The Next “Total War” Game Is To Be Set in an Era the Studio Has Never Covered Before

Could the next instalment of the Total War series focus on a more contemporary kind of war?
Could the next instalment of the Total War series focus on a more contemporary kind of war?

Total War Games have a wide-ranging history. The games have been around since 2000 and have covered everything from ancient Rome to Napoleon, the New World, Feudal Japan and the Medieval period.

Lately, the studio, Creative Assembly (CA), has delved into the fantasy world of Warhammer. The studio is planning on making it a series with several more Warhammer entries planned for the future.

The studio is still big into the historical setting, however, and a whole separate team is working on the next historical entry into the franchise. They are known for doing repeats of past eras quite often. They have had a Medieval II, a Rome II, and a Shogun II.

But the biggest news of this yet to be revealed game is that a brand director stated that it is in “an era we haven’t tackled yet”. This statement was later confirmed by Creative Director Mike Simpson. This one phrase has huge implications for the future of the franchise.

A war history lover’s dream game, many followers constantly speculate about what eras of world history might make for a good game and how big might the game world be. From this statement we know that these periods are out of contention as they have been done already: Feudal Japan and the Meiji Restoration period, Anything to do with ancient Rome, from the 3rd century BCE to the Barbarian invasions and Attila, Medieval period and Viking invasions, the Age of Sail and Empires including Napoleon, and a few more periods I’m likely forgetting.

So what periods might the new historical game take on? Well, the Three Kingdoms period could bring players to a turbulent period of Chinese history. In the 3rd century CE, there was a gap between the Han and Jin Dynasties. There were many more independent factions than just three kingdoms as decades of rebellions were led by various generals. Not only is this an untouched Era by CA, it’s an untouched region and ethnicity. Total war has largely stayed in the pre-gunpowder history and ancient China had more than its fair share of ancient war.

Taking a great leap forward in another direction, players have been calling for a World War Total War for years. Shogun focused on the small area of Japan, while the Empire game brought sections of the Americas and India along with Europe. A truly global Total War campaign map has yet to be seen. A WWI setting could still get away with a partial map, but WWII would almost have to have an all-encompassing global map.

Though many suspect that the Total War formula won’t quite work with such fluid warfare and rapid fire weapons that WWII had. WWI might work but would involve some tweaking to the standard formula to include trenches, massive numbers, distant artillery and more.

Other suggested eras could be the American Civil War, again, difficult with the firearms, but doable. We could go way back to ancient Mesopotamia with Assyrians and Egyptians in a true sword and bow Total War game. Ancient India had plenty of feuding powers, as did African kingdoms, though we don’t always have the best sources to build a full framework for a game. With thousands and thousands of years of history and plenty of warfare, the options are endless.

William Mclaughlin

William Mclaughlin is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE