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You'll Like This: On Shogun 2 Total War's AI 

Total War games and their AI, eh? I hear people are universally content with it, most especially with how solid, reliable and believable it was in Empire: Total War. Not even the slightest grumble. Oh, wait, I'm thinking of that dream I had again, just before the bit with the anteater wearing a sweater.

Grumblers! You have been heard. "This game is not going out the door until the AI is perfect," the Creative Assembly are saying of the upcoming Shogun 2: Total War. Crumbs. Maybe they mean it this time...

It's all in this New Zealand-published interview with the game's community manager, in which he quotes the heartfelt pledges of the RTS's main minds:

"Mike Simpson, our creative director, has basically said 'this game is not going out the door until the AI is perfect'. AI really has been a bit of an issue for us in the past. But even Napoleon was better than Empire. I mean, one of our goals for Napoleon was to fix the issues we had in Empire, and I think to an extent we did that really well. But in terms of Shogun 2 we're not going to release it until it's perfect.

There's the line-of-sight stuff we're introducing - basically, if any of our designers are playing the game and see something stupid, it's like everyone stops. Everyone gets around the PC to have a look at it, and see what can we do to fix it. We want to get it so there's nothing stupid happening in the game. We don't want to see stupid AI. It is a big thorn in our side, and it's something we've really had to work on. We're pretty confident about Shogun 2."

Fine words. Fine, pretty words. Do you believe them? Being that open about past failings suggests they're genuinely trying to fix it, but then we've heard similar before. What most needs to be worked on, strategy Ronin? What must not be carried over into this bright new age of Total War?

Also, I'm not sure we've posted this yet - an in-game battle report, chattily narrated by a couple of the devs - one of whom is, relevantly, the battle AI programmer. They go into some of the thinking and machinations behind S2TW's land barneys, plus it's a good chance to get up-close and eyeball-personal with a bunch of the units.

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Alec Meer


Ancient co-founder of RPS. Long gone. Now mostly writes for rather than about videogames.

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