Survival Strategy: Total War – Attila Announced

Creative Assembly’s next entry in its long-running strategy series will be Attila: Total War. The press release proclaims that the game will take “players to the brink of the apocalypse”, which brings all manner of remarks to mind regarding the direction Rome II took the series itself in, but there’s reason to believe that Attila will be a move toward more fertile ground. A tighter focus in the campaign should allow for improvement of the core systems and an emphasis on the end of an era could make for a tidier thematic approach. Attila will introduce new features, however, including “advanced street-fighting, civilians, complete settlement destruction and dynamic fire that can rage across a city”. CGI trailer below.

It’s not quite as distant as a sequel, either in terms of setting or release window (2015), as I imagined Creative Assembly might go for. I suppose a sweeping away of the remnants of the Roman Empire allows for some recycling of assets and strategic structure, as well as being potentially cathartic. When Jim and I discussed Rome II, I mentioned the American Civil War as a decent possibility for future Total War and I stand by that – a contained group of territories and a manageable timeframe could be interesting and a neat variation on Shogun’s brand of conquest. There’s enough that’s unique about the Civil War situation to create something quite different to anything Creative Assembly have tackled before as well, not least of which is a very limited number of factions.

I expect I won’t be alone in waiting until release before allowing myself to believe in the best possible Total War again, but I’d be chuffed if the series returned to its former glory. Creative Assembly would probably be chuffed as well and the criticism of Rome II has hopefully been constructive, even if the press release makes Attila sound like a wholly destructive proposition.

The Dark Ages approach. A time of famine, disease and war, where refugees in their thousands flee from a sweeping tide of destruction and death. Desperate barbaric tribes rally against the ailing might of a dying and divided Roman empire; the light of civilization gutters and dims. In the great steppes of Scythia, a vast and terrifying force gathers, led by a warrior king whose thirst for conquest is utterly unequalled.

The Scourge of God, the very herald of the apocalypse, Attila the Hun.

We shall see.

77 Comments

  1. IshtarGate says:

    Get with the times, Adam. They’ve shifted their branding around. Now it’s “Total War: Attila”, not “Attila: Total War”.

  2. thekeats1999 says:

    I was hoping their next game was going to be using the Warhammer Fantasy Battles licence.

    On a side note, how stable is Rome II now? Would that be a good one for a player new to the Total War series or is their a better one to start with?

    • AshRolls says:

      I too was hoping for Total War : Warhammer. Heh ho, maybe 2016/2017 ?

      • Loyal_Viggo says:

        Just get the Total Warhammer: Rage of the Dark Gods total conversion for Medieval 2.

        Your problems are solved.

        The mod community have made a better Warhammer game than CA ever will.

        • thekeats1999 says:

          You might have just decided which total war I go for. Thanks.

          • Volcanu says:

            The Third Age mod is also well worth a look. A very accomplished LOTR mod…

      • DarkFenix says:

        Personally I don’t want to see Warhammer: Total War until CA make a new engine, hopefully a decent one this time.

        • pepperfez says:

          Tabletop Warhammer’s gotten by this long with a shonky engine, why should the digital version be any different?

      • RanDomino says:

        Here’s the Rome I version
        link to exilian.co.uk

    • Jockie says:

      Rome II is better than it was and it’s always been ‘stable’ in terms of not crashing etc, it got a lot of optimization with the recent Emperor Edition upgrade though,

      It’s still a frustrating entry in the series. Agents are ludicrously powerful and the AI can be incredibly stupid. Once you get motoring the only real threat to your empire is making too many enemies at once or mismanaging your provinces which leads to rebellion and starvation. Managing large empires is fiddly too, it’s actually got a pretty good and simple to use UI, but it’s still quite an arduous task (crying out for a governor/automation system).

      Battle AI in sieges is also piss poor, it’s perfectly possible to lose a battle because an elite unit gets stuck on a ladder or the walls.

      When the game is working and you’re in a rare evenly matched battle it is rather stunning to look at though..

    • obi says:

      By now the KI, the performance and many of the strange gameplay decisions is patched to usual (goodish) Total War standards.
      Anyway for the best Total War experience (at least of the newer ones) I would recommend Shogun 2.

    • Zenicetus says:

      If you’ve never played a Total War game, I’d suggest starting with Shogun 2. It’s a much tighter, more polished design than Rome 2, if a bit limited in scope due to the geography.

      Rome 2 threw a bunch of different ideas at the wall, and only some of them stuck. It’s more playable now, but still a bit of a mess, design wise on the campaign side. The mega-mods for the older games like Medieval 2 and the original Rome are very good, but they tend to be more “hardcore” for difficulty, and it helps if you’ve got a feel for the overall design of the games first. So again, I’d recommend Shogun 2 as probably the apex of the “vanilla” games, so far.

    • Grey Cap says:

      Shogun 2 is indeed the game you should start with. Don’t forget Fall of the Samurai, a standalone expansion to Shogun 2. The main problem being then you’ll just be disappointed by any other Total War games you play.

    • Choca says:

      Seeing the quantity of brand new Warhammer stuff in the CA studio when I went there to see Attila, they’re definitely doing something with it.

    • gi_ty says:

      They just released the free update Emperor Edition. I haven’t had a proper dig through all of the new features but there are a myriad of improvements. The most common complaints seem to at least have been addressed. An overhaul to the AI which i have fought against is much improved in both sieges and naval combat. Also there is refinements and changes to the flaccid political system that seem to be moving in the right direction. A good time to jump in if your interested.

    • Vin_Howard says:

      To actually answer your question,I’ve never played Rome 2; but Shogun 2 is a safe bet and was, in fact, my first Total War game

  3. jimangi says:

    I’m surprised they’d do Attila before Genghis Khan. Maybe Genghis’ tactics were just a bit too gross to let the player employ. Or perhaps the types of military of Attila’s time are more satisfyingly different to what CA have done recently.

    • Volcanu says:

      Or maybe it’s because they get to largely re-use the same campaign map as Rome 2 this way? A proper Genghis game would have to include Central Asia and China.

      Or maybe I’m just an old cynic.

      • jimangi says:

        I think you might have something there. It was no surprise that Napoleon followed Empire.

        • JiminyJickers says:

          Napoleon was more a stand alone add-on pack though. Mind you, this may be similar too I guess.

      • Lanfranc says:

        Heck, with a few modifications they could probably reuse most of the character models as well. Late Roman soldiers weren’t that different from their Republican or Imperial ancestors, at least not compared to if they were doing e.g. the Renaissance or China.

      • Chiron says:

        Sounds right to me, pity because I might even have preordered Ghengis… even after being so utterly burned by R:TW2

    • Reefpirate says:

      But Ghengis Khan was like 1000 years after Emperor Augustus I thought… Atilla is more contemporary and directly interacted with the Western Roman Empire. Total War: Ghengis Khan would be a whole new game imo.

    • 2helix4u says:

      Oh I would give all the money for a TW: Genghis. China has been sorely absent from CK2 and Total War. It would be interesting to see how they’d balance the incredible superiority of the Chinese military at the time, I for one would bet they wouldn’t keep it and you’d have European armoured knights cleaving through reskinned samurai.
      Even still an asia centric game with the middle east and europe would be sweet.

      It’d be nice to play a historical game with a different centre of power to Europe/Byzantium.

      • Apologised says:

        Yeah, If they WERE ever to do a Genghis Khan game, it would be a Napoleon style follow up to a China: Total War (of the 3 Kingdoms).
        The unification of china by the Qin reads like someone doing a TW campaign on the hardest difficulty.

  4. Rao Dao Zao says:

    I suppose they had to HUNt quite hard for a new setting.

  5. Loyal_Viggo says:

    After the total, all-consuming and massive clusterfuck that was/is Rome 2 I will never purchase a day-one CA release again.

    The series has been shit since Medieval 2, which is still the best for total conversions and replay factor.

    Give it a year and a 90% off steam sale and I may consider purchasing CA again.

    • Gothnak says:

      I’m waiting for it to be a tenner, then i’m in. Does steam have a mode for that where you can tag a game and how much you’d pay for it, and get it to ping you when it reaches that amount? :)

      • Loyal_Viggo says:

        I recommend ‘Enhanced Steam’ for some superb tweaks and data options, including historical, cheapest, and regional pricing for titles.

        That’s how I monitor the best time and place to buy something even if its not steam.

  6. El Spidro says:

    Once again my dreams of Rennaisance: Total War are cruelly dashed against the rocks.

    There’s always 2016 I suppose.

  7. Mittens89 says:

    Is Rome II worth buying yet following the Emperor update (or whatever it was called)? Or is it still complete and utter rubbish? I remember sitting in on the Rome II developer session at Rezzed 2013 where we spent most of the time staring at literally the longest loading screen I have ever witnessed in a video game. It was a complete mess.

    • GenBanks says:

      If you can’t find at least some fun in Rome 2 as it is now then you probably never will… I think they’ve improved it hugely since release.

    • Jockie says:

      It’s playable but it’s just not very well designed and the AI is still sub-par. Loading times are long, but drastically improved if you can shove it on an SSD. The game IS capable of some the of best actual battles in the series (in my opinion), but they come along quite rarely.

  8. Volcanu says:

    It is a wee bit of a shame that they keep revisiting the same settings and time periods. I was hoping for Warhammer: Total War as it would have spiced things up a bit and been fun to see how they would have handled monstrous armies and magic etc.

    In historical settings I agree an American Civil War would have been good, at least for a more focussed military campaign, although I suspect it would turn a lot of people off through not having the same replay value potentially.

    Otherwise a Victorian era game would have been interesting.

    • GenBanks says:

      I agree, Victorian era would be amazing but would require a complete world map I think… Or at least Europe, Near East and all of Africa.

    • alh_p says:

      The problem with the uhmurican civil war setting is mainly gunpowder combat. Napoleon and Shogun’s expansion Fall of The Samurai improved on the black-powder mess that was Empire, but the TW games and their engines would need to change a lot to really suit musket tactics. Arguably the current engine doesn’t suit melee either…

      I think the ACW setting is further limited by the shortage of factions – or at least it would entail a significant redesign, not an unwelcome one if it means eschewing faction/unit model bloat but these are the things “fans” desire.

      A 30 years war setting would be broad enoughand straddle the melee/gunpowder age but guessingt he next TW setting always throws up the old favourites.

    • Stellar Duck says:

      For the US Civil War I’d suggest looking into the Scourge of War series.

      If you can accept the graphics you’ll find a game that puts the Total War games to shame when it comes to AI and accuracy. It’s a ton of fun to play and frankly, I’m having a hard time going back to the Total War series now. Just seems so hollow when it comes to the tactical battles.

      Granted, Scourge of War doesn’t have a strategy layer but that was never the strong suit of the Total War games in the first place and for the Civil War I’d suggest the laconically named Civil War 2 from AGEOD. If you can accept the UI that is.

      • Volcanu says:

        Hmmm I have been wondering about Scourge of War. Looks a bit rough around the edges but that never bothered me with the likes of the Combat Mission series so perhaps I should give it a go.

        I’m curious to see how Ultimate General: Gettysburg pans out too. Looks like it has some nice features, although it does seem to have gone for a curious blend of abstraction and unit animation.

        • Stellar Duck says:

          Aside from the graphics I’d say that Scourge of War isn’t rough at all. But I’ll admit that sprites are a bit of a throw back these days. But considering the size of some engagements I can understand the need. And frankly, once going it’s of no concern.

          I’d argue that the maps while also looking less ace than a TW map are a lot more interesting. Aside from being very accurate representations of the real battlefields they’re also filled with interesting features and ways to go about exploiting those.

          Edit:

          Due to SoW being published by Matrix it’s rather pricey for the complete edition so I’d suggest trying out the demo first! It’s available of scourgeofwar.com in the downloads section.

          End edit.

          UGG is a really cool game but it’s a bit shallow, at least in single player. Though the latest updates claim to have improved the AI so I may be behind the curve on that one. It’s quite fun in multiplayer though as a primarily Union player the CSA players are dreadfully dull. They tend to turtle like hell and wait with the attack until all reinforcements are on the field and then meelee spam everything at once using the fact that the CSA is better at meelee for whatever preposterous reason the designer had. Probably an idea that factions need to be counter balanced or something. It’s fine but it’s also more gamey that I personally like. While certainly a winning tactic it rankles me as that wasn’t really how those battles was fought. But that’s a matter of me wanting something different from the game than other people.

          For the price though, it’s a great game and I’ve gotten plenty of hours from it even if I’ve pretty much sucked it dry by now and have returned to trying to get Hoods counter attack to succeed at Antietam.

      • RanDomino says:

        I’ve always felt the opposite- for me, the meat of the game in Total War games is the strategic layer, with the tactical battles merely being an excellent way of resolving battles.

    • maninahat says:

      I always wanted a 16-18th Century Africa setting: maybe an “Empire Total War: Africa Colonialism” – that way you can have the various Caliphates, Ottomans, Benin and sub-Saharan Empires, and of course, the Imperialist invasions. Like Shogun 2, you can contrast the rank and file musket/rifle infantry, the more conventional swords and spears units, and the Tuareg nomadic cultures.

      • RanDomino says:

        There are so many other amazing eras that should be given the TW treatment before White People Total War Part 528.
        There was a promising RTW mod being worked on for a while called Asia Ton Barbaron (sadly appears to be dead) which was going to set Anatolia as its WESTERN border and the Eastern side be somewhere around Indochina. Not sure of the time period- some time during -500 to 500 CE.
        How about Sun Tzu: Total War, set during the Spring and Autumn era? Babylon: Total War? Tenochtitlan: Total War? Angkor: Total War?

  9. Phier says:

    If its going to be on the warscape engine, its going to be as flawed as Rome II was. Warscape is awful for melee and siege combat mechanics.

  10. Gap Gen says:

    If only there were a term for wordplay that sounded like Attila.

  11. GenBanks says:

    I’ve been fascinated by the American Civil War since I was a kid, but part of what makes Total War games interesting is the variety of factions. Having only Union and Confederacy would eliminate diplomacy from the game. Sure you could have Mexico and British Canada, but to make it truly interesting you would need to create the possibility of a European intervention in the conflict by fully including France, Britain, Russia, Spain…

    • Gap Gen says:

      The English Civil War would be great, but apparently it’s too obscure for a lot of people.

      • Eggman says:

        Just introduce a touch of magic and incest and sell it as a fantasy game. Call it, uh, A Game of Roses or A Game of Swords, or something like that.

        • Reefpirate says:

          I think you’re mixing up your internal English conflicts.

    • Zenicetus says:

      That’s exactly the problem with the USA Civil War as a TW game — no unit variety. It’s one army fighting itself.

      The naval side of the game would also be hopelessly one-sided, unless they went with a completely a-historical starting point. The battle maps would also have to be greatly expanded to account for much longer-range artillery and rifles. It’s just not a good fit for the series. They should stick to ancient or medieval history. Do China 3 Kingdoms next. And do it right, this time.

      As for this new one, after the CFK that was Rome 2, I’m not very interested even though I’m a fan of horse archers. I’ll see what it’s like a year after release. At least with this new one, they can avoid naval battles, which CA has never been good at modeling except for the eye candy.

    • maninahat says:

      The solution is more simple than you think. Instead of having two factions of grey and blue, simulate individual States as factions – you pick whether you support the north or south, and then try and convince these undecided states to join you (or if you piss them off, accidentally encourage them to support your enemy or stay neutral). That way, negotiation still plays a big part in the game, but instead of having many factions with lots of conflicts between each other, have many factions that might fall in line within the two sides of a larger conflict.

  12. Orija says:

    Weren’t the Huns Mongoloid-ish?

    • bstard says:

      Look up on traditional Xiongnu theory.

    • Wulfram says:

      The Huns were probably a mix of quite a few peoples.

      Attilla himself is described as “Short of stature, with a broad chest and a large head; his eyes were small, his beard thin and sprinkled with grey; and he had a flat nose and tanned skin, showing evidence of his origin”

    • Lanfranc says:

      Nobody has any idea who they were. Most of these people-armies weren’t really ethnically defined anyway. Same goes for the Goths, the Franks, the Vandals, etc.

  13. jpm224 says:

    “I mentioned the American Civil War as a decent possibility for future Total War and I stand by that – a contained group of territories and a manageable timeframe could be interesting and a neat variation on Shogun’s brand of conquest.”

    If you haven’t already, you really should try the American Civil War mod for Empire. Creative Assembly themselves would be hard-pressed to make a better ACW Total War game. It really is like a standalone Total War release, even down to the little historical notes that pop up for real events as you progress through the course of the war.

  14. Chubzdoomer says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s sick and tired of these Total War games all looking and feeling so similar to one another.

    I feel like the franchise is in dire need of a change of scenery. Why not a more modern or futuristic time period for a change? Even a Civil War, WW1, or WW2-based Total War game would be refreshing at this point. I’m sick and tired of the swords, shields, and catapults that dominate nearly every Total War game. Empire and Napoleon were actually refreshing changes of scenery, for example.

    How many frigging Rome/Medieval-based Total War games have there been now? It feels like the folks at Creative Assembly just churn out the same game every other year.

    • RanDomino says:

      TW is built for first-generation warfare. Mobile warfare and aircraft are not going to work in the formula.

      • Chubzdoomer says:

        I understand that excuse, but I don’t accept it. If they wanted to do a more modern time period, they could. It’d take quite a bit of work and numerous changes to the current Total War mechanics, but to say it can’t be done because it doesn’t match the franchise’s formula is, to me, nothing more than a lazy cop-out. You’d might as well simply say “it can’t be done.” That way of thinking gets you nowhere, and I’d like to think that few, if any game developers possess such a mindset.

        • fish99 says:

          Honestly modern warfare with firearms is just a lot less interesting to play in a TW setting. They have tried it with Empire and Napoleon. Firearms helped kill the Age of Empires series as well.

        • RanDomino says:

          It’s not that it can’t be done. It’s that it would be a completely different genre. It would be like making Half-Life 3 a text-based adventure.

  15. bob. says:

    Wow, so they went for Atilla now, allowing them to reuse the map and almost all of the Rome 2 mechanics. That seems really cheap. That is, unless they make some serious changes to the engine, i.e. completely rehaul the whole combat system – it certainly needs it.

  16. jacko says:

    Never liked Shogun. Napoleon still my favourite pick. I hope they focus on the 30 year wars at some point and with some more focus on the strategy map. Hell just give me Europa Universalis with TW battles and I’m satisfied.

  17. The Sombrero Kid says:

    I’m bored of total war if I’m honest, It’s making me want to make the Future: Total War game they so stubbornly refuse to make and capitalise on all that pent up desire.

  18. JiminyJickers says:

    American Civil War would be awesome. Even though I am not American or even remotely related, I have always enjoyed things about the American Civil War.

  19. 2helix4u says:

    Gonna keep supporting these guys regardless ’cause they’re the only ones making these very particular kind of games (Apart from sorta Dominions). Even though Rome 2 just straight up didn’t work at all on my PC for months and the game as it is working but flawed, its in dire need of a couple big mod overhauls with a few years behind them which it will likely get.

    Whoever above described it as a grab bag of mechanics with them fixing things to sort of work together post-release is pretty much on the money. It really feels like people trying to make “a total war game” without making attaching any of the mechanics together into a unified system of incentives and consequences.

    I am having some fun installing loads of modded unit packs and finding which nation has what, if the campaign AI was remotely ambitious or risky you could have some fun playing all the nations unlocked by mods.

    Third Age: Total war is still my favourite, followed by Rome 1 Total Realism, Shogun 2/Fall of the Samurai is a good game to get people into the series but it doesn’t have enough variety for my taste. I actually prefer Rome 2 for this reason even if Shogun is much better made. Loved the sieges though I have to admit.

  20. RanDomino says:

    Ruins of Glory- the only RTW I mod that matters.
    link to twcenter.net
    Give it a bit to fully recognize its brilliance. Thank me later.
    (topically, takes place in the immediate post-Roman era, but is definitely better than A:TW will have any prayer of being)

  21. SuicideKing says:

    Well, if it releases in 2015 then it should be complete by 2016.

  22. Roest says:

    That trailer was a waste of two minutes of my life.

  23. JamesTheNumberless says:

    Hm, I only really ever played the total war games for the opportunity to write my own historical narrative so never really cared for the tactical combat as much as the world map strategy. So of course when I discovered Crusader Kings and Europa Universalis there was really nothing for me in the total war games anymore. All that this game does is make me wish Paradox would branch out into the classical and/or dark ages :)