Total War: Rome II is an upcoming strategy game under development by The Creative Assembly and published by Sega, to be released in October 2013 for Microsoft Windows. According to The Bookseller website, Pan Macmillan and Thomas Dunne Books have purchased the rights from The Creative Assembly to publish a series of novels based on the video game Total War: Rome II. Author David Gibbins has been tasked to write the aforementioned novel series. The first of the novels will be released at the same time as the video game in October. The eighth standalone game in the Total War series of video games, Rome II is a successor to the 2004 game Rome: Total War.
As with Rome: Total War, Rome II will be set in classical antiquity and focus on the Roman Republic, allowing players to transform it into the Roman Empire if they so choose. Game requirements are still unknown, however the developer has stated that the studio will try to maintain minimum system requirements as in Total War: Shogun 2.
The game is set to have a larger campaign map than Rome: Total War, and apart from encompassing the extent of the Roman Empire and its environs, will feature new territories “going further East”. A new graphics engine will power the visuals of the game, and new unit cameras will allow players to focus on individual soldiers in the battlefield, which in itself may contain thousands of combatants at a time. Creative Assembly has stated that they wish to bring out the more human side of the war this way, with soldiers reacting with horror as their comrades get killed around them, and officers inspiring their men with heroic speeches before siege towers hit the walls of the enemy city. This will be realized using facial animations for individual units, adding a feel of horror and realism to the battles.
As with Total War: Shogun 2, the player will be prompted with decisions. The Creative Assembly is expanding on this mechanic, with each decision leading the player down a particular ‘decision path’ based on the player’s previous decisions. These decisions will then affect the way the campaign plays out, such as turning the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire. Additionally, rather than solely assigning traits to generals and family members as with previous Total War games, the player can now assign traits to legions as they gain combat experience through their years of conquest. Players can also customize legions by choosing their weapon loadout. This probably means that players will still be able to determine the composition of individual cohorts, even though they will be building entire legions at a time unlike in previous Total War titles where the player had to build all units of an army separately.
Navies will also play an even more important role in Total War: Rome II than in its predecessor. Creative Assembly plans to introduce mixed naval and land combat for land battles and city sieges for the first time in the company’s history. This will reflect the naval strategies of the classical era, where coastal cities were conquered and destroyed in great invasions of infantry disembarking from warships. Legions can now attack the enemy’s ground forces and cities, while naval units provide supporting fire or ram each other far away in the seas. Navies can also conquer poorly guarded coastal cities by themselves. Creative Assembly also plans to make naval units bigger in size, so instead of building one ship per construction, a player can have a formidable navy in less time.
Creative Assembly also seeks to capture the uniqueness of different cultures and fighting forces in the ancient times. Jack Lusted, the Creative Assembly’s lead unit designer, has stated that instead of the ‘Rebel’ faction of the original Rome: Total War there will be a large number of smaller factions, including one for each of the Greek city states. Every faction will have a unique playstyle. A tribe of British barbarians will look and feel completely different from that of a disciplined Roman legion, for example. Different agents and technologies will also be implemented for different factions. After all, an inland barbarian tribe would never be able to research the technology for polyremes or have much hope of manufacturing advanced ballistae realistically speaking.
The diplomacy system will be revamped with a better artificial intelligence, so players can also plan their way to power diplomatically. Creative Assembly acknowledges the various anomalies in previous games, where the AI could perform strange or even suicidal actions, such as small factions declaring war on the whole Roman Empire. This will be looked into in the sequel, and the AI is said to be more “intelligent” and cunning than ever. Your own actions during the campaign will determine whether or not the enemy AI will be a trustworthy ally, or a suspicious traitor.