Creative Assembly has release a new video celebrating a decade and a half of their historical Grand Strategy series.
Every single game in the series is featured – yes, even the mobile games – in a montage stretching all the way back to Total War: Shogun in 2000. Has it really been that long already?
Comparing the games side by side shows just how far technology has progressed in a relatively short period of time. In 2000, units were just sprites with only a few frames of animation, while battle stages consisted of simple geometric shapes covered in distinctly blurry low-res textures. In 2015, with Atilla: Total War (I still don’t understand why they flipped the names around) every unit is an intricate 3d polygonal model, while battle stages simulate weather, dense foliage sways in the breeze, and thanks to the wonders of modern physics software, buildings realistically crumble into rubble as they come under assault.
It hasn’t all been plain sailing, however. Empire: Total War, while featuring naval battles for the first time in the series, was heavily criticized thanks to its poor AI – a concern which continues to plague the series right up to this year’s Atilla. Meanwhile, as the series’ demands on modern technology grows, so too have technical requirements and loading times. Total War requires a pretty hefty machine to run at its best these days, and even then it’s not uncommon to be able to go and make a cup of tea while the computer takes its turn shuffling all the factions around the map and resolving battles between itself. Still, there’s no doubting that when Creative Assembly says uses the term “Grand Strategy”, they really put the emphasis on the Grand bit. Their efforts have been rewarded: Atilla: Total War, which was only released last month, managed to shift over 21,000 copies in its first week on sale in the UK. 81% of those sales were digital so they weren’t counted in the charts for that week, but if they had been, the game would have debuted just behind The Order: 1886 and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare in the UK all-formats charts.
So what’s next for Creative Assembly and Total War? Well, currently the studio – which is based in West Sussex, UK – is working on Arena: Total War, and Warhammer: Total War – which will see Creative Assembly moving the franchise away from real-world historical battles for the first time and instead inhabiting the universe of Game Workshop’s popular tabletop fantasy wargame. There’s actually a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it teaser for the game at the end of the video.
I still think they missed a trick there by not calling it Wahammer: Total WAAAGH!
Take a look at the celebratory video for yourself below. They’ve certainly earned that self-congratulatory slap on the back.