Sega used to spend their time faffing about with console boxes and a blue hedgehog. Now they spend their time more productively: publishing cool PC games (and occasionally trying to resurrect the blue hedgehog). Sometimes these many projects collide into a single, gloriously incomprehensible mess of different games and styles. It happened with the bizarrely compelling Sonic & All Stars Racing Transformed - a game in which an anthropomorphic fox could lose a kart race to the football manager from Football Manager. It's also now happened with this week's Humble Weekly Sale.
Medieval II: Total War
It's time for a confession: when it comes to Zelda, I'm dangerously ignorant. I could try to hide this fact from you - casually mentioning how the green dude is called Link, and thinking that would be enough to conceal my shame - but then I'd probably mess it all up by calling the Triforce, "that thing from Sword & Sworcery EP". Despite this historical deficiency, there are some things I do know: 1) Total War games, and 2) that Total War games would be much improved by the addition of magic, a weird tentacle eye-bug, and a giant Cyclopean scorpion. All of these things can be found in Medieval 2 mod, Hyrule: Total War.
We still don't know much about Total War: Arena, the PvP strategy spin-off that will pit teams of up to 10 players against one another, each controlling small units led by historical generals. We don't even have concept art to speculate over yet. But in a recent interview with Edge, Lead Designer James Russel has shared some tidbits about the game's free to play business model, and the reasoning behind it.
If you don't have an iOS device, you may not have heard of The Creative Assembly's mobile take on Total War. How on Earth do you fit the scale and spectacle of a Total War campaign onto a smartphone? Well, you can't, so Total War Battles tries to offer an entirely different take. It merges building and combat onto battlefields overlaid by grids of hexes. You can channel your troops down lanes drawn across the map and harvest resources with structures placed nearby. It's designed to be quick and easy to jump into, two qualities that Total War titles have traditionally lacked.
I don't know if you noticed, but yesterday Total War: Rome 2 was announced, and we all got rather excited. Today we've got an announcement trailer for you. It's live action (unless Rome's engine is even better than we expected) but it should get you in the mood for murder, betrayal and politics, all of which seem to be one and the same for the Romans. "What would you do for Rome?" It asks. Personally I would pay slightly above average air fare, how about you?
While seeing Rome 2 for the first time at Creative Assembly, I spoke to lead designer James Russell and lead battle designer Jamie Ferguson about the new direction that Total War is taking, their ambitions for the game, and why they're returning to Rome after all this time. Click through for the videos.
SEGA have just announced that many of their European offices are about to close. New distribution partners have been announced across France, Germany, Spain, Australia, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg.
The Creative Assembly's TW Craig posted on the Total War forums earlier with news of an upcoming event that will give modders a chance to meet the designers and programmers behind their favourite strategy series.
"We'd like to hold a modding summit here at The Creative Assembly at the end of July. Maybe we'll hire a venue somewhere," writes TW Craig. "The main thing is we can have these conversations with you ourselves, explain why limitations are in place if they exist, and help if there's any way we can."
The Creative Assembly have just announced that they'll be releasing a huge standalone expansion for Total War: Shogun 2 called Fall of the Samurai. It will be set in the period leading up to the Boshin War, in which European and American forces introduce a new wave of military technology that threatens to wipe out the Samurai.
Fall of the Samurai will add six new factions. Some, like the Nagaoka, sill support the might of the Shogun. Others, like the Satsuma clan, want to embrace Imperial power. Externally, British, French and American forces are vying for influence in the Land of the Rising Sun. Over the course of the campaign, you'll get to decide Japan's fate.
What's this, every Total War title except Shogun and Shogun 2, with all accompanying DLC for just £8.74 / $12.49? What are you doing to us, Steam sale? I was planning to eat, and perhaps sleep this weekend but NO, you have to throw hundreds of hours of world class strategy gaming at me for a price that my buying finger can't not click on.
Wait, there's more? Gravity mangling platformer VVVVVV, for just 99p / $1.24? That's less than I paid for my cup of coffee this morning. The slick shouting-at-people-until-they-crack simulator LA Noire, which has only been out for two minutes, is half price. And Fallout: New Vegas and all its DLC packs are available at prices that make the upcoming Ultimate Edition seem a little redundant.
Hyrule: Total War is exactly what it sounds like. Its 20 factions herald from the furthest corners of the Zelda universe. Whether you want to command a small mountain of Gorons, a bunch of dudes dressed like Sheik, or Zelda herself, Hyrule: Total War aims to make it all possible with meticulous attention to detail.
Also, Zora are for some reason playable, even though they have about as much business in a land skirmish as, er, Zelda does on PC. But hey, I'm certainly not complaining. Really, the only thing that's missing is a Navi army that defeats its foes by screaming "Hey! Listen!" until the madness sets in. At any rate, I'm finished holding you back. So then, salivate at this trailer, and then physically whip your PC to make it download the demo faster. Thanks, GameSpy.
The Creative Assembly have released the raw table data for Empire and Napoleon on the Total War forums. The files should help modders looking to change in-game properties find the files they need to tweak within Total War's complex file structure.
As well as this gesture of support for what used to be one of PC gaming's most prolific and passionate modding communities, The Creative Assembly explain why they've been unable to provide the same level of mod support that fans have enjoyed in older games like Rome and Medieval 2.
Sega have just announced that Total War: Shogun 2 will be getting a demo through Steam on February 22. The demo will let players test out the campaign map and the game's gorgeous battles. We'e played and reviewed Shogun 2, and given it a score of 92 and an Editor's Choice award. You can read the full review in the latest issue of PC Gamer UK, which hits stores tomorrow, or in the May issue of PC Gamer US, which is out on March 29. Shogun 2 is set for release on March 15.
We've played and reviewed Shogun 2 and awarded the game a score of 92 and an Editor's Choice award. The review appears in the latest issue of PC Gamer UK, on-sale February 16, and the May issue of PC Gamer US, on-sale March 29.
At 9.40 this morning, one of my geisha entered the quarters of rebel general Homma Katsunaga. By 9.43 Katsunaga was hanging from a rafter by a lute string, and I was one mouse-click away from ruling all sixty provinces of Sengoku-era Japan. A fun festive season of Samurai slaughter was drawing to a close, leaving me one satisfied, surprised and slightly fearful gamer.
Fearful? After a couple of happy weeks with the TBS/RTS hybrid that catapulted Creative Assembly into the big time, the idea of a sequel seems both splendid and scary. There's no question that Total War: Shogun 2 will be prettier than its progenitor, and offer far more extensive multiplay options. What remains to be seen is whether ten years of Total War feature-creep will end-up enhancing Shogun's single-player side or suffocating it.
Ever since there have been Total War games, there have been Total War modders. As soon as the Creative Assembly release a new Total War game, an army of enthusiasts pounce, retexturing units, overhauling the AI and crafting new campaigns. We've sifted through the hundreds of Total War mods out there and found ten of the best. These mods give us whole new areas of history to explore, fantasy worlds to conquer and challenging new campaigns to play. From Rome through to Napoleon: Total War, we've got you covered.