By Tom Peden, Gamer News Daily Contributing Author
March 31st saw Creative Assembly announce the second installment of their trilogy of Warhammer licenced games. Despite some fans thinking a heart-wrenching April fools might be on the cards, or that a new historical title was going to be announced. Creative Assembly gave us a cinematic trailer for the next piece of their Warhammer jigsaw.
For those who don’t know, the Total War games are a series of high strategy and diplomacy titles, some people may know them as ‘4 X’ games, which means to explore, expand, exploit and exterminate. With Total War, the game is essentially split into two parts. There is a large world map, which behaves like a crazy game of Risk meets Sid Meier’s Civilization. Players move armies and control cities and improve the buildings in those cities. You can manage diplomatic relations with your allies and enemies and use spies or assassins to infiltrate and cause disruption. Then you have the large-scale, real-time battles. This is where you control the units you’ve built. It’s literally thousands of soldiers, cavalry, and archers, fighting in real time. You control the troops on the ground, in fast paced real time strategy, using your wit and cunning to defend provinces and conquer the world at your fingertips.
The Total War series has gone from strength to strength since its original inception with Shogun Total War in mid-2000. This is a series that is very close to my heart as I have played every single title extensively since Shogun. So I have to be careful not to fanboy over this announcement.
Creative Assembly released the first part of their Warhammer trilogy in 2016, taking their previous historical settings to the high fantasy and brutal world of Warhammer. Now a year later we have the announcement of the second piece of the jigsaw. Creative Assembly has always stated that there are three games in the Warhammer series planned, which can either be bought as stand alone, or if a user purchases all three titles, they can add them together, creating one massive experience. The games high fantasy setting really added a lot of flavour to the Total War game series. Adding magic, flying units and monstrous beasts made an already fun game just that little bit more epic. It really is a match made in heaven and compliments both franchises.
Wood Elves, Empire, Bretonnia, Chaos, Dwarves Vampires & Beastmen are all playable races in the first game and the cinematic trailer for the second game looks to add even more playable races to that list. In Total War: Warhammer each race differs vastly from one another, with their own strengths, weaknesses and styles of play. As seen in the cinematic High Elves, Dark Elves, Lizardmen and by the looks of it the rat-like Skaven are to be included in the next title. The end of the trailer shows a rat perching on some kind of Aztec looking stone altar, his eyes glow a piercing blood red and then the footage fades to black. This suggests the Skaven will make an appearance and most likely be a playable race, something fans have been waiting for since the game’s release.
The cinematic not only gave us a sneak of the factions we can expect to be in the game, but we also saw what seemed to be a three-way battle. The Lizardmen, High Elves and Dark Elves stormed towards one another, charging ferociously in a small open field of the vast and dense jungle, whilst splitting their ranks to fight on both sides. There’s no confirmation of this, however, and for now, all we have is pure speculation. No previous titles have had three-way battles in the game, but I don’t think this would be too difficult for the developers to include, as you can already have a battle consisting of four armies, which split into two teams. This isn’t to say that the game creators will include this, but it’s not impossible and the trailer certainly gave some indication they may.
New spells and new magical lore are also expected as we explore the new races. The High elves erected some sort of magical shield, which created a barrier and stopped the incoming bolts fired from Dark Elven crossbows. We also saw what looked like an actual shield wall. Yes, that’s right a shield wall! Veterans of the game series will know that previously ever present troop modifiers like shield walls and cavalry formations have largely been excluded from Total War: Warhammer. But the cinematic did seem to show a shield wall of sorts. Whether this will actually make an appearance in the game, your guess is as good as mine. We did see the introduction of cavalry formations when the cavalry heavy fraction of Bretonnia got introduced into the game, so I’d hazard a guess we may well just see that shield wall.
With the Lizardmen faction, you can certainly expect to see large monstrous reptile beings take pride in the battlefield. Just imagine fielding an army of humanoid lizards, which ride a T-Rex into battle, whilst you hum the theme song to Jurassic Park. That’s actually going to be required in my gaming circles, and I encourage you to do the same. There are endless Jurassic Park quips to be had, I could go on, but I won’t.
There is no formal release date known yet, but the cinematic did say it was coming this year. Accompanied by the tagline “Defend your world, Destroy theirs” which I think attributes to taking the fight over to the other continent where the original game is set. The game world is already huge and adding another continent, then all the other DLC and then, on top of all that you still have another game to be released. The sheer size of this title (when completed) is something dreams are made of. For fans of the original tabletop, this is the game they have always wanted to see. The vision they had when their plastic painted armies clashed against their friends on a weekend has finally come to light. For Total War fans, these games have proven to be a big leap in the right direction for the series. The more that Creative Assembly adds to the game, the better it truly becomes.