The subtitle that became the name of an entire series has finally been given its rightful place. The next Total War game will be called Total War: Shogun 2, and that’s the game I talked about with The Creative Assembly’s studio boss, Mike Simpson. We didn’t stop there, of course, because the conversation had to turn to Empire, Napoleon, problems with AI, the nature of multiplayer gaming on the PC, and the possibility of Total War: The 20th Century. So read on for some perspective from the strategy supremos of Sussex.
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Posts Tagged ‘Mike-Simpson’
[Another postmortem from the vaults. I’ve actually got a lot of these – about twenty. For a couple of years on PC Format, I did one a month for them. The idea was simply to chat to a developer about one of their previous games for a couple of pages, in kind of a more casual, laid back version of the sort of thing Gamasutra do so well. I’ll be sticking them up here, one every Friday, until I run out. With the announcement of Empire: Total War, I thought it a good idea to start with Mike Simpson of Creative Assembly looking back at Shogun. This was a fun one – Simpson was completely self deprecating at all times, even in the face of the most ludicrous flattery.]
Shogun was an epic game that changed everything, rejuvenating the real-time strategy game at a time when it seemed that it was just going to be a tank rushing eternally down a game-design cul-de-sac. With its unique, atmospheric setting and its groundbreaking marriage of mass-scale battle scenes and high-level Risk-style strategic management, you presume that it was always destined for greatness. After all, this sort of thing couldn’t just happen without a plan. And you’d be wrong.
“It actually started when I joined the company,” reveals Creative Assembly’s Creative Director Mike Simpson, “Then there were five people, doing a sports game. A rugby game. We were looking at setting up a second team, and wanted to find something which was relatively safe and not very challenging, unsurprisingly. At that point, Command and Conquer clones had come out. Things like Kill Krush and Destroy. We looked at them and thought “These are easy to do!”. It’s fairly formulaic and you can’t really go wrong. And they’re selling bucketloads.”