A Total War Saga: Thrones of Britannia announced

The first Total War Saga, a new spin-off sub-series from the historical strategy games which will focus on very specific times and places, is off to good ol’ Blighty. Sega today announced A Total War Saga: Thrones of Britannia, which travels back to Britain in 878 AD. While the focus is tighter, Creative Assembly say it will offer “the most detailed Total War campaign map ever made.” They’re not showing anything of the game yet but it’s broadly Total War so I’m sure your imagination can fill in the details as you watch this animated announcement trailer:

The devs set up the situation:

“The year is 878 AD, the embattled English king Alfred the Great has mounted a heroic defence at the battle of Edington, and blunted the Viking invasion. Chastened – but not yet broken – the Norse warlords have settled across Britain. For the first time in nearly 80 years, the land is in a fragile state of peace.

“Throughout this sceptred isle, the kings of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales sense a time of change approaching; a time of opportunity. There will be treaties. There will be war. There will be turns of fortune that become the stuff of legend, in a saga that charts the ascent of one of history’s greatest nations.

“Kings will rise. One will rule.”

They’ve previously pointed to Shogun 2’s standalone expansion Fall of the Samurai as an example of tight focus in Total War, the sort of thing they want in Sagas. More along those lines sounds good.

Thrones of Britannia is coming to Steam some time in 2018.

Creative Assembly are also working on a new historical Total War game set in an era the series hasn’t visited before. And back in more familiar history, they’re making another expansion for Rome II, named Empire Divided. Meanwhile in fantasyland, they’re still building bits for Total Warhammer II and a third game.


  1. Vacuity729 says:

    And they’re working on further content for Total Warhammer II, as well as number 3.
    I really, really hope they manage to keep the quality up, as the quantity of material they’re working on seems to be very high. In this respect, I do kinda wish they had some kind of competition in this niche to mix things up, and encourage them to be attentive. Right now, they’re doing a reasonable job with their releases (though there’s plenty of Internet-hostility to the Mortal Empires release being less than perfect), but they’ve dropped the ball before more than once.
    For better or worse though; it’s pretty much a one-studio niche. They created that niche and by the looks of it they’re working hard at filling that niche up to its gunwales with releases.

    • Silvermarch says:

      I do think they did a great job with Warhammer 2 despite various bugs. I am just hoping they don’t leave the Warhammer 1 contents in the dust. Although the Powers and Politics update and Empire Divided
      for Rome 2 look really good as well, so I think it is going to be a good time for Total War fans.

    • Lord_Mordja says:

      CA’s a pretty big company with a lot of different teams. For example, the people who made Total Warhammer are completely separate from the team that makes all of Total Warhammer’s DLC.

    • Werthead says:

      Creative Assembly have over 500 staff in several locations in the UK and another one in Sofia. They’re a huge operation now. Their current projects are, I believe:

      Warhammer II DLC
      Warhammer III
      Rome II: Empire Divided
      Thrones of Britannia: A Total War Saga
      Untitled Historical Total War Game
      Untitled Completely New Game (from the Alien: Isolation team)

      That’s a very impressive slate for a single studio.

  2. Hyena Grin says:

    This period and location in history has been getting a lot of attention in television lately, so it’s not a huge surprise they’ve chosen it.

    Not that I’m complaining, I quite like the sound of it. I haven’t really been satisfied with their Viking and viking-adjacent stuff in the past, so it’ll be interesting to see how they’re handled in a title that’s more or less all about them.

    I wonder if we’ll get the colorful, nominally egalitarian, historically accurate vikings, or the drab maurauders of popular visage. I guess we shall see.

    If there aren’t at least some women warriors to be found I’ll be disappointed.

  3. Werthead says:

    Yup, with Vikings and The Last Kingdom (and Bernard Cornwell’s novel series continuing) doing good business, it’s not surprising seeing them do this period again. The last time was the Britannia campaign in Medieval II: Kingdoms and before that was Viking Invasion for Medieval I, so whilst it’s a period they’ve visited before, it’s been a while.

    I am intrigued by the Big New Game, which I’m going to guess they’re aiming for a 2020 release. That would make it the game with the longest development period since Empire. We know it’s an “all-new” period (i.e. not somewhere they’ve been before) so I’m hoping for a China game. Makes sense as they can start in the Warring States, move to the Three Kingdoms later on and have the An Lushan Rebellion, Mongol Invasion and the wars with Korea as DLC/expansions.

    • Vacuity729 says:

      Personally, I’m very sceptical that they’ll release a China-focused game; I’d guess the market just isn’t there for it. Very few people outside of China have more than a very passing familiarity with any of the conflicts you mentioned (in fact I’d guess most have essentially none whatsoever), which makes it a very hard sell indeed. If you’re thinking success in the market within China, the honest answer to that is that a Western studio selling a game about Chinese military history on PC at full price is a near-guaranteed failure in the Chinese market.

      • stringerdell says:

        Dynasty Warriors is really popular you know. There would probably be a decent amount of interest in Total War: Three Kingdoms

      • Lord_Mordja says:

        I mean, I doubt the Three Kingdoms era is any less obscure than the Japanese Warring States period, which is where the entire Total War series got its start.

      • Werthead says:

        Fun fact: the very first Total War game was going to be set in China, but the Creative Assembly team got enamoured by a samurai board game someone had brought into the office and ended up changing it to Japan. So if they were planning the first game in the series, which had the entire fate of the series riding on it, to be set in China I see no reason why they wouldn’t consider it now, when it would be a much smaller risk for them. I think there’s also a lot more interest in China and Chinese history now than there was a few years ago due to China’s growing prominence on the world stage.

        You certainly don’t need to be from a country to be interested in the history of the country. Empire, as the only title to visit the United States, doesn’t seem to have sold any better in the US than the other games and Shogun and Shogun 2 don’t seem to have done any better in Japan.

        The other advantage of a Chinese game is that you can do a Mongol expansion and link that into the invasion of Europe later on. The Mongols have been in three Total War games but have never been the focus of them, so that would be quite interesting as well.

        The other issue is that if it isn’t China, what is it? The South American empires or a focus on India would be equally obscure, the American Civil War is way too much of a hot potato and also limited in scope and WWI would seem to be beyond the scope of the game without some pretty hefty changes to the mechanics.

        • dsch says:

          I will buy a TW game set in China even if they don’t improve the shitty campaign map that’s been dragging the series down since Rome 1.

  4. ChiefOfBeef says:

    This is a launch of a whole new franchise, using the Total War brand which has been dragged through the mud since Fall of The Samurai. CA have simply forgot how to make a Total War game, with incremental improvement in each new title. Instead they have been stripping features and it’s getting worse, designing games around the AI because they can’t improve the AI. They’ve shown little interest in holding the existing audience and are instead chasing a new one.

    • Tuidjy says:

      This is a launch of a whole new franchise, using the Total War brand which has been dragged through the mud since Fall of The Samurai. CA have simply forgot how to make a Total War game, with incremental improvement in each new title.

      After the release of Rome 2, and for a period afterwards, I would have agreed with you. But I think that Total Warhammer showed everyone that Creative Assembly is not moribund.

      This said, I clocked hundreds, sometimes thousands, of hours on every Total War before Rome 2, and even though I enjoy Total Warehammer, the scope is just too big. I start a new game, and then the idea of going through all of it is daunting.

      I am very curious what they will produce for their Saga franchise. Maybe it will be something I can enjoy a lot.

      • ChiefOfBeef says:

        Warhammer is the pinnacle of everything CA have been doing wrong with Total War since 2011: arcade-paced battles, even fewer features, old features disguised as new by simply relabelling character abilities as ‘spells’ and adding effects to them etc. With Warhammer 2 they back-peddled somewhat, especially in regards the battle-pace, but it is still heavily feature-stripped and not a return to consistent title-on-title incremental improvement. I think they knew how badly they dropped the ball with Rome 2 and may even have used the Warhammer license earlier than they intended to because they needed something to hold on to old Total War fans and a cross-over of franchises has been hoped for a long time. If they had released a historical title as stripped-down and simplistic as Warhammer, it would have bombed worse than Attila did.

        • TheOx129 says:

          I think those critiques are fair, but I’ve also seen plenty of players praise the faster-paced battles and streamlined strategy layer – to the point where they’re calling for similar designs to be incorporated into future historical titles. Which I think gets to the bigger issue CA will have going forward with the series: Total War is different things to different people, and it’s going to become increasingly difficult to balance their desires. Some folks just want a cinematic battle simulator, others want a deep strategy layer to give their battles context; some want to play chess (i.e., more abstraction), others want more of a simulation; some want to roleplay, others want to optimize; etc.

          While Warhammer is a good distraction, I think CA really need to shakeup their formula a bit for their next historical titles, as they’re close to falling into the Ubisoft trap of not iterating enough with each new title. If I remember correctly, they toyed with the idea of introducing a supply system in Empire, and I’d really like them to revisit that idea. While they can be somewhat clunky and opaque given Rome 2’s modding limitations, the population and supply systems introduced in the Divide et Impera overhaul add a lot of depth to one’s military campaigns.

        • melancholicthug says:

          “Arcade battles”? You mean, like literally everything they did after Medieval 1 and its expansion? The pace of the battles has increased constantly since then. Maybe M2 not so much (or maybe I’m being influenced in my memory by using SS the last time I played it…).

          • ChiefOfBeef says:

            If we consider the ‘old’ Total Wars to be the first decade, then only Rome 1 had a significant increase in pace and shortening of battles. Medieval 2 as the immediate main title follow-on had a reasonable pace, as did Empire. The trend towards shorter battles, smaller maps and faster pacing, with it’s excess focus on flanking and cycle-charging click-fests begins with Shogun 2, which strikes a fine balance between old and new. After that it just gets worse, reversing course only when Warhammer 2 arrived this year.

  5. Zenicetus says:

    I love me some archers, so although this is a bit early for the classic English longbow period, I’ll probably get it. If the reviews are good.

  6. klops says:

    1:14 “Fiyaaah!” Hmph, I’m petty but that line always annoys me with archers. You don’t fire with a bow.

  7. mariandavid says:

    What impresses me most about CA is their willingness to fix what is wrong and to consistently work on improving each product. The classic example of this is Rome II – something of a disaster initially (though never as bad as the usual culprits claim): But then steadily improved by upgrades and several DLC until today it is (it seems) the most varied and most popular of all of the CA historical games. The only blemish left is the siege mechanics and the two Warhammer games show that this is not really solvable in terms of the AI – hence the abandonment of ‘circular’ sieges in return for ‘frontal; sieges which the AI can comprehend. And quite apart from the DLC the fact they they dedicated assets to a four year old game in improving the political system is highly unusual as well as satisfying – I wish a few other companies would do the same.

    • klops says:

      CA’s willingness to fix what is wrong? The AI is generally shit in all Total War games. In some games such as Empire it was up to the modders (DarthMod) to put some sense into it.

      Last Total War I bought was Medieval 2. The AI was shit both in campaign and battle maps and especially in siege battles. By the information I’ve read/seen the AI hasn’t improved much after that and many people still rank Medieval 2 quite high among Total Wars. (Of course, I haven’t played TWars properly in ten years so I could be completely wrong and read just the naysayers’ comments. [Then again, I doubt it since for some reason reviews in general didn’t mention the idiotic AI until Empire where it apparently was abysmal. ?])

      But the games sure are pretty.

      • mariandavid says:

        That was 13 years ago – and although it may seem inconceivable clever people have improved AI’s – yes and made it prettier.

        • klops says:

          The idea of smart people making AI better is not inconceivable at all. Unfortunately by the stuff I’ve read that hasn’t really happened that much since they get customers anyway and the reviewers are in general ok with the dumb AI (Except in Empire they for some reason weren’t).

          Even you said that the AI still can’t handle sieges. Sieges that _must_ be put into every game for some reason. But yeah, I have only played some battles with the newer Total Wars so could be that I’m missing something here. And yeah, I’ve also read that especially the Rome expansions smartened the AI.

          I agree on the DLC policy.

    • Janichsan says:

      What impresses me most about CA is their willingness to fix what is wrong and to consistently work on improving each product.

      Except when it comes their first-party Mac ports of Rome 2 and Attila, which are broken and badly unoptimised messes, and which they dropped like hot potatoes (Rome 2 Mac won’t even get the latest patch and DLC).

      • mariandavid says:

        My regrets over that – I had forgotten that Mac ports were being, well ‘ignored’ is a polite way of putting it

        • Janichsan says:

          At least CA learned they lesson and didn’t try to port Total Wahwahhammer themselves, but let the experienced porting experts from Feral do it. Still disappointing that Rome 2 and Attila are essentially abandoned on the Mac.

  8. Biggus_Dikkus says:

    “The Lady of the Lake,……her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite, held aloft Excalibur from the bosom of the water, signifying by divine providence that I, Arthur, was to carry Excalibur. That is why I’m your king!”

    • shde2e says:

      “Just because some moist bint lobbed a scimitar at you, doesn’t mean you get to boss everyone around!”

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    phuzz says:

    Ahh, but will it include a cake baking sim?