see another company taking the throne away from CA cuz they really dont deserve that spot.

  14. K. says:

    I’m hoping for a demo that includes the strategy map gameplay this time around.

    I do not care for the individual men I send to death on the battlefield. What counts is only how resource-efficient they can defend that piece of land.

  15. Magjam says:

    I will never give money to CA after the rip-off that was Empire.

    They still haven`t made a fully working playable multiplayer campaign.. only a beta… and it was promised for release.. false advertising is illegal.

    • Lack_26 says:

      They’ve been promising multiplayer campaigns (or at least hot-seat) since Medieval II, they never each time they promised it was just a patch away.

    • Lack_26 says:

      *they never delivered but each time promised it was just a patch away.

    • Tyler says:

      @Lack_26: Actually, they promised a multiplayer campaign for the first Shogun, too

  16. Jerd says:

    Everyone is neglecting the most important question about the next Shogun: Total War.

    Will there be more Ninja FMV sequences?

  17. Reapy says:

    I played empire for about 2 hours and never turned it back on due to the gun boredom problem. Looked cool to line them up, the volleys looked cool, but then the battle was just standing there aiming.

    Besides that I have played all major total war releases because shogun did something no strat game has done before , and that was bring large scale conflicts to life.

    Since then, I’ve just hated mostly all of the controls. I didn’t try napoleon, but from looking at empire, they still have it a nightmare to shuffle your troops around. One of my biggest complain in the real time portion of the game was how slightly adjusting your army would totally destroy it. Every game is punctuated by a moment when I misclick while trying to advance my army, causing a total meltdown in formation. Then I have to pause the game, then painstakingly redraw each of my units to maintain the original formation. I really really wish they could correct this or come up with a new method to steer people around the battlefield.

    Then on the campaign map, I’ve always had a problem with their control methods, just some simple usability things that made it irritating to manage rather than fun. They do tend to experiment with these things from game to game though and I have noticed that it has gotten cleaner on the campaign map game to game.

    Well anyway, this one has people hitting each other with swords, so I’ll probably pick it up, but probably a few months after release.

    • FunkyBadger says:

      You can edge individual units around with the arrow keys in Empire. Seemed a lot more streamlined to me than the earlier iterations.

  18. littlewilly91 says:

    I started on Rome Total War. Surprisingly easy to learn and soon began constructing massive strategies. I’m sure there’s a demo somewhere.

    I didn’t like Empire because added just enough to the interface to piss me off and there seemed to be lots of features that passed me by, like Fable 2. Also bigger is not always better sadly. And the tactics on the battlefield with guns and bayonets are less interesting than the rock paper scissors business of cavalry, pikemen, swordsmen and archers.

    Maybe I just need to persevere with it, but the period didn’t come across as very entertaining and maybe i’ve just tired out the whole formula.

    Shogun better be better, and I think there’s a fair chance it will be. Returning to the routes.

  19. bill says:

    Will they include Hokkaido and Okinawa this time?

  20. Unaco says:

    Oooh… Shiny.

  21. Susan says:

    The real question is when/if these guys are going to step on Mount & Blade’s toes and let the player have an avatar on the field? I think it’ll happen at some point, even if it’s a spin off for the console crowds, like Spartan….

  22. Shimarenda says:

    I really hope CA gets this one right. By going back to a setting where there was practically no diplomacy or trade, perhaps they can shed the extra stuff and focus on what made the first game so good: building cities, building armies, and fighting battles.

    • D says:

      Internal politics don’t count as diplomacy to you? It is supremely important CA work on diplomacy for this game.

  23. watashi says:

    I’ve been sitin here for about 15 mins, and every time i write a sentance, i pause and then delete it.
    I loved all the total war games and have devoted Hundred of hours to each game,
    I have also screamed, cursed, ranted, sobed pleaded and stared with disbelife at my pc screen.
    Bugs i can kinda deal with, true devotion to a hoby can excuse a mutlitude of sins,
    What it cant forgive is bad IA
    The amount of pure hate inside me over the failure of the total war games in the field of BAD AI
    renders me unable to politely and coherently discuss it in any commpany what so ever.
    I could rant for hours over example that have plagued me since the creation of med2 but i wont.

    (Oh france why did u break aliance and declare war when your total millitary was 46 peasants and i have over half a million heavy cavarly)

    I wont buy this game , because it will have BAD AI, hundreds of bugs and patches that make the game werst. And from what ive seen the sole selling point is “look at this, the game is sooper shiny!!!”

    Bugger, I find my self ranting anyway … sod it…

    • Novotny says:

      I know exactly how you feel. I loved Rome, and had so much goodwill for CA. Many of us really want to play these games, however it’s become readily apparent that CA just doesn’t give a shit about their customers. Furthermore, this is compounded by the fact that not only do they not care, they think we’re too stupid to notice it’s just the same old crap recycled with the minimum effort.

      I mean, if you’re intending to sell millions of copies of something, is it really too much to hope that more than a couple of people will actually be employed on the project? Are they really that fucking tight and cynical? It beggars belief.

      it would be nice if Shogun turned this all on its head, but that’s extremely unlikely.

      I’d really urge people not to buy this game. Force CA to reconsider it’s strategy. Make it financially unworkable for them to produce shit titles.

      I mean, Civ 5 comes out in a month or so. We can completely ignore Shogun.

    • Jimmy says:


      In fairness to CA, Medieval 2 Total War is a great game. The visuals are absolutely splendid and the sense of immersion is incredible. I mean, just look at some of the play-through histories on fora and see how much people get caught up in the little worlds they have formed, a symbiosis of human imagination and the world presented to you by CA. I have little doubt that Shogun 2 will be any less worthy.

      I have found the battles in M2TW to be engaging enough, while also appreciating the extreme complexity of coding an AI that must take into account so many possibilities and player strategies. Most people are utterly unaware of the work involved. I am not sure if it is an internet rumour that there was only one individual working on AI, but the AI is functional even if quite problematic. Mods go some way to correcting these things, but it is still swings and roundabouts.

      I do hope they really work on the AI and make Shogun 2 the definitive title in the TW series. Then maybe, change tact and modify the gameplay much more for future releases. Like others here, I have no interest in 18th and 19th century ‘line up and fall over’ military strategies.
      I will most likely purchase Shogun 2.

  24. Jimbo says:

    The perfect Total War game is a rare thing. You could spend your life looking for one, and it would not be a wasted life.

  25. Tennifer says:

    Nice that they seem to have some of the totally amazing music of the original shogun.
    Honestly though I feel I wasted money on the total war series from med2 onwards since they simply don’t care about AI! Both battlefield and campaign AI are atrociously bad. They all are strategy games without any startegy ot tactics after Rome.

  26. Shadrach says:

    I really hope they make the game more mod-friendly than Empire. Just look at the amount of amazing mods thats come out for M2TW, they are like new games – Third Age, Call of Warhammer, Deus Lo Vult etc, true works of art.

  27. Don says:

    Haven’t we seen this before? The trailer showing the ships on lovely ripply water, troops marching to and fro, missiles flying, men fighting and dying in suitably dramatic fashions. Trouble is all that cool stuff rapidly becomes meaningless when your opposition thinks a sound strategic move is to stand and fight your massed forces with half a cavalry unit and a siege weapon.

    Empire is the last game I bought from CA trusting they’d got around to fixing the problems evident in earlier games. I skipped N:TW as it was just too similar (and equally strategically incompetent judging from the reviews), this time I will wait and if I read a lot of reviews from people whose opinions I value proclaiming that finally CA have managed to do something at least vaguely competent, which is not that difficult after all, then maybe I’ll shell out. Until then they can release as many shiny battle sequences as they like, I just won’t be impressed.

    • Novotny says:

      The problem is, all the people I would normally judge to have excellent opinions said Empire was outstanding.

      It was, but not in the way they meant.

  28. Collic says:

    I want to believe this will be good, but past experience has taught me not to make any judgements until the game is out in the wild, and people are playing. It’s sad to say, but I don’t trust reviews of total war games after empire.

    I’ll be hoping this one will smooth everything over, though… fingers crossed.

    • Novotny says:

      I can only hope that someone working on the game sees our comments and thinks it might be worthwhile putting some investment into the title, as opposed to just milking the franchise.

      I’m a cynical optimist.

  29. jvempire says:

    Time to put ya guns on.

  30. cdm says:

    Have they fixed the blurry text bug in Empire yet?

    Oh, they never will, ok…

  31. tigershuffle says:

    still cant get Empire to play through Steam……really regret buying it as a download instead of the DVD version :( so its just something hoggin 10gb on my hd.
    Thank god for Warband :)

    Loved the original Shogun and even bought Medieval2 just to play the LOTR mod.

    Shall finally heed my own advice on this and sit tight for a few months before daring to purchase.
    Damn you CA for making this cynic even more cynical!

  32. Derf says:

    Idea for the next true revolution of Total War:

    – Logistics
    – Real time strategy (Knight Of Honour)
    – Command based battle

  33. Craig Laycock says:

    Hi all,

    Craig from The Creative Assembly here. Very recently our very own Mark O’Connell, aka SenseiTW, has been working his little socks off to create a new improved Total War Forum. I’m now pleased to announce that they are now complete and open to all our fans. To get involved all you need to do is sign up here:

    As a special bonus, everyone that signs up will get an exclusive Napoleon: Total War unit for FREE!

    Once you have signed up you will be able to create your own personalized War Room at link to where you can view stats from all your past campaigns and battles including the achievements you have unlocked, your skill rating and even the number of men who have fallen by your hand, friend and foe! We hope to see you there soon!


  34. Kong says:

    Hi all, hello Craig from Creative Assembly.

    I purchased and played every Total War title excpet for Napoleon, yet.
    I loved and hated the games for all the reasons already mentioned.
    I pray that Shogun will not repeat the simplest ones.
    I will not buy another CA game at full prize ever again when it is merged with Steam like Empire. Right now I am reinstalling Empire, patching it via Steam takes ~30 minutes. That will not do for me in the future. I want the patch update on my HD.

    Hope dies last.