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.