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.
It's the Saga game that has a whiff of Vikings about it. The initial teaser image looks very much like the Irish coast and now there's this comment: "Oh, and beware the crow." Could that be a reference to Badb Catha, the mythological battle crow? It'd certainly be a fitting portent for a Total War game, given that they're all about bloodshed and battle, the very things Babd's appearance often presaged in Irish legends.
The director of the Saga project, Jack, has this to say:
"It's a new game in that it's substantial and stand-alone sure, but it's like Fall of the Samurai following-on from Shogun 2. We're taking the base from a previous game, overhauling it and adding new content, but not reinventing the wheel. It's an extension or magnification of the previous game's time period, so of course there's some cross over. And that allows us to add even more new content. Fall of the Samurai is a great example really."
What of the new era Total War will be visiting though? Janos is the project lead there and we can pick out a few hints from comments in the Q&A.
"We've ramped up to the final team size in the past few months, so things are moving along steadily with daily visible progress. For example, it's nice to see, after having researched historical city-layouts for months, it all coming together in the game. There are still placeholder grey boxes here and there, but the atmosphere is already outstanding and gameplay feels strong."
"Historical city-layouts" might not seem like a big clue but it does rule out some eras. Pre-city areas. I guess it's not that big a clue after all.
What else is there?
"Mike Simpson gave an interview years ago that we see fans quote all the time, where he says he doesn't think we'll do a "3". That is a long time ago. We've changed our minds a hundred times on that since, so all bets are off when we're thinking of our next game.
"But this one, will be brand new, and that means we can explore interesting new concepts while still bringing what makes it ‘Total War' to the game."
It's definitely 100% absolutely not Medieval III then. Personally, I'm hoping for the American Civil War. I think the contained nature of the conflict, geographically speaking as well as in terms of its participants, plays into Total War's strengths in the same way that Shogun 2 did. I also reckon it's about as modern a war as I can imagine working effectively without enormous changes to the strategic and tactical layers. Not that I'd be opposed to major changes.
Before any of that we'll have the first new historical project though, which is an expansion to an older game. Project lead Maya says:
"There's a lot of people still playing this particular game, but there's also lot more we haven't even touched in that era yet, some really incredible stories and events that defined history."
It's probably going to be something about Rome, isn't it?
Read the whole Q&A and see if you can find any clues that I missed.