SEGA and Creative Assembly have lifted the lid on Rome II: Total War, showing an impressive 15 minute demo revolving around Roman efforts to reduce Carthage to rubble. The headline new features are a redesigned graphics engine, a greater sense of scale and a stylish new cinematic unit camera.
During the presentation, Creative Assembly walked us through plenty of details about what Rome II intends to offer when it's released in late 2013, and lead designer James Russell spoke about the game's intentions.
The details in full:
- Shogun 2 was set in narrow geographical areas, with limited sets of units - a comparatively small scale to what's being intended with Rome II. It was designed with a focus on game systems, such as engine polishing and improvements to unit pathing.
- With that in place, Rome II is going big - it's bigger than Rome 1 in geographical scale.
- The game's key design vision is in taking players from a macro to micro scale, such as jumping from a campaign map to a single unit.
- Despite that focus, Rome II is still attempting to make its macro scale bigger - we're guessing the senate will play a large part of that, but Creative Assembly won't say just yet.
- As you rise through the ranks, your success will attract less-than-favourable responses from some of your friends. You will almost definitely get betrayed. There's "more human-level drama on the campaign map" in Rome II.
- The bigger campaign map has "hundreds" of regions to move your units around, but the game buckets them into provinces to make management easier. The idea is to have you thinking about armies and legions rather than fiddling around with individual units.
- Ultimately, the game will allow you to decide whether to favour the republic or become Rome's dictator.
- The game's cameras have been redesigned. You can now lock the camera to single units. In this mode it functions like a sort of documentary cam, shaking while the unit walks – it's "a soldier's eye view" according to Creative Assembly.
- The demonstration takes place with a scenario set during the Third Punic War, which took place during 149BC to 146BC. The scenario here is the Siege of Carthage.
- Rome II: Total War features a new graphics engine, which features particle and deferred lighting.
- The game can now combine naval and land battles into the same conflict, including naval invasions: in this demo a Roman ship lands on the coast of Carthage.
- Naval units now have more than one ship per unit.
- Though expected, we see catapults and ballistae being put to good use.
- The demo has a big focus on Roman siege towers, and the snap-to unit camera takes the view of the game inside the siege tower itself.
- Conflicts take place over much bigger environments - much of Carthage has been recreated in the demo. To accommodate this extra scale, the game now features a top-down tactical map.
- There are multiple ways to capture cities. Walls can be reduced to rubble after they've sustained enough damage, for instance. It's designed to create cat-and-mouse gameplay: "You're not just sitting in the plaza once the walls are breached trying to defend that one area"
- There's a real oomph when units engage, with walls of shields colliding.
- The new graphics engine can show some impressive fidelity for a game of this scale. We can clearly see that Cathage's walls have graffiti.
- Buildings crumble in the background as Carthage deploys its war elephants and the demo ends.
- The unit camera has been designed so the game feels like it's "almost Saving Private Ryan at the beaches".
- Each unit has its own facial animations, and leaders bark out a stream of orders throughout. each confrontation.
- Units react to things, such as their colleagues being slaughtered - the idea is that these aren't idenikit clone armies anymore.