Posts Tagged ‘Total War: Shogun 2’

Historical hints from the Total War teams

totalwarvikings

Total War might have been away in the land of elves and orcs for a while now, but it hasn’t forgotten its historical roots. In fact, Creative Assembly are working on three historical Total War games: one is an expansion to an older title, one is a spin-off of sorts called a Saga, and the biggest of the lot is set in an entirely new era. New to Total War, that is. Being historical it will definitely be something old. A big blog post today gives some hints as to what we can expect and I’m just going to come right out and say one word: Vikings.

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The Best And Worst Total War Games

At its best, the Total War series casts a spell over you. Your empire rises from nothing, surrounded by enemies who are poised to trample it into the dust. Each decision on the strategic level is a gamble on the immediate future, where “one more turn” isn’t just a stepping-stone to a new upgrade, but a perilous step onto thin ice. Each time you take to the battlefield is another do-or-die moment, a possible Hastings or Austerlitz that can open the road to conquest or plunge you into a desperate fight for survival.

But the Total War series has also been defined by massive, abrupt swings in quality. While the series has been on a linear trajectory in terms of graphics, the quality of the games underlying those vivid battlefield vistas has varied wildly. Total War at its best is interactive Kurosawa and Kubrick. At its worst, it’s a middle-school history textbook as told by Drunk History and filmed by the cast and crew of The Patriot.

So before the series (temporarily) leaves history behind for the grimdark faux-history of Warhammer fantasy, let’s put into order the times that Total War was at its best… and why sometimes its lows were so very low. We’ll save the worst for last, because if there’s one thing that every Total War fan loves, it’s an argument over which games were the biggest disappointments.

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Wot I Think: Nobunaga’s Ambition Sphere Of Influence

Love of history starts with a love of good stories. The complexity and doubt come later, when you have heard the same stories so many different ways that the veneer of the Great Men narrative starts peeling away from the foundations of messy, conflicting fact. But that love of a good story never really goes away.

Nobunaga’s Ambition: Sphere of Influence [official site] succeeds or fails based on your willingness to hear, and take part in, just such a story. There’s a storybook quality to this game that can prove disarming and captivating even as the game itself can sometimes be so repetitive and straightforward that at times it plays almost like a Facebook strategy game. Like its title character, who scarcely has time for anything but his plans for national unification, Nobunaga’s Ambition has its gaze fixed on the great themes of its era: warfare, diplomacy, family, and betrayal. It’s a little hazy on the details of economy, foreign policy, and tactics.

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Totally Teutoburgic: Tons Of Rome II In-Game Footage

Starks vs Lannisters, eh?

You’ve been told plenty about Total War: Rome II, but you haven’t seen all that much of it. Not in living colour, full motion, high-resolution video with digital sound and smellovision. How the heady scent of historical battle fills my nostrils! It’s just like my office is filled with sweaty Roman loincloths. But then again, when isn’t it?

These narrated 11 minutes of man-stabbing cover the same scenario our Jim reported on from GDC – which is to say the battle of Teutoburg forest, in which a bunch of German chaps rather unexpectedly gave three Roman legions what for.
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Dying Total War Fan Immortalised As Rome 2 Unit

The videogames industry isn’t all sexualisation, lies and Doritogates, you know. Sometimes nice things happen because they are nice things. Case in point, the Creative Assembly giving a fan with not long to live a chance to play pre-alpha Rome 2 code, advise on its development and be recreated as a proud soldier of the Roman empire in-game. Tragically, the chap did not survive his battle with cancer, but this seems a touching memorial.
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Creative Assembly’s Moddessy: Shogun 2 Unbound

Mods move in mysterious ways

Creative Assembly invited key members of its modding community to its Horsham based headquarters last month for a secret meeting. Seated around a conference table, modders looking over at developers whose work we had been rummaging around in for years, one question was on everyone’s mind: Why?

We now know what they were planning to announce: the Assembly Kit for Shogun 2, a full modding suite combined with full Steam Workshop support. After a short round of applause from the modders, there was one more question: What on earth took you so long?
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Total-er War – Shogun 2 Now On Steam Workshop


Modding’s been a bit of a sore spot for Total War fans in recent times, but Creative Assembly – to its credit – has spent the past few months fixing up that rather glaring crack in its series’ armor. And certainly, Total War: Shogun 2‘s dedicated (and not-entirely-uninituitive) map editor was a nice start, but people demanded more. More breadth, more tools, more tiny virtual ant men throwing away their tiny virtual ant lives in the name of history. So Creative Assembly listened. Specifically, Shogun 2’s now packing full Steam Workshop support, some seriously upgraded map-making tools, and a brand new “Assembly Kit.” Find out about all the new ways you can make sweet, sweet war to your friends after the break.

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David Icke’s Total War

TOTAL LIZARD

“The world is so crazy that it is considered ‘controversial’ to call for an end to people killing each other, but not to make money from selling video games about Total War.” This is why former TV sports pundit and nemesis of the giant lizards that secretly control society, David Icke, is very cross that he’s not been allowed to use a piece of music from Total War in his stage shows. While the notorious Icke might have become a lecturer on all manner of conspiracy theory-based socio-political topics since his, uh, awakening, he’s unlikely to ever escape the lizard-shaped albatross that he hung around his own neck back in 1999. Or the thing about being the son of God. Or the thing about how we’re all being remote-controlled by the moon. Or the thing about how Bush, Blair, the Queen and chums are holograms.

Or… well, anyway, SEGA/CA own the rights to ‘anti-war song’ We Are All One by Angela & Jeff van Dyck (as used in Medieval: Total War II), which Icke had hoped to use in his upcoming talk/show at Wembley, ‘Remember Who You Are.’ They’ve since blocked this from happening.
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Hail CAesar! A Chat With Total War: Rome II’s Lead Dev

Not James Russell

I came, I saw, I previewed Total War: Rome II. I also chatted to Total War series lead designer James Russell about the enduring appeal of the Roman Empire, how it’s possible to control a wargame on this kind of scale, introducing a human element to the game’s soldiers and politickers, and branching storylines on the campaign map. This is part one of a two-part interview – more tomorrow.

RPS: I guess my immediate question is the complexity of controlling something that’s so much bigger. Does it feel, when managing all these units, like a big step up, or is it more about the amount of soldiers within each troop?
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Surprise! Eyes-On With Total War: Rome II

Where's it set again?

Most of the internet knew the nature of the Creative Assembly’s next Total War game as of last week, but as a man of honour I have ignored the leaks and waited to mention it until I could tell you about it properly. Onwards then, and to battle…

‘Big’ would be the obvious word. “Enormous” is probably a slightly better one. “Bugger me, what an awful lot of soldiers and boats and increasingly demolished buildings that is” would be a more accurate summary of my thoughts at the time of seeing Rome: Total War II. “My deepest sympathies to anyone else currently working on a historical real-time strategy game” would be my thoughts now.
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Total War: Shogun 2 Map Editor Totally Out Now

Castle Shogun, whose mail we always end up getting for some reason.
It’s apparently DIY Day in the gaming industry. First, ShootMania came down with a case of BetaMania and indulged in TrailerMania to celebrate. And now, Creative Assembly’s seen fit to lunch Total War: Shogun 2‘s long-awaited map editor. (Yes, two semi-related events apparently qualifies them for “day” status. It actually makes perfect sense because… shut up.) Simply titled The Editor – which has somewhat amazingly been designated “Ted” for short by Creative Assembly – it’s described as “a powerful tool that enables users to alter terrain type and height, and comprises libraries boasting hundreds of unique battlefield props, such as trees, buildings, railway lines and coastal batteries.” The Editor is also, of course, free, so simply venture over to Steam’s tools section and chant a few incantations to summon the fearsome Might of Ted. Alternatively, if you’d like to hear a bit more about Creative Assembly’s future plans for mapmaking and ease-of-use, head past the break. But beware, you may incur the Wrath of Ted by doing so.

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Shogun 2: The Rise And Fall Of Reginald Samurai, Part 3


Dan fights against the inexorable tides of history to bring traditionalism back to the the Japanese archipelago. Part One. Part Two. And now:

Months have passed. Togichi and Fukushima have become relative havens of tranquility – but Hitachi is a permanent wreck; I’ve fought at least a battle there every month, the first three months recapturing it from another rebel force I bribed into existence to kill off the Jozai, and then twelve months of defending it from the huge armies of new enemies; Odawara and Nagaoka, who have changed sides to Imperial, ostensibly to piss off the shogun, but mainly from realpolitik, and Kakegawa.
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Shogun 2: The Rise And Fall Of Reginald Samurai, Part 2

Dan Gril returns to continue his inevitably doomed attempts to restore traditionalism to an increasingly modernised Japan in Total War: Shogun 2: Fall of The Samurai. Here’s part 1 in case you missed it.

It’s misty out there. A thick old pea souper soaking into the old Japanese wood. Did you know that a Japanese wood called Aokigahara is the world’s second worst suicide hotspot (after the Golden Gate Bridge)? Apparently, the police have a yearly trawl of the forest for any bodies they’ve missed. It’s got so bad that they’ve stopped publishing the numbers, for fear of encouraging people.

Anyway, knowing that makes me feel much worse. Somewhere in the fug of this digital wood is a huge rebel army, comprising about 1500 gunners and 200 sabre-toting horsemen, all after my blood.
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Shogun 2: The Rise And Fall Of Reginald Samurai, Part 1

Aren't you a little tall for a shogunate?

Dan has been playing through Total War: Shogun 2 – Fall of the Samurai for us. Here’s the first diary of his attempts to restore traditionalism to an empire heading towards modernisation: a tale of betrayal, Fukushima and Project Gutenberg.
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Win! An Alienware M11x Laptop & Total War Games

It’s a weekend, it’s sunny, and that means you should stay indoors playing videogames. Or reading about videogames. Either really, just stay indoors no matter what. Another way you could do that is by entering our competition to win an Alienware M11X R3 gaming laptop, courtesy of the men of war at The Creative Assembly. They’ve just this week released expandalone Total War: Shogun 2 – Fall of the Samurai, which moves the setting 400 years on from the original game and brings semi-modern weaponry as well as America, Britain and France into the fray, and they’d jolly well like to celebrate it by giving one RPS reader one of these 11″ ultraportable gaming notebooks. It comes equipped with an Intel Core i5 brain, 4GB of remembering power and GeForce GT 540M graphicsability. Four runners-up can have a Steam key for a Total War game of their choice.
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BAFTAs 2012: Portal 2 Takes The Prize

Man, that is one creepy little gold face.

The British Academy Video Game Awards took place on Friday night and Portal 2 was awarded highest honours, taking home little gold faces not only for Best Game, but also for Story and Design. Congratulations to Valve, who by this point must be making plans to put up some new shelves of award-bearing load strength. The popular vote went to Battlefield 3, which also won awards for Online Multiplayer and Audio Achievement.

The full list is celebrating after the jump.

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First Look: Shogun 2 – Fall of the Samurai


Fall of the Samurai, a standalone expansion for Shogun 2, is the most modern Total War game yet – and quite possibly one of the most fascinating. It’s the tale of what happened when Japan met the West – where the industrial revolution and social turmoil that had been brewing in other nations for centuries was suddenly played out in the space of twenty years.

“We’ve never really done anything quite like this.” explains Lead Battle Designer Jamie Ferguson as he sets out the stall for his project. “It’s all of the periods we’ve ever done, piled into one game. It shows you how truth is stranger than fiction. We’re making a game that has gatling guns and samurais, then ironclads with torpedoes fighting against wooden warships with archers…”
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Obscured: Total War Shogun 2 Expandalone

I think there's a game in there somewhere.

Videogames can expand now? Whatever is going on? And they can do it alone? I shall call this… EXPANDALONE! (You know, the last time I went on about how utterly brilliant that word is, the guy who coined it got in touch. He is my hero.) Shogun 2: Total 2 War Shogun is doing this some more, with the addition of Fall Of The Samurai: Total Shogun: War, and as further proof they’ve released a new video of non-game footage, and some shots: screen, which are by far the most ludicrously watermarked images I have seen in over a decade of doing this nonsense.

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The Games Of Christmas ’11: Day One


What kind of game would be appropriate for the first day of Christmas on a gaming site dedicated to PC gaming? Something intelligent. Something with a modicum of resource management? Perhaps! But certainly something with a sense of history. Let’s peek behind the first door on our Amazing™ Advent Calendar and found out what the first of our favourite games of 2011 actually is…
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Expandalone! Shogun 2: Fall Of The Samurai

He's expanding, alone.

I love saying “expandalone”. Say it out loud. Sometimes those cute little terms that spring up can be nauseating, but expandalone is the best. EXPANDALONE! Creative Assembly have announced an EXPANDALONE for Total War: Shogun 2, called Fall Of The Samurai.

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