Total War Sagas will spin off specific points of history

A new branch of Total War games, going under the badge of ‘A Total War Saga’, will focus the historical strategy action on more specific times and places. Total War devs The Creative Assembly announced the new line today, which will kick off with “another spiritual follow-up” to Total War: Rome II. Total War Sagas will drill down into pivotal moments connected to eras the series has already covered, see, much like 2012’s Total War: Shogun 2 – Fall of the Samurai did. They’ll play the same but have a tighter focus.

Game director Jack Lusted calls the points that Total War Sagas will focus on “table-flip moments in history, where events are in the balance and could go any number of interesting and unique ways.” He explained in the announcement blog post:

“When we talk about games based around these moments in history that lasted months or years, we don’t mean short Total War games. They’ll have a narrower focus, but they will still be the epic sandboxes players are familiar with. Again, Fall of the Samurai is a perfect example of this. The period covered in that game was compressed down to a few months but a lot happened within those months. Future Total War Saga games may also cover time periods that short where a lot happens, while others may cover conflicts spanning a couple of decades but still focused on a single geographic area.

“To help show the kind of scale we’re talking about, the game that I’m currently working on has a map that is comparable in gameplay size to Total War: Attila, but focused on a smaller geographic area, and the campaign will take as long to complete as any other Total War title does. Focusing on a single geographic location in this way allows us to go into greater detail with the period and setting.”

Lusted makes clear that Sagas “won’t be revolutionary new titles or introduce brand-new eras; they’ll follow-on from previous Total War games and inhabit the same time-period, or at the very least relate to it.”

The first, he says, is “another spiritual follow-up to Total War: Rome II, like Total War: Attila, and moves the time period forward in much the same way.” This game isn’t even officially announced yet (marketing, eh?) so no, we don’t know when it will launch.

Creative Assembly are crammed full of war these days. Total Warhammer 2 is coming in September, this first Total War Saga will check in on those Romans again, and then after that a new Total War will visit a historical era the series has never seen before. And, of course, they have teams working on DLC and content updates. This recent blog post details all the war-juggling going on.

23 Comments

  1. Eightball says:

    Well that’s hopeful, some of their best work is narrowly focused mini-campaigns.

    • wombat191 says:

      except napoleon.. damn that was dull as dish water

      • Eightball says:

        I never got past the first mission in the campaigns in it because the generated maps were so bad. No, I would never have my army attack up a 60 degree slope.

  2. braven5 says:

    As long as it don’t impact the next 2 Total War Warhammer games that are currently in the works then all is good :-D

  3. Hoot says:

    I still feel that Shogun 2 is the best Total War game to date.

    • lrbaumard says:

      I logged in to say how much i agree with Hoot:
      Shogun 2 (including the highly excellent FoS) was the last great TW game.
      I’d still be playing medieval 2 if it could run on my 4k monitor too.
      Rome 2 was faeces, Attilla i’ve only recently got, trying to give it an honest go, but so far so Rome 2. Warhammer was faeces outside of battles. etc.

      • BobbyDylan says:

        Totally 100% agree. I was really hoping that Rome 2 would be more like Shogun, but sadly, they bollocked that one up. Played Attila, but I’ve sort of moved on from TW games now. Rome was so bad, I started playing Crusader Kings instead, and am now a total PDS-GSG addict.

        • DarkFenix says:

          Chiming in my agreement too. I very much appreciate the variety of and how different Warhammer has been, it makes for a great spin-off, but for the core series Shogun 2 was by far the best gameplay-wise, both the vanilla game and FotS (at which point the series finally nailed gunpowder combat).

          I do very much hope they go for more focused TW games, it will also allow a far greater variety of locations and eras, since pretty much any historic conflict can be used.

    • ZippyLemon says:

      After years and years of playing Medieval 2, I skipped to Shogun 2. Could never get over how floaty the units felt on the battle map. The infantry moved far too quickly. It felt like I was pushing lightweight cardboard around a table rather than commanding armies.

    • Blastaz says:

      I’ll have to be the person who disagrees!

      I really disliked the buildings in Shogun in that there was no purpose in developing your towns, on the economic side. You built a ninja dojo, a church, and a level 1 market and nothing else. Rise and Fall OTS both fixed this by actually adding in some economic buildings but that only created a cookie cutter where you built every non military town the same way.

      Rome 2 had a much more interesting campaign map level game, although they greatly simplified it for Emperor edition, where bigger was almost always better. Attila had the best campaign level game with lots of different factors to juggle but was undermined by the constantly degrading climate depressing your food production. Charlegmane really showed off the strength of the mechanics when they got rid of that.

      That said I wonder what period this will be set in. They did Alexander in Rome 1 and have now done Attila, Augustus, Periclese and Charlegmane what’s left? The Rise of Islam? That would be … brave.

  4. Drib says:

    Total War has been a pretty uneven series of games, but they’re doing alright lately.

    Here’s hoping these go well too.

  5. Ejia says:

    I don’t think King will bother throwing a fit about the name, now that ActiBlizzard has them. Or will they?

    Also, my RPS bookmark is from that time they went after The Banner Saga and RPS had changed its header to Candy, Saga, Crushgun.

  6. James says:

    As a history student and Total War fan, this only pleases me, I’ve missed the historical Total War games.

    Though, if they are following on from Rome II and Attila there aren’t that many military campaigns that the game could be focused on. You could fill in the middle by looking at the Third Century Crisis, but that’s far beyond the geographical scope they are talking about. The next major event after the Attila campaign was the Last Great War of Antiquity (603-628), a total war (appropriate) of annihilation between Sassanid Persia and the Eastern Roman Empire. They could also look at the unification of Arabia by Muhammed (622-632), which would certainly be interesting. Both campaigns pose a few problems for the researchers (in both cases people were too busy fighting to write detailed history) but fit into what the Saga series seems to want to do. If it turns out to be either of these campaigns, I’ll be looking forward to it.

    I’d like to place £5 on it being set during the Last Great War of Antiquity!

    • Premium User Badge

      Grizzly says:

      The Last Great war of Antiquity and the following rise of Islam (which was in no small part made possible due to that last great war) does seem like a great setting for a Total War Rome 2 follow up, with a great mix between up-and-coming factions and bastions of the old ways desperately trying to hold on to their position/top dogs too busy fighting each other to notice the third dog stealing their meal.

    • Blastaz says:

      Agree that this is the most plausible scenario, the problem is TW games where you start huge are never the most fun as there is too much micro from the off and once you have sorted out your economy and happiness you are unstoppable.

  7. Greg Wild says:

    Total War games have always had stronger campaign mechanics when they’ve been focused. They’re terrible “grand sweep of history” campaigns. So this sounds good to me.

  8. TotallyUseless says:

    I just hope they don’t make a TW Saga for Genghis Khan. In fact Genghis Khan could be a central plot and main faction for Medieval 3!

    Can’t blame CA tho for milking the WH franchise since they’re doing an ok job.

    • Greg Wild says:

      Genghis, no. It was his grandsons who invaded the West. But Genghis would be a great focus for Sagas. I think focusing on individuals is a great approach, myself. The best Total War campaigns are those that give you a specific historical scenario, IMO.

  9. Premium User Badge

    Grizzly says:

    Jack Lusted was one of my favorite mod authors in the Rome/Medieval2 days. The Lands to Conquer mod is a great rebalance of the Med2 game without going overboard, and it’s AI developments are the basis of many a mod in that engine even today.

    Also, love this idea! Total War games get better as they start involving decades, years or months rather then centuries. With this focus and Jack Lusted at the helm, it seems like a shot at exactly what makes Total War games fun for me.

  10. Koshelkin says:

    That sounds interesting but what Total War really needs, since a long time, is improved gameplay on the campaign map. It just slogs on and fails to give you diverse entertainment. Ressource-Management and diplomacy is so rudementary the only thing you really need to take care of is the size, composition and placement of your armies. Everything else derives from this and your aptness in conquest.

  11. mariandavid says:

    My idea of a focused campaign would be a ‘Rise of Rome’ with the map restricted to, but obviously much more detailed than before, the Italian Peninsula: And you play as Rome against a series of enemies from the Etruscans and the Samnites to the Southern Greeks. AI only for the enemies which makes the programming much easier, but very detailed politics and buildings and conversions and religion for the Romans.

  12. Skandranon says:

    Maybe I’m being overly cynical, but it kinda sounds like they’re tossing something together in which they can crap out low effort games to pacify the fans of Total War that prefer the historic side of the series, while they focus the majority of their efforts on the currently far more profitable fantasy side.

    Which is fine by me, fantasy’s more my speed anyway.

    • Serenegoose says:

      I think that might be cynical. If they’ve referenced Fall of the Samurai as a touchstone, that’s their best game imo, so I think it’s more just so that people know what they’re getting in terms of scope. Fall of the Samurai plays a bit differently to Shogun 2, despite using the same map, engine iteration, etc, so it’s a useful distinction. Additionally, Fall of the Samurai has a totally different unit roster to shogun 2, with ironclad steamships, riflemen, gatling guns, artillery, revolver cavalry, etc. Napoleon:TW (the equivalent to empire) also had significantly more granularity in terms of cannons, light infantry, cavalry, line infantry, etc, than empire had, so it’d be unfair to consider these low-effort stocking fillers, they usually contain a pretty abundant amount of New Stuff that isn’t just a reskin.

      I mean, there’s always time enough for CA to pull the rug out and do exactly the opposite, but I don’t think it’s fair to start by assuming these are straight to video TW titles when their past effort I think says the opposite.