After a bit of a wait, Sega and Creative Assembly have finally confirmed that they're ready to finish off what's grown into Total War's most ambitious experiment. Total War: Warhammer 3 is coming. Check out the fancy cinematic trailer above.
When Warhammer 2 was released just over a year after the first Warhammer, it seemed like the trilogy would be completed by 2018, but then came years of silence. Instead of moving onto Warhammer 3, Creative Assembly lavished the second game with lots of attention, building its impressive Mortal Empires campaign—which combined 1 and 2 into a mega campaign—and introducing lots of new lords and faction overhauls. As a fan of Warhammer 2, this attention has been very welcome, but I've been desperate for news of the final game. And now we've got something to cling onto.
As many predicted, Chaos is going to be in the spotlight this time, with the daemonic factions of Khorne, Nurgle, Slaanesh and Tzeentch all causing mischief and mayhem. Each is a distinct faction, but they're not the only ones you'll be able to lead. The forces of Chaos will be joined by two human factions hanging out in the Lands of the East: Kislev and Cathay, analogues of Russia and China respectively.
Creative Assembly boasts that this collection of factions—which is quite a bit larger than what its predecessor launched with—will contain the most diverse roster of heroes, monsters, flying creatures and magical powers that we've seen in Total War: Warhammer, and that the scale in general will be much greater than before. Until Warhammer, I was convinced the studio did its best work with smaller, focussed games, like Shogun 2, but since 2016 it's proved that it's just as proficient with the bigger stuff. Hopefully it won't be another Empire.
The faction selection might be the most interesting we've seen in the series so far, and not just because it's full of daemons. Kislev and Cathay, while drawn from the tabletop game, don't actually have official armies. Games Workshop is currently working on a new Kislev army for the relaunch of the Old World that will, you'll be happy to know, include bear cavalry, but Cathay exists mostly just in lore. There's room for a lot of surprises.
Warhammer 3's launch is unlikely to be the end of things. Creative Assembly's DLC model for Warhammer 2 seems to have worked too well for it to ditch now, and there are still some armies left unused. The studio has previously stated that it hopes to include every army from the Old World version of the tabletop game, so I wouldn't count out the likes of the Ogres and Chaos Dwarves making an appearance via DLC. There are also other factions without armies, like Cathay's rival, Nippon, which is based on feudal Japan.
Along with a brand new campaign, Mortal Empires will be expanded to include the new factions and locations. It's already mind-bogglingly huge, so I can barely conceive of what it will look like when it's done. I doubt I'll be able to escape its clutches until I've poured an unhealthy number of hours into it.
Total War: Warhammer 3 is coming this year via Steam and the Epic Games Store, and you can find out more about what to expect in my interview with game director Ian Roxburgh (opens in new tab).