Thrones of Britannia – A 'very different' Total War game
Creative Assembly on new features coming to the latest Total War game
When you think of Total War games, there's one word that often springs to mind - invasion.
Conquering the world has often been a key objective in the vast majority of these turn-based strategy Steam PC games - but what happens when the mass invasions stop, when the player must build an army from mere scraps?
In Total War Saga: Thrones of Britannia, players are taken back to 878 AD, where post-invasion has resulted in a number of factions settling within the British Isles. There is a fragile state of peace across the land, where every faction must defend its people whilst attempting to expand their kingdom though alliances and combat.
While the need for buildings to train units has been discarded, weaker starting units that require upgrading means that every conflict could make or break your army.
Speaking exclusively to Fanatical at the recent PC Gamer Weekender event in London, Creative Assembly's Jack Lusted and Al Bickham talked about why Britannia was the ideal setting for the new Total War Saga.
"It's very popular in the media right now," says Jack. "You've got the popular TV shows focusing on it, but also great documentaries - I find it such a fascinating era. Total War: ATTILA was very much about this great invasion and the outcome of that, whereas - for me - is just as fascinating what happens afterward.
"You're asking 'what happens next?' and 'who comes out on top?' - there are lots of these big changes."
"It's an interesting point to start a Total War game because it's post-invasion," says Al. "You're not building up for the big invasion, it's already happened, and they've settled. You've got all of these different factions, including the Vikings, which have settled in England and at the start of the game, there's this uneasy peace.
"It's very much 'anything can happen' and is a bit of a tinderbox, it's about navigating your way through and carving stories out for yourself."
The Total War franchise has, of course, made alterations with each release - from how their games run and appear to which genre (historical or fantasy). For gamers who've enjoyed the likes of Rome: Total War, but haven't returned to the battlefield for a few years, Al and Jack say that the addictive action strategy gameplay still remains - but expect big changes and new features that you might not be used to.
"One of the big changes is the fact that you don't have to build buildings to get units anymore," says Jack. "Because we've changed the recruitment system, that then changes provinces.
"The settlements, characters and the traits that they'll get, it feels really different when you play it."
"All of these changes intermesh with one another," says Al. "When you're playing it, you know it's a Total War game - you've got the campaign section and the massive battles - but everything feels a little different and authentic to that medieval period."
With more open battle areas and the removal of dead-end streets within settlements - we asked whether these changes make this Total War game slightly more 'beginner friendly'.
"With every Total War game, we try to make it a bit more user-friendly to new players," says Jack. "I think it's going to be quite different because it's going to be more open battles, but you don't get many catapults - so, maybe it's more beginner friendly."
"I think if someone new is coming to play this Total War game, the scope of it is probably less daunting because it's the British Isles," says Al. "It's not Europe from the tip of Portugal to the far east part of Russia - you don't feel as if you don't know where to begin."
So, will there be war elephants charging into battle this time around?
"Not this time!" jokes Al.