E3 2010: Shogun 2: Total War PreviewBy Joe Rybicki - Posted Jun 18, 2010
What We Already Know:
It's the sequel to the original Shogun: Total War, a hybrid real-time and turn-based strategy game. We'll forgive you if that doesn't mean a whole lot to you, since the original came out 10 years ago. But trust us: It was a big deal, and it launched the long-running and successful Total War series.
What We're Seeing Now:
A true spiritual successor to Shogun. Set in feudal Japan in the year 1545, Shogun 2 draws lots of influence from Japanese history. The game includes 30 different types of units, each historically accurate given the period setting. And each of these unit types interacts with the others in what developer Creative Assembly's Kieran Brigden calls "a very obvious rock-paper-scissors" fashion. Infantry, for example, can decimate archers, while cavalry can mow through infantry, and archers can inflict a heavy toll on cavalry.
The game also includes a robust siege system, with three types of castles, each of them upgradeable up to five times. Sieges are, Brigden says, "mazes of death," in which the besieging forces must hack their way through narrow passages in order to gain access to the controlling areas of the structure.
And the game also includes naval battles -- but don't expect cannon fire and such, since gunpowder wasn't being used when the game is set. Instead, armies would build "floating fortresses" that could carry and protect loads of archers, or deliver unexpected infantry to land.
This all takes place on gorgeous, hilly, wooded battlefields, each one rendered appropriately for the season (since each battle -- that is, each turn -- is assumed to take a full season). And it throws ridiculous numbers of characters at the player; Brigden says the game has a "theoretical maximum" of 56,000 units on-screen at once.
That's...a lot of units.