E3 2010: Shogun 2 Total War

E3 2010: Shogun 2 Total War

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After ten long years, Creative Assembly returns to the setting that started it all.

Shogun 2 Total War is awesome. I've been a fan of Creative Assembly's games ever since Shogun was originally released a decade ago, so the fact that the studio is applying ten year's experience and growth to recreating the warfare of feudal Japan is almost more than I can handle. This year's E3 is Shogun 2's first public showing and, even though I had seen the title a few months ago, it was still high on my list to check out at E3.

Fittingly, Creative Assembly's take on Japanese warfare emphasizes art and simplicity. The stylized art for the game's event cards and interfaces draws directly from the 16th century while the scaled down list of around 30 units (versus the dozens and dozens found in Empire) should have players focusing more on tactics than unit match-ups. That's not to say that there won't be some variety among the units; players will have to manage archers armed with flaming arrows, peasants equipped with ashigaru spears, and mounted samurai wielding katanas. Depth with simplicity seems to be the guiding philosophy behind the game.

But as always, the game speaks better for itself than any description can. After a quick view of the same concept art that was first released when the game was announced, Creative Assembly launched into a more complete version of the demo we saw earlier this spring. In it, the forces of Chosokabe faced off against the forces of Takeda in a nighttime, rain soaked battle.

The general speeches will be composed of numerous elements that all vary based on context. Depending on your particular situation, you may find yourself hearing a rousing speech that specifically mentions your enemy's position, or the fact that your forces lost the last battle. The permutations are said to run into the hundreds of thousands for these speeches. Players can opt to have them delivered in Japanese with appropriate subtitles, or simply have them spoken in the player's own native language.

As the troops were being motivated, we took the time to check the map details, including rain collecting in puddles and buildings burning in the distance. As in Empire, players will be able to garrison buildings on the battle map, but these are an attractive target for enemy archers, who can set these buildings on fire with fire arrows. In addition to destroying your enemy, the flaming structures show off the deferred lighting system that makes the return of night battles that much more spectacular. There's nothing like seeing row upon row of samurai all lit up from their hand lanterns.

The battle itself fulfilled all the expectations we had. The samurai marched in first and the new animation system and motion capture gave the combat a realistic dimension that exceeded anything the series has shown to date. The samurai were soon repulsed by volleys of flaming arrows fired from archers in a nearby forest. As the samurai pulled away, the centers of each army, composed primarily of peasant spearmen, crashed together in the middle of the map. Chosokabe was getting the worst of it for a while until he sent his cavalry around to take out the archers in the forest and then crush Takeda's flank. The ebb and flow was very engaging at every level, from setting up the lines and engagements from high up in the air, to diving down to eye level to see the combatants fight it out with each other.

Though this particular battle didn't carry us this far, Shogun 2 will also have new siege elements. Three different kinds of castle - coastal, plains, and mountains - will each have five different upgrade levels, so players will have a total of 15 different castle setups to battle over. And unlike the European castles, which focus on a single wall and a single breach, Japanese castles will feature lots of fun choices and opportunities for both the attackers and the defenders.

We still haven't seen any coastal battles in action, but the demo today at least showed us a real battle map for naval fighting. It's strange that it included ships at sea and soldiers on land because Creative Assembly has repeatedly said that there will be no real time battle interaction between land and sea forces. In any case, we got to see the numerous inlets and rocky coastlines that will play a part in players' sea battles.

The developers weren't willing to offer any firm details on multiplayer, but they did mention that anything that's already in Napoleon will likely be in Shogun 2. More interesting though, are the hints that the new game's multiplayer will feature some sort of persistent element.

Right now the game is in pre-pre-alpha, which means that features and details are still subject to change. Look for Shogun 2 in 2011.

Keep track of our E3 2010 coverage here.

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Can't believe I missed this, anyone have a link to the video?
Edit: I hope they stop with expanding what you have to do. I'm an Emperor, I don't want to upgrade a village in the country.

Awesome!

I love the total war series and shogun was a very good one indeed.

Looking good so far, out of curiosity how many units composed the 2 forces in the demo (if anyone saw it, of course).

My favorite TW is back, and its looking better than ever :)

I've been waiting for this since the Rome engine first debuted, and even more after they released a sequel to the original Medieval Total War. And finally the waiting has paid off! Yay ^_^

I wasn't a huge fan of Medieval 2, and never got Empire.

That said I absolutely absolutely love both the original Medieval and Shogun, so I'm pretty stoked about this.

Well, the setting is not really my cup of tea but it looks like it'll be really good, so I'll likely get it.

So this means there is hope for another Rome... Wooooooooo, never played the first Shogun so this might be interesting.

I played the orginal Shogun total war ALONG time ago,and only realized it recently,which I also need to try and find again so I may see where it all began.

But from playing Rome,Medieval 2 and empire,I would like a bit more in customization,a way to slower change the way you rule and the restrictions you place on X and how it effects Y and Z.
(similar to that of Europa 3)

And maybe a little more on religion,no particualar reason other than I love religion as a politic and diplomactic device.There was a fair amount in Medieval,and it was reasonibly important in Empire considering the Time peroid,but I would like something abit more flexible,like the option of coversion...

Im so glad they have gone back to this opne! I fidn myself pining for the first one at times (Which is still great to play now)

Have high hopes for this!

Still disapointed in the choice of setting, but the game sounds good. Hopefully with the smaller setting they will include larger control of what you do have.

This is one of the major things I favour: Fedual Japan! This game will even include it on an epic scale!

Ever since Empire I have longed for greater variation in Sea Battles depending on where the battle takes place. Having interactivity with Land Battles using your fleets would give a new depth that can allow you to utilize strategy in many different ways.

I still get goosebumbs by that announcement trailer. Make more things about real history Japan, and overall Asia for that matter!

Very awesome, cannot wait for more info on this game.

I was the same. Sogun started it all...but as a kid i failed to really grasp the combat part of the game so i just spammed dozens of units and zerged my enemies and then "auto calculate" won it for me...at least most of the time ^_^
I cant wait to get this into my hands...i havent played the T.W series in a long time

This was probably the first game I ever truly loved, atleast on the PC. I am so, majorly stoked by this. Can't wait!

When this was announced I was pretty disappointed. The setting will be small-scale and culturally homogenous. This preview is reinforcing that impression, what with the news that there will be only 30 units. Not that I have no interest in Japan, but I was hoping for the rest of Asia as well, particularly China. My hopes of getting to conquer China in a Total War game have been dashed yet again. That said, just because this won't be as awesome as it could be doesn't mean it couldn't be pretty good, and I'll probably end up buying it. Hero units sound like arse, though.

Anyone know of any decent mods for any of the Total War games that cover China? Particularly interested in the Three Kingdoms period.

Shogun was THE best game. It started the whole franchise, after all. I honestly can't wait till 2011.

scobie:
When this was announced I was pretty disappointed. The setting will be small-scale and culturally homogenous. This preview is reinforcing that impression, what with the news that there will be only 30 units. Not that I have no interest in Japan, but I was hoping for the rest of Asia as well, particularly China. My hopes of getting to conquer China in a Total War game have been dashed yet again.

Japan>>>>>>>>>>>>>China

Samurais.
That is all.

Fantastic! Cannot wait! :D

Darkstar370:
Shogun was THE best game. It started the whole franchise, after all. I honestly can't wait till 2011.

scobie:
When this was announced I was pretty disappointed. The setting will be small-scale and culturally homogenous. This preview is reinforcing that impression, what with the news that there will be only 30 units. Not that I have no interest in Japan, but I was hoping for the rest of Asia as well, particularly China. My hopes of getting to conquer China in a Total War game have been dashed yet again.

Japan>>>>>>>>>>>>>China

Samurais.
That is all.

Samurais don't really float my boat. We all have our personal preferences.

My dad is going to love this. I'll have to call him up and tell him!

Darkstar370:
Japan>>>>>>>>>>>>>China

Samurais.
That is all.

Auto crossbows, rifles and grenades > Samurais.

Asehujiko:

Darkstar370:
Japan>>>>>>>>>>>>>China

Samurais.
That is all.

Auto crossbows, rifles and grenades > Samurais.

Rifles? That's actually one of the reasons, why I skipped Empire.
Real men fight with swords.

Darkstar370:

Rifles? That's actually one of the reasons, why I skipped Empire.
Real men fight with swords.

ah don't worry in the original shogun total war they had gunpowder units.. but IMO the regular archers were better anyway
also Uesugi for the win :P

It will most likely include everything from Napoleon Total War.

What, you mean all of the game breaking bugs?

As a slave to the total war franchise I will buy this game. Stoked!

well 2011 is full this plus Deus Ex 3 and Max Payne 3 all in the first few months awesome

Just reinstalled Rome, thanks creative assembly theres anothor 2 months down the drain that i could have used to, you know, meet women? God know's whats going to happen to my life when this comes out!

 

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