Total War: Pharaoh is getting a free expansion-sized update that adds 4 new factions, including Troy

A pharaoh with a beetle on his finger.
(Image credit: Sega)

While the drama surrounding Total War: Warhammer overshadowed it a bit, Total War: Pharaoh was similarly taking a bit of a kicking last year when it was sold for £50/$60 despite being less meaty than your usual Total War fare. It felt like something that should have been under the Saga brand, like Troy and Thrones of Britannia, but was very much advertised as a full fat Total War. 

This prompted Creative Assembly to make the surprising decision to dramatically reduce it in price, down to £30/$40, while offering existing owners partial refunds. Creative Assembly also set about beefing up the game, starting with the free High Tide update, letting players take control of the Sea Peoples, a faction that had previously served as an unplayable invader. This is now being followed up by something much more significant in scale: an update that sounds so substantial that it would normally be a premium expansion, but which is being given to all players for free. 

Calling it a "free campaign map update" really undersells it. We're talking four new playable factions, 150 "new and reprised battle units" and a bunch of new regions in which to fit the aforementioned newcomers.

Babylon, Assyria, Mycenae and Troy will expand the game well beyond Egypt and into Mesopotamia and Aegea, making this more Total War: Bronze Age than Total War: Pharaoh. Troy, of course, was in the spotlight in A Total War Saga: Troy, which also featured the Mycenaean faction, and more than 70 units from the game are being reworked for Pharaoh. That leaves 80 new units between Babylon and Assyria. 

As well as the headline attractions, Pharaoh's campaign is being "reworked to both improve existing gameplay foundations whilst proving players with a host of new content to better experience the turbulence of the Bronze Age collapse", which includes a dynasty system that "adds mortality and succession to your faction leaders' quest to leave behind a legacy that will survive the ages". 

If you prefer your Total War: Pharaoh playthroughs to be focused on pharaohs, the original campaign will still be playable once the update rolls out at a date yet to be announced. 

More specifics will be revealed by Creative Assembly through blogs and Q&As, kicking off next week with a blog that will focus on the expanded campaign map. 

Fraser Brown
Online Editor

Fraser is the UK online editor and has actually met The Internet in person. With over a decade of experience, he's been around the block a few times, serving as a freelancer, news editor and prolific reviewer. Strategy games have been a 30-year-long obsession, from tiny RTSs to sprawling political sims, and he never turns down the chance to rave about Total War or Crusader Kings. He's also been known to set up shop in the latest MMO and likes to wind down with an endlessly deep, systemic RPG. These days, when he's not editing, he can usually be found writing features that are 1,000 words too long or talking about his dog.