Total War: Warhammer 3 preorders remain top of the charts in China

Total War: Three Kingdoms became the fastest-selling entry in Creative Assembly's strategy game series thanks largely to its popularity in China, selling a million copies in its first week. Based on how the preorders are going, Total War: Warhammer 3 might repeat the trick. 

While it topped Steam's global top sellers chart globally upon its announcement, Warhammer 3 dropped off as games like Valheim climbed past it. Except in China. As noted by CenturionNami on the ResetEra forum, Warhammer 3 remained number one in China even in the face of competition like local megahit Tale of Immortal.

The third game in Creative Assembly's trilogy will feature Cathay as one of its playable factions, Warhammer's fantasy version of China—just as Bretonnia is a fantasy France (with King Arthur thrown in), and Kislev sort of fantasy Russia (only with Poland and a bunch of other Slavic nations in the mix). While Cathay was a core part of Warhammer's tabletop incarnation in its early editions, as the army list was winnowed down over the years it was left out, and hasn't been detailed in full since Warhammer Fantasy Battle 3rd Edition in 1987. There's a lot of room for a creative take on the idea.

The trailer for Total War: Warhammer 3 ends with a map of Cathay that was made by a Chinese fan and given to Creative Assembly as a gift. The reveal was obviously well-received among Chinese fans, as you can see in edits of the announcement trailer on Bilibili, the Chinese equivalent of YouTube. This one includes several minutes of speculation about what the Cathayan forces might be like, and has a stream of comments superimposed over the top in Bilibili's "bullet curtain" style, like a bullet hell shooter. After the map of Cathay is revealed a flood of ohhhhhs and Chinese text fills the screen as well as a familiar English phrase: "Shut up and take my money".

Total War: Warhammer 3 is due in late 2021 via Steam and the Epic Games Store. We probably won't have to worry about it being censored for China, as Total War: Warhammer 2 released there just fine even with its DLC featuring armies of skeletons. China isn't as censorious of videogame skeletons as you might think

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, Five Out of Ten Magazine, and, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.