UPDATE: Details added.
ORIGINAL STORY: Creative Assembly have just announced Total War: Attila, the much-teased new Total War game.
Details are thin on the ground right now as the reveal is still going on, but you can watch the reveal live on the EGX Twitch stream. Once it’s done, though, we’ll be back with information on everything revealed.
We do know it’s set in 395AD, that Attila the Hun is the big enemy, that it’s a stand-alone follow-up to Total War: Rome 2, and that it’s out next year. But for now, that’s about it.
Updated details: Right! The stream has finished, and I’ve got a vast amount of notes. Some of which may actually be stuff that was already in Total War: Rome 2. I’m sorry, it’s been awhile since I’ve played it, so bear with me.
So, Total War: Attila is set in 395AD. The section of the campaign shown had players taking control of the Western Roman Empire, a huge bloated mess that’s completely impossible to control from any single location. With threats from all sides and their forces spread thin, playing as the Western Roman Empire will force players to retreat and lose provinces before they can actually regain the strength needed to fight back.
The UI has been vastly improved, with a new building browser, the ability to zoom in and out much further than before on the campaign map, a huge “event feed” log listing everything that happens during your campaign, and panels on all of your armies showing what buffs and debuffs they have. Family trees have been reinstituted; appointing someone as a province governor means that the province will benefit from any skills he’s learned over his career, and should that province come under attack, your governor will take the role of general. You’ll need to appoint a governor in order to enact any edicts in a province, too.
Sanitation is much more important than in Rome 2 due to diseases. If squalor gets too high in any given settlement, diseases will break out, and most of them are transmittable – armies can cart them around the map and infect your other cities, for instance. The minor diseases will just offer a bit of a debuff, while the more dangerous ones can completely rip through your population and cause huge amounts of damage to your economy and infrastructure.
Character and army experience and skills now come from skill trees, so you can aim for particular benefits and get them as you choose. Another new feature is the ability to employ, uh, a scorched earth doctrine. If enemy forces are encroaching on one of your cities and you simply can’t hold it, then you can raze it to the ground, taking some of the loot with you and devastating the land. This impacts the fertility of the land so units there will reinforce more slowly, and it means enemies can’t take one of your cities and use it as a staging point.
On a more cosmetic front, things look a bit nicer. There are lots of new lighting effects and bits of vegetation which means each region of the world will have its own distinct feel; England will be a bit darker and more gloomy, while northern Africa is vast and bright and shiny.
So, that’s about everything from my notes on the campaign map. Next up in the stream was an unscripted battle, with a poorly defended Londinium under attack by Saxon raiders.
One new major feature here is siege escalation. The longer a city is besieged on the campaign map, the more wartorn it is on the battle map; Londinium had been sieged for quite some time prior to this battle, so the walls had crumbled (giving gaps for enemies to swarm through), the city itself was blackened and burned, and fires were spreading. This actually has a gameplay impact: as the fires spread and burn more buildings, the morale of the defenders will drop, and those buildings will need repairs back on the campaign map.
Another new feature is that the defenders can place barricades on pre-defined locations, which gives a few tactical options. You can plonk them down to funnel enemies into kill zones, or you can mount ranged units on them to give them some extra fortifications to shoot from. There are lots of scout units that can be deployed outside of your standard deployment zones, letting you (for instance) put some light infantry down away from the rest of your troops, so that they can flank behind the enemy and take their squishier troops by surprise. In non-besieged cities, civilians will also turn up – most will just run and try to hide from aggressors, but a few might try to fight back. And will likely be cut down in short order.
A new unit type is the Raider, which is relatively inexpensive and reasonably powerful, but extremely unruly. Take them into a city and they’re going to run around setting fire to things and generally causing carnage, which might not be a great thing if you’re hoping to take the city intact.
I think fatigue has changed, too. It drops quickly in combat, but can be replenished fairly rapidly by pulling the units out of battle and giving them a chance to rest. As such, rotating units in combat is a viable tactic.
Again: it’s been awhile since I’ve played a Total War game, so if any of these changes aren’t actually changes, please do not shout at me too loudly.
There’s no release date for Total War: Attila, but early on in the stream they mentioned it was being aimed at sometime next year.