Total War Saga: Troy - A game of myths, monsters and strategy
Will you encounter the beast-like foes in the new turn-based strategy
Exploring Ancient Greece as part of a game's main campaign has the opportunity to delve deep into the Greek mythology - and that's certainly what gamers can expect in the upcoming Total War Saga: Troy.
The second title from the TWS series, developed by Creative Assembly and published by SEGA, sees players forge a heroic legacy in the late Bronze Age, inspired by the legendary 20-year conflict between the kingdoms of Troy and Mycenaean Greece, known as the Trojan War... yeah, like that movie starring Brad Pitt.
As well as telling following the narrative of the Trojan War in its own unique, with classic turn-based strategy and real-time battles, Total War Saga: Troy will also feature 'mythical units' such as Minotaurs, Cyclops, Centaurs and Giants. These fantastic beast-like legends are purely optional content - so players can gain access to these units in the designated spots on the map if they wish, but they exist outside the main factions’ rosters and can easily be avoided completely by the more-historically inclined.
In addition, Creative Assembly has also stated that mythical units are "subject to the team’s euhemeristic truth behind the myth approach to not twist the overall tone and direction of the game".
Speaking on the official Total War site, Creative Assembly Sofia game director Maya Georgieva talked about Homer’s Iliad - an epic tale that focuses on human conflicts and affairs - and implementing myth and monsters into Troy.
“Strictly speaking, the Iliad does not feature a lot of fantastical characters and monsters," she says. "It focuses on larger-than-life heroes and meddlesome gods instead. Still, we cannot seriously endeavor into the realm of Greek myth and legend without acknowledging some fan favourites.
"And, more importantly, by doing so we complement the variety of possible army rosters and battle gameplay with some important options that would otherwise be missing or very scarce in a purely Bronze Age setting. So the inclusion of 'mythical' units in Troy is justified by reasons of authenticity and even more so - by gameplay necessity."
Aside from the myth, the team has been taking extra special care so that players will experience a true representation of the Bronze Age.
"The historical series of Total War games have a treasure trove of themes and materials to draw from - maybe more than we can actually cover, although not for lack of trying!" says Maya. "One such period ripe for Total War representation is that of the Late Bronze Age, especially the mysterious and dynamic time of the Bronze Age Collapse - it has been on our list for a long time.
"However, there are objective challenges to representing such long-gone eras in an engaging and entertaining way while also checking the boxes of what's necessary for the game to play without lagging behind recent developments."
The team at Creative Assembly has set about learning much more than just the geography and archaeological artifacts from the Bronze Age, but also the names of nations, places, people, relationships, conflicts and much more.
"These are the things that give soul and human face to history," says Maya. "We need recognizable personalities that create emotional attachment and, last but not least, we need a story to tell."
Many later historical eras have benefited from an influx of contemporary historians, significant numbers of literary sources and extensive research - but the Bronze Age has very little of these helpful pieces of information to hand.
"It all exists in the myths and legends of the ancient Greeks with one significant caveat - myths are far removed from reality," says Maya. "Instead of forfeiting an attempt to expand the series into this exciting age, we decided to draw from that source - very carefully and concisely, by separating the impossible from the still less probable but feasible, until we could filter out a core that could be at the heart of a great new Total War game.
"We're guided and reassured in this by the success of pioneers such as Heinrich Schliemann, who believed that there was substance behind those old tales and went on to prove this by excavating the sites of Troy and Mycenae, opening up the way for science to further explore this period of history."