Total War Series
|Total War Series|
Total War is a video game series developed by The Creative Assembly. There are currently 14 mainline entries, 3 Saga titles, and 4 relevant spinoff projects. Creative Assembly has published through SEGA since the release of Medieval II.
Total War games are distinguished by combining two forms of gameplay: a battlefield map where armies are pitted against each other directly, and a strategic campaign map to lend the battles context and significance. The series is widely recognized as being the first to introduce large-scale military battlefields in a game and at times has been used to simulate battles in real historic contexts. For example, the Rome: Total War engine was selected to power the simulations on Time Commanders and Decisive Battles. Though Total War began with a strictly historical focus, Creative Assembly began experimenting with the fantastic with their Warhammer series, and brought a heavy mythological influence to the historical titles released around this trilogy. Total War is also known for its extensive, at times revolutionary modding scene.
For user-made modifications to the Total War Series, see Total War Mods.
For information on how to make your own mods, see the Modding Portal.
- 1 Gameplay
- 2 Total War Saga Games
- 3 Main Series
- 3.1 Total War: Pharaoh
- 3.2 Total War: Three Kingdoms
- 3.3 Total War: Warhammer III
- 3.4 Total War: Warhammer II
- 3.5 Total War: Warhammer
- 3.6 Total War: Attila
- 3.7 Total War: Rome II
- 3.8 Total War: Shogun 2
- 3.9 Napoleon: Total War
- 3.10 Empire: Total War
- 3.11 Medieval II: Total War
- 3.12 Rome: Total War & Rome Remastered
- 3.13 Medieval: Total War
- 3.14 Shogun: Total War
- 4 Free to Play and other Spin-off Games
This section discusses elements of gameplay that are common to each game in the series. Note that the nature of gameplay varies from title to title, and should be explored on a per-game basis. Spinoffs may focus on one aspect, or take a different approach entirely while still connecting to the Total War branding.
A staple of the Total War experience, the campaign tasks the player with managing an (at first) fledgling faction and then their ever expanding empire, eventually achieving military dominance over the map. Total War: Attila is the only major title to meaningfully flip this, demanding the player to recover a declining empire. Players choose from a selection of relevant factions for the setting against a world of computer-controlled rivals. In earlier titles new factions would be unlocked through gameplay, with defeated factions becoming playable. In later titles a selection of relevant powers is available by default, with new ones available through DLC, and the rest of the map unplayable. Aside from maps that allow battles to come to pass, campaigns offer a degree of diplomacy, political management and the development of characters, though the depth handles differently from title to title. The depth is never to the extent of say, Paradox titles, but the combination of fully realized battles is the unique selling point of the series.
The other key aspect of Total War, each game provides battlefields that can include many thousands of soldiers in a variety of situations. Although reinforcements are possible, there is no base building aspect and no in-battle respawning. Only a fight to the death, or more regularly, until the losing army flees the field. Rome Total War and all later entries include siege battles; the ability to conquer or save a city, castle or other holdout. It should be noted that siege battles are typically viewed as the weaker aspect due to pathfinding and design being difficult to perfect despite this form of battle existing in the series for many years. Some titles include naval battles, and some later titles allow scenarios in which powerful heros duel one on one. The latter is seen in the Warhammer trilogy and entries that came after.
Other features and design
Total War games include multiplayer. Mostly focused on battles, recent titles typically also include the feature to conquer the world with a friend for support or a rival who must ultimately be defeated. Medieval 2 fleshes out a unique feature, hotseat, allowing any faction to be controlled in the same turn. This has been used to allow multiple people to play a campaign on the same computer, to battle competitively in extensive hotseat campaigns, or even to play multiple or every single faction themselves. A feature that was possible in Rome Total War and realized to an extent in Medieval 2, it has never been seen again in the series following the launch of Empire.
Total War has a long history of modding, ranging from smaller tweaks typically uploaded to the steam workshop to total overhauls of the game which must be uploaded to the workshop in several parts or hosted on other sites altogether. The most comprehensive modding is done in earlier titles where the map is simpler to change and the game can be more convincingly rebranded to another setting, such as in Rome: Total War or Medieval II: Total War. Later titles with greater complexity and restriction tend to have far fewer overhauls of this nature, though advanced retuning of the gameplay can still be found, such as the 1212AD mod for Total War: Attila. This wiki caters heavily to the modding scene of the series.
Earlier entries of the series focused on historically authentic nations, allowing the player to build and play through many generations while achieving world conquest. Later titles, especially Warhammer but inclusive of some of the games surrounding them, have come to design factions around particular characters in relevant time periods in addition to embracing historic mythology. These titles on the historical side include Three Kingdoms, Troy and excluding the mythological aspect, Pharaoh.
Total War Saga Games
Saga branded titles are standalone spin-offs with the same overall gameplay as a full Total War game, but they concentrate on "flashpoints" with a smaller scope. They are generally cheaper and less extensive than a mainline release.
Total War Saga: Troy
- For more details on this topic, see Total War Saga: Troy.
Total War Saga: Troy was released in August 2020. The game is set in the late Bronze Age and focuses on the Trojan War.
Total War Saga: Thrones of Britannia
- For more details on this topic, see Total War Saga: Thrones of Britannia.
Total War Saga: Thrones of Britannia was announced in July 2017, and released in May 2018. The game is set in 878 AD and focuses on the British Isles.
Total War: Shogun 2: Fall of the Samurai
- For more details on this topic, see Total War: Shogun 2: Fall of the Samurai.
Total War: Shogun 2: Fall of the Samurai, the standalone expansion for Shogun 2, was reclassified as a part of the Saga series some years after its release.
Total War: Pharaoh
Total War: Pharaoh was announced in May, 2023 and released October, 2023. It is the latest Total War title and returns to a historically authentic focus, set in ancient Egypt and a handful of relevant territories. Like Three Kingdoms factions are based around powerful individuals rather than organized states. In design it is very reminiscent to its Saga predecessor, Troy.
Total War: Three Kingdoms
- For more details on this topic, see Total War: Three Kingdoms.
Total War: Three Kingdoms was announced in January 2018 and released in May 2019. Despite being historical in nature, it introduced a more mythological scenario. It is the first main historical title to focus on characters more than organized states. The main game is set in Ancient China and starts in 190 AD. Various DLCs have been released which provide different campaigns and start dates.
Total War: Warhammer III
- For more details on this topic, see Total War: Warhammer III.
Total War: Warhammer III is the third entry of the Warhammer trilogy. It was announced in February, 2021 and released in February, 2022.
Total War: Warhammer II
- For more details on this topic, see Total War: Warhammer II.
Total War: Warhammer II is the sequel to Total War: Warhammer. It was announced in March, 2017 and released in September, 2017.
Total War: Warhammer
- For more details on this topic, see Total War: Warhammer.
Total War: Warhammer is the first fantasy Total War game. It was announced in April, 2015 and released in May, 2016.
Total War: Attila
- For more details on this topic, see Total War: Attila.
Total War: Attila was announced in September 2014, and released on February 2015. Though it has been criticized for performance issues that have persisted over time, the launch was far more smooth than Rome 2. Attila offers a unique campaign scenario, presenting the flagship Roman factions during the fall of the Western Roman Empire and a challenging scenario - or the chance to play one of the many forces that contributed to the fall of Rome.
Total War: Rome II
- For more details on this topic, see Total War: Rome II.
Total War: Rome 2 was announced in July 2012, and released on September 2013. The announcement and promotion was the subject of great hype and expectations, and Rome 2 was slated to be the largest release of the series yet. The launch was incredibly troubled, the subject to extensive criticism and many bugs that would be addressed over the following years. Updates stalled until resuming again in the late 2010s to introduce a family tree and other mechanics.
Total War: Shogun 2
- For more details on this topic, see Total War: Shogun 2.
Shogun 2: Total War was announced in June, 2010 and released in March 2011. In November 2010 shortly after announcement, the naming changed to Total War: Shogun 2. This convention would be applied to the rest of the franchise. Shogun 2 was a smaller title than most in scope, but featured a polished experience that continues to attract fans today.
Napoleon: Total War
- For more details on this topic, see Napoleon: Total War.
Napoleon: Total War is the successor of Empire: Total War. The release date for Napoleon: Total War was February 2010 and they delivered on time. The game brings revolutionary new systems to the game, such as attrition, supply lines, plus better Campaign and Battle AI.
Empire: Total War
- For more details on this topic, see Empire: Total War.
Empire: Total War was released in March 2009 and is published by Sega. In late 2009 the expansion Warpath Campaign was released, which brought a new focus onto the Americas. The game marked very ambitious changes in how the underlying game engine ran, with fundamentals lasting into the latest total war titles. The release of Empire: Total War was considered 'buggy and frustrating' by many users, who wanted more attention to bugs than a new campaign.
Medieval II: Total War
- For more details on this topic, see Medieval II: Total War.
Medieval II: Total War was published in 2006 by Sega and is the indirect sequel to Medieval: Total War. The Kingdoms expansion was released in 2007, adding four new campaigns, a number of factions, several features and fixes and a map extension to include the New World. The game was positively received and developed a modding audience to rival its predecessor, and retains an influential playerbase many years after its release. Around this release, Creative Assembly came under publisher SEGA.
Rome: Total War & Rome Remastered
- For more details on this topic, see Rome: Total War.
Rome: Total War was published in 2004 by Activision. It was followed by Rome: Total War Barbarian Invasion in 2005, which added a number of features to the game. In the same year, Rome: Total War Alexander was released with distinctly improved AI performance. Rome: Total War radically changed the formula of the franchise, introducing a more freeform campaign map and many features which continue to be seen in the franchise today.
Total War: Rome Remastered was released by Feral Interactive in April 2021. The Remaster introduced updated visuals, adjustments and improvements to mechanics, a new UI and various design choices to compliment modders.
Medieval: Total War
- For more details on this topic, see Medieval: Total War.
Medieval: Total War was published in 2002 by Activision. Its expansion pack entitled Viking Invasion was released in 2004, adding a new campaign that encompassed the Viking expansion into Europe.
Shogun: Total War
- For more details on this topic, see Shogun: Total War.
Shogun: Total War was published in 2000 by Electronic Arts and is the first original creation by Creative Assembly. Its expansion pack, Mongol Invasion was released in 2001, placing the player in the midst of a fictionalized invasion of Japan by the Mongol Horde.
Free to Play and other Spin-off Games
Total War: Arena
- For more details on this topic, see Total War: Arena.
Total War: Arena was a free-to-play team-based multi-player game, it had been in open beta phase since February, 2018 until it was cancelled in February 2019.
Total War Battles: Kingdom
Total War Battles: Kingdom is a free-to-play strategy game including realm building and battles. It was released in March, 2016.
Total War Battles: Shogun
Total War Battles: Shogun was released in April, 2012 for iOS and in August, 2012 for PC and Mac.
Spartan: Total Warrior
Spartan: Total Warrior was released for game consoles in 2005.
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