As if it wasn’t enough for RTS stalwarts Creative Assembly to chronicle historical warfare across a whole range of eras – not to mention fantastical conflicts like those of the Warhammer universe – they’ve now apparently got plans to further expand their Total War workload.
On top of its upcoming Warhammer II, Arena and Battles: Kingdom instalments, the multi-decade-spanning PC franchise will soon add a spin-off saga to its belt with Total War Saga, a new strand seemingly unlike anything the developers have produced so far.
- Whereas past Total War outings like the Rome and Shogun entries have transported players from the beginnings of their titular epoch right until their downfall, the Saga entries will span far slimmer periods of time, prioritising minor military skirmishes which wrapped up within weeks or months of kicking off.
- If that micro approach to storytelling sounds a tad familiar to anyone who caught Disney’s first big-screen Star Wars spin-off, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, last December, then you’re not alone – in fact, all Saga chapters will not-so-coincidentally carry the sub-title of ‘A Total War Saga’ to showcase their isolation from the franchise’s core ongoing narratives, a la Jyn Ero’s Rogue One escapades carrying no noteworthy links to the space-faring voyages of Rey and Finn in Episodes VII-IX.
- With that being said, whereas the ‘Star Wars Story’ tales aim to depart from the territory which the main Episodes have already tread, Creative Assembly’s game director Jack Lusted warned not to expect new time-periods in these: “Sagas won’t be revolutionary new titles or introduce brand new areas,” he says, “They’ll follow on from previous Total War games and inhabit the same time-period, or at the very least relate to it.”
- Expect details on the first of these spin-off entries in the not too distant future, with a “spiritual follow-up to Total War: Rome 2, like Total War: Atilla” alluded to by Lusted in his initial comments on the project. He’s staying coy beyond that information, though what with the Total War franchise’s lack of console appearances to date, it’s probably also a safe bet that the Saga vignettes won’t follow the lead of other recent Creative Assembly projects like Alien: Isolation or Halo Wars 2 onto Sony or Microsoft hardware.
The biggest question going forward is, as always, whether even a franchise of such esteemed critical calibre as Total War can sustain its appeal when potentially spread thinly across such a hefty loaf of bread, what with so many individual instalments in the works at the moment.
If this renewed multi-tier approach resembles the Disney-led Star Wars franchise not only in structure but quality, however, then the chance remains that Creative Assembly can bring its 14-year-old brand a new lease of life for the first time since its inception with 2000’s Shogun: Total War.
Whatever happens next, stay tuned to D-pad Joy in the weeks and months and eras ahead for all of the latest news and views on the Total War franchise in all its myriad forms.