Sadly, there's no room for a "Aren't You A Little Short For A Dictator?" gag in the subject line. C'est la vie, as Napoleon might have said with a Gallic flourish. News breaks from the European Land-Mass Videogameisual Show that - as perhaps expected - Creative Assembly are adding using the tiny tyrant as their next step on from Empire: Total War. CA's interview with IGN is about the only information in the public sphere which isn't in the press release, their site gubbins or the trailer. You'll find all of them, for your convenience, beneath the cut.
The press release:
TOTAL WAR LIVES THE LEGEND
Direct The Life Of Napoleon Bonaparte in Napoleon: Total WarTM.
LONDON & SAN FRANCISCO (August 19th, 2009) – SEGA Europe Ltd. and SEGA of America, Inc. today announced Napoleon: Total War, the first in an all-new story driven branch of The Creative Assembly’s multi award winning Total War RTS franchise. Napoleon: Total War will keep the franchise’s genre-leading 3D battles on land and sea. The turn-based campaign is split into three different story-driven campaigns, telling the story of the rise and fall of Napoleon Bonaparte through his most famous battles.
In Napoleon: Total War, aspiring generals have the chance to play as the legendary French general Napoleon Bonaparte or as one of his opposing factions. Battling through his three biggest military campaigns, the game will take you through Italy and Egypt, narrating the early years of the fearsome commander, while the third campaign will tell the story of his fateful drive towards Moscow and, ultimately, his showdown with the Duke of Wellington at one of the most famous battles of all – The Battle of Waterloo.
“In Napoleon: Total War you get to actually be Napoleon - to face the problems he faced, to win the battles he won, and to build the Empire he built. Or better,” commented Mike Simpson, Creative Director at The Creative Assembly and father of the Total War franchise. “However, the game allows you to step in the shoes of his opposing generals as well, allowing the player to rewrite history as they see fit.”
Napoleon: Total War expands on the successful Total War series by taking all the features from previous games such as the full 3D land and naval battles, the detailed campaign map, and an in depth diplomacy system and taking them a step further.
History is as yet unwritten.
Napoleon: Total War™ is the new chapter in the critically acclaimed Total War series and opens up a new narrative layer to the genre-defining franchise. From the early Italian campaign to the Battle of Waterloo, Napoleon covers two decades of relentless battles, a backdrop of a world in flames against which the story of an extraordinary military career unfolds.
Whether you play as the legendary General or against, the outcome of war can never be guaranteed. The course of history relies on your ability to lead your troops through the most intense battles as never seen before in a Total War game.
The genre-defining franchise brings Napoleon to life:
Napoleon: Total War defines a new standard within the genre with exciting characters and a cinematic narrative, mind-blowing battle sequences and an unrivalled mix of turn-based and real-time strategy.
Three new episodic campaigns:
Take command and lead your armies on land and sea over three campaigns: Italy, Egypt and Mastery of Europe. The seamless mix of objective-based missions and sandbox experience makes this the most complete Total War experience to date.
Napoleon features fully integrated multiplayer modes and a complete set of online functionalities: Steam achievements, gameplay bonuses, uniform editor and voice communications.
All new Napoleonic battles and units:
Advanced weaponry enables new tactical options and even more exciting real-time battles on an epic scale, while the highly detailed environments and improved battlefield buildings guarantee a realistic recreation of famous historical battles.
Hmm. My top level view raises an eyebrow a little - the talk of mixing the sandbox and the set-pieces is an interesting approach, but it does lead you to wonder exactly how much freedom there's going to be in them. Reading the IGN interview, there seems to be a case of creating an objective - say, pushing back the fucking Austrians - and then being able to go about it how you wish. Will this allow them to keep the narrative core they like while giving you the freedom of action? God knows. And it's a bit of a shame there's no talk of - say - expanding the timeline of the previous game into the 1800s.
But still - the Total War expansions have tended to be a more coherent, focused experience than the game they sprung from. I suspect this is one thing Empire could really do with. It's looking for a February 2010 release.
That said - it doesn't actually say that this *is* an expansion pack at any point. I suspect we're in expandalone territory.