There's a moment in this first in-engine trailer for Total War: Warhammer [official site] when the Emperor Karl Franz rallies his troops on the battlefield. It's a reminder of one of my favourite parts of any Total War game - the pre-combat speeches that draw on the context of the coming battle to deliver bravadao in the face of certain doom, or the swaggering arrogance of a general whose forces outnumber the enemy ten to one. When the forces in this video meet, everybody seems to lose. Some are stabbed, some are stomped...one poor chap gets eaten.
Even the weakest games in the series capture my attention with their scale and spectacle, and when there are mage-chomping dragons thrown into the mix, my heart beats just a little faster. This footage is taken from one of Karl Franz' "unique quest battles", which means it's probably the equivalent of the standalone historical battles in the previous games. The ones that I never play because I'm too busy campaigning. If the questing system is a way of working set battles into the structure of a campaign, that would be quite the thing.
This is the first of a series that will introduce the legendary characters available in the game.
These renowned characters from the Warhammer Fantasy Battles world can be selected in-game to lead the charge of conquest. Each has a unique range of special abilities, weapons, armour, mounts and their own distinct narrative quest chain.
In this trailer we meet Emperor Karl Franz, the revered leader of the Empire, as he rallies his army of men and deadly imperial artillery in a famed battle against a ravening horde of ferocious Greenskins.
The Battle of Black Fire Pass is one of Karl Franz’ unique quest battles in Total War: WARHAMMER, and also formed the basis for this year’s E3 demo. You’ll be able to watch the battle in its entirety, along with a developer walkthrough in just two weeks’ time on Thursday 30th July.
I'd be lying if I pretended that I'm not very excited about Total Warhammer, even though the series tends to pluck at all of my most finicky critical faculties. As noted previously, it's strange to think that the game might be a memorial for Franz and his world now that a new age has dawned.