The Creative Assembly

Alien: Isolation trailer shows highly scientific VHS-mangling visual techniques

Tom Senior at

Pity the user interface elements of Alien: Isolation, for they have been through a terrible ordeal. Pristine, unblemished versions of the game's icons were printed onto VHS tapes, scratched, shoved into an old player, and played on an old CRT telly while the cable input was twisted. The tortured images were then ported back into the game, producing imagery suitably distorted enough to fit with the low technology of the Alien films. You can watch the results of the process in the latest developer diary, which explains some of the other techniques the Creative Assembly have used to try to capture Ridley Scott's vision of a future made out of big '70s pocket calculators.

Total War: Rome II Beasts of War DLC's new units anger community

Emanuel Maiberg at

The Creative Assembly has released the Beast of War DLC for Total War: Rome II. It costs $3 and adds seven new units to the game, like Celtic Warhounds and Camel Cataphracts, but some players are angry that the units are not as new as they may appear.

Alien: Isolation trademarked, might be about Ripley's daughter

Michael Jones at

It hasn't been a year since the middling Aliens: Colonial Marines, but Twentieth Century Fox has filed a new trademark for a new product based on its seminal science-fiction series. If the rumors about this are true, though, it will be a very different beast compared to the action-heavy effort that Gearbox and TimeGate Studios produced earlier this year.

Total War: Rome 2's huge second patch promises performance and AI improvements

Tom Senior at

You could read a book in the time it takes for Rome 2 to calculate AI movements between turns. Our Chris Thursten has made good progress with Game of Thrones. I, meanwhile, tend to make a cup of tea every end-turn event, and then run my empire with the urgency and recklessness of a hyper-stimulated general with a permanently full bladder. To the delight of my internal organs, CA are trying to trim those long AI thinking times down. They've posted a list of fixes made by a beta version of the second patch, which went into testing on Friday, of which "campaign performance optimisations" and "AI round time improvements" are the most welcome. There are also GPU optimisation tweaks listed alongside significant in-game changes to unit speed and morale-battering flank charges. The fix-list is here for your perusal.

Total War: Rome 2 screenshots show campaign map and camelkazi tactics

Tom Senior at

Rome 2 is one of our most anticipated games of E3 2013, and not just because it has camels in it (It also has elephants, after all.) The Creative Assembly's grand strategy sequel is looking a lot more colourful than recent outings. The latest screenshots from E3 give us a look at a blazing, sun-drenched campaign map, and a few war-scenes from Egypt. Cory got a look at the game today, here are three things he loved about it. You may find a few more reasons in the ten shots that follow.

GDC 2013: Creative Assembly announces the all-multiplayer Total War Arena

Omri Petitte at

During a talk at GDC today, Creative Assembly revealed a new direction for its Total War series: Total War Arena, a completely multiplayer and free-to-play combination of RTS and MOBA elements.

What we want to see from the Creative Assembly Warhammer game

Tom Senior at

We learned recently that the creators of Total War, The Creative Assembly, have scooped Games Workshop's Warhammer fantasy license. This is tip-top news. Warhammer is all about massive battles, Creative Assembly are really, really good at massive battles. It's a great match.

CA have set up a new develop team to produce games for the "multi-title" deal, but what would such a series look like? We're rather fond of Games Workshop's game of little fantasy men doing dice-war on tabletops, so we've rounded up a few features we'd love to see from an proper, epic Warhammer fantasy videogame.

Arverni faction bring fierce beards to Total War: Rome 2

Tom Senior at

The Gallic Arverni are the fifth of eight factions to be revealed as playable forces in Total War: Rome 2. Their chieftains lead the counter-charge against Roman advancement according to the will of their king, inspired by the sentiments of their druids. The Arverni were most notably led by the fierce Vercingetorix, who united the Gallic tribes against Ceasar in the great revolts of 52BC.

In combat, they're "heavily dependent on infantry," according to the Arverni page on the Rome 2 site. They'll "make great use of javelins and the devastating impact of the charge, led by elite warriors such as Spear Nobles and Oathsworn." More importantly, they'll do it while shouty faces and hairy, hairy chins.

Total War: Rome 2 developer diaries show Carthage crumble

Phil Savage at

Creative Assembly have released two developer diaries, detailing their recreation of the siege at Carthage for Total War: Rome 2. The videos show more of the absolutely gorgeous looking battle engine than was previously shown in their first teaser trailer, plus you get some meaty cuts of information as to how wars will work.

Total War: Shogun 2 Otomo Clan DLC brings guns to swordfights

Omri Petitte at

When the Portuguese first landed upon Japan's shores in 1543, they stroked their handlebar mustaches and said, "You know, that whole honorable swordsman thing is working well for you, but what you really need is our brand of GUNshido." They then shot the word "PORTUGAL" into the side of the Emperor's palace. My history recollection is probably incredibly inaccurate by now, but still, guns remain the central theme for the November 30 release of the Otomo Clan DLC for Total War: Shogun 2. You'll get a new playable faction with five armed unit types, extra buildings, and special traits.

Shocked Roman suddenly realises he's in a videogame in latest Rome 2 screenshots

Tom Senior at

Total War: Rome 2 soldiers are made up of between 6000 and 7000 polygons lead designer, James Russell, explained recently at the Eurogamer Expo. Artillery projectiles in Rome 2 are made up of more polygons then a Rome 1 soldier has. If you put enough polygons into these characters and layer on enough AI subroutines then there's always a danger that one of your chaps can become sentient and kick his way out of the matrix. Luckily for humanity this soldier is having his existential crisis in front of a team of rampaging war elephants, one of the top five worst situations in which to have an existential crisis. See his predicament in more detail in the screenshots below.

Total War: Shogun 2 Steam Workshop is live, mod tools and modders' wiki released

Tom Senior at

Recent rumblings from the Creative Assembly mod summit suggested that a Shogun 2 Steam Workshop and mod tools were on the way. They're here already. You can peruse the Shogun 2 section of the Steam Workshop to download new maps and mods right now.

On the TWCenter forums CA announce the arrival of the Total War Assembly Kit. This contains a collection of extremely useful programs for modders, including a unit editor and a campaign map reprocessor that allows for the creation of custom campaigns.

Total War: Shogun 2 to get Steam Workshop support, deeper mod tools planned

Tom Senior at

Accounts of this week's Creative Assembly mod summit have been hitting Total War community forums, with word of Steam Workshop support for Total War: Shogun 2 and plans for an upgraded set of CA-developed mod tools that will let modders tweak campaign and model files.

The creator of The Great War mod, "Mitch," posted a detailed account of the meeting, in which some of the most prolific Total War modders in the world got to meet top CA talent like Shogun 2 lead designer Jamie Ferguson. According to Mitch, the presentation revealed that "there will be Steam Workshop intergration" for Shogun 2. "People will be able to create and upload their own historical battles and have others download them."

Total War: Rome 2 trailer shows first in-game footage

Tom Senior at

Ouch! I've never seen someone get crushed with the head of a massive statue before, but this is WAR. The new Rome 2 trailer shows the first in-engine footage of the siege of Carthage. Legions of troops pour onto the beaches, wash into the streets and break against the grey, craggy fury of an elephant charge. It's a short teaser for a longer fly-through video of the siege that The Creative Assembly are keeping locked safely away in their trailer Trireme, but it offers a heady glimpse of the updated engine. Don't let me keep you. The video is right here ready to go.

Total War Darthmod creator retires

Tom Senior at

Nick "Darth Vader" Thomadis has announced that there won't be any more follow ups to the popular Darthmod series of mods for Total War after receiving no invite to The Creative Assembly's upcoming modders' summit. "There will be some support for older games, if needed, as all my mods are complete now but there will be not a new DarthMod for new Total War games and of course not for the upcoming RTW2," said Thomadis on Facebook.

"Do not worry about the future of the current DarthMods. They will stay and will be probably somewhat more improved. Maybe now I will have more time to play them."

Total War: Rome 2 screenshots show close combat on the streets of Carthage

Tom Senior at

Shakespeare knew what he was doing, which is why, when he penned the first lines of Mark Antony's most famous speech from Julius Ceaser, he didn't write "friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your eyeballs," which leaves it to me to make that demand. Come on now, your eyeballs, please. All of them.

I'll use them well, I promise. Let me just gather them all up in arms, like so, and saunter into the depths of this post, where four new screenshots for the tremendously enticing Total War: Rome 2 await.

Total War: Shogun 2 Saints and Heroes DLC adds new units: spiked clubs and master ninja

Tom Senior at

If you reckon there simply aren't enough spiked war clubs in Total War: Shogun 2, the Saints and Heroes DLC pack might be for you. It adds nine new elite units including Tadakatsu's Tetsubo warriors, owners of said spiked clubs, the mounted Spears of Shizugatake, a bold new form of cavalry, and elite ninja warriors, Hanzo's Shadows. They're masterful murderers, and pretty good at climbing walls, too. Take a closer look in the DLC announcement trailer and screenshots below.

Total War: Shogun 2 patch tackles multiplayer desync bugs, improves lighting

Tom Senior at

For many, "Fixes to prevent desynchronisation (desync) in multiplayer campaign modes" will be the highlight of the latest round of updates to Total War: Shogun 2. Syncing up a multiplayer campaign requires the PCs running each instance of the campaign to high five every now and then to make sure everything is where it should be. Some people's games were, tragically, missing high fives and then failing to catch follow up hits up high, down low AND on the rebound.

This patch will hopefully help with all that, but also adds a few visual tweaks in the form of an updated shader to "improve lighting in battles throughout the game," horse animation transitions have been smoothed out, and the game is now more compatible than ever with Radeon HD7 cards. Here's the full update list from Steam.

Napoleon: Total War Darthmod update has "enhanced Battle AI that awaits to crush you"

Tom Senior at

The latest update to the Mythos Edition of the marvellous Darthmod project for Napoleon: Total War has landed according to ModDB, which makes this a good excuse to highlight Darthmod for any Total War players who haven't considered modding the game at all just yet.

The infamously challenging has gradually added more and more units to Napoleon, and has tuned the AI to be more aggressive and tougher to beat. Installing it will add 191 new land units, 14 new naval units and extra visual effects that make Napoleon's battlefields smokier, bloodier and more explosive. The mod also increases unit sizes and includes a campaign that supports 40 unit armies. The AI has been overhauled to use its generals more carefully, and combat has been rebalanced to make melee more decisive.

Rome 2 lead designer talks ancient warfare, modding, DLC, and the importance of working with the community

Chris Thursten at

While at The Creative Assembly to see Rome 2 for the first time, I sat down with Total War lead designer James Russell to talk about the studio’s reasons for returning to the ancient world, what new features players should expect from their second expedition to Rome, and whether the game will receive the same mod support that has just been rolled out for Total War: Shogun 2.