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March 23 is the release date for Total War: Shogun 2 - Fall of the Samurai, the enticing standalone expansion to Shogun 2.



Fall of the Samurai introduces six new factions to do battle for an expanded campaign map portraying ancient Japan on the verge of an age of transition. Western weaponry is being imported in greater numbers, and factions within Japan are seeking to use them to overthrow the ancient Shogunate using the muskets and massive cannons provided by imperial forces.



The expansion will add new tech trees, ground units, naval units and agents as well. You can find out more in our great big preview in the latest issue of PC Gamer UK, which you can order now online, or get digitally through Zinio or Apple Newsstand.
PC Gamer






Fall of the Samurai is a great big standalone expansion for Total War: Shogun 2 that will pit the samurai classes against imperial forces that threaten the power of the Shogunate. The influx of colonial forces and new technology leads to an internal struggle between pro-imperial forces and traditionalists. The result? WAR! Katanas will meet muskets on the battlefields of Japan.



There will be six new factions to play with, 39 new land units, 10 new naval units, an expanded campaign map, three new agents, port sieges and new technology, including railways. It's available to pre-order now on Steam and the SEGA store for £24.99 / $29.99



Pre-ordering on Steam will grant you the Tsu faction, described as astute strategists and master ninjas. The SEGA store pre-order comes with the Obama faction, who have nothing to do with the incumbent US administration. They're described as an authoritarian people "who are unsurpassed in controlling people and trade."



The official Total War: Shogun 2 - Fall of the Samurai pre-order page also lists a limited edition as "coming soon." That'll contain the Saga faction, who can quickly adopt the fresh technology brought into Japan by Imperial forces. Fall of the Samurai is due out in March.
Announcement - Valve
Total War: SHOGUN 2 - Fall of the Samurai is now available for pre-purchase on Steam! Pre-Purchase now and receive the Steam exclusive Tsu Faction Pack.

Experience the dramatic conflict of samurai culture and modern weaponry between the Imperial throne and the last Shogunate in 19th century Japan.

PC Gamer




 

The Creative Assembly have just announced that they'll be releasing a huge standalone expansion for Total War: Shogun 2 called Fall of the Samurai. It will be set in the period leading up to the Boshin War, in which European and American forces introduce a new wave of military technology that threatens to wipe out the Samurai.



Fall of the Samurai will add six new factions. Some, like the Nagaoka, sill support the might of the Shogun. Others, like the Satsuma clan, want to embrace Imperial power. Externally, British, French and American forces are vying for influence in the Land of the Rising Sun. Over the course of the campaign, you'll get to decide Japan's fate.



New tech trees will reflect the evolving technology of a country adapting to the influx of devastating new weaponry from the west. That technology includes new naval units like "steamers, torpedo boats and mighty Ironclad battleships." For the first time in Total War, these will be able to launch artillery attack on land units from the safety of the sea. Coastal defences will also be able to launch ranged attacks on incoming fleets, and the fight for influence will rage across a new campaign map that will incorporate the Northern Ezo territories and railways. Railways can be used to move troops incredibly fast, and can be sabotaged by the enemy.



On the battlefield, 39 new units will be available, including Gatling guns, US Marines and British Royal Marines. There will be three new agent types, Foreign Veteran, the Ishin Shishi and the Shinshengumi. These campaign map agents will have all new progression trees, and the Geisha and Ninja skills will be updated.



The six new factions are divided into pro-Shogunate and pro-Imperial groups. The Aizu, Nagaoka, and Jozai clans fight for traditional Japan, while the Choshu, Satsuma and Tosa factions fight for the Empire.



A number of improvements will be made to siege battles. New tower defences can be upgraded and specialised to become archery, matchlock or gatling gun towers. A new "port siege" battle will let armadas brave coastal defences to take control of coastal towns by occupying their harbours.



Shogun 2's multiplayer features will also be expanded. You'll be able to create a separate Fall of the Samurai avatar with access to 40 new retainers, 30 new armour pieces and a new tech tree. There will be a new 19th century conquest map and you'll be able to create multiple avatars to try out different tech tree builds.



Fall of the Samurai is shaping up to be a huge update. It's standalone, too, so you won't need Shogun 2 to play it. It's due out in March.











PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Steam Autumn Sale continues: Total War, LA Noire, VVVVVV, Fallout: New Vegas super cheap">Total War totally on sale



What's this, every Total War title except Shogun and Shogun 2, with all accompanying DLC for just £8.74 / $12.49? What are you doing to us, Steam sale? I was planning to eat, and perhaps sleep this weekend but NO, you have to throw hundreds of hours of world class strategy gaming at me for a price that my buying finger can't not click on.



Wait, there's more? Gravity mangling platformer VVVVVV, for just 99p / $1.24? That's less than I paid for my cup of coffee this morning. The slick shouting-at-people-until-they-crack simulator LA Noire, which has only been out for two minutes, is half price. And Fallout: New Vegas and all its DLC packs are available at prices that make the upcoming Ultimate Edition seem a little redundant.



Also on sale today:



Red Orchestra series

Operation Flashpoint franchise

RIFT

Sniper: Ghost Warrior

The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition

Roller Coaster Tycoon 3: Platinum

Two Worlds franchise



 

The deals will change around again in six hours time, so keep an eye on the Steam front page. The Autumn sale will wrap up on Sunday, giving us some time to play everything we've bought before the big Christmas sale kicks off.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Hyrule: Total War mod brings Zelda to the battlefield, looks incredible">Bigoctoshot1



Hyrule: Total War is exactly what it sounds like. Its 20 factions herald from the furthest corners of the Zelda universe. Whether you want to command a small mountain of Gorons, a bunch of dudes dressed like Sheik, or Zelda herself, Hyrule: Total War aims to make it all possible with meticulous attention to detail.



Also, Zora are for some reason playable, even though they have about as much business in a land skirmish as, er, Zelda does on PC. But hey, I'm certainly not complaining. Really, the only thing that's missing is a Navi army that defeats its foes by screaming "Hey! Listen!" until the madness sets in. At any rate, I'm finished holding you back. So then, salivate at this trailer, and then physically whip your PC to make it download the demo faster. Thanks, GameSpy.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

A source of what could gently be called discontent amongst the Total War community of late has been the lack of modding tools for the most recent games. Empire, Napoleon and Total War have all been bereft of official utilities to alter and add units, maps et al, which was partly a result of the relevant files being compressed and thus tricky to edit. At last, the Creative Assembly have found a way to open things up a little more – releasing the complete, original, unpacked raw database XML (data from tables) and XSD (table structure and field properties) files for both Empire and Napoleon.
(more…)

PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Total War devs explain lack of mod tools for Empire and Napoleon, release data tables for modders">Total War - Medieval 2 broken crescent



The Creative Assembly have released the raw table data for Empire and Napoleon on the Total War forums. The files should help modders looking to change in-game properties find the files they need to tweak within Total War's complex file structure.



As well as this gesture of support for what used to be one of PC gaming's most prolific and passionate modding communities, The Creative Assembly explain why they've been unable to provide the same level of mod support that fans have enjoyed in older games like Rome and Medieval 2.



Creative Assembly's Craig Laycock explains that the complexity of the engine used to create Empire and Napoleon has proved the main barrier to the creation of mod tools. "Back then, the game engine was a hell of a lot simpler than it is now," he writes. "There was a fraction of the database table files we use today, and these were basic, easily-editable text files. Compared to today’s binary files, which we’ve had to implement to fight naturally expanding load-times, they were a doddle to mod.



"Likewise, today’s campaign map is vastly more complex and data-dense than Rome’s, which was basically a simple TGA file that could be edited in photoshop. Today’s maps demand way more complexity in order to allow for better path-finding and AI. In addition, Rome’s campaign map was tile based; today’s campaign map is seamless for better movement, making it that considerably harder to mod."







Rome and Medieval are some of the best loved entries in the Total War series thanks to some of the incredible mods created by the community. Total War modders could move the game to a different part of the world, add astounding levels of historical accuracy, add new units or rebalance existing ones. The Creative Assembly say that they recognise the value of Total War modders, and insist that the lack of mod tools for recent titles isn't part of a ploy to boost DLC sales.



"Back in the Rome days, Vercingetorix created tools that were absolutely key to the explosion of Total War modding; tools such as the CAS exporter and the unpacker. You were happy, we were thrilled and some fantastic mods (such as the breathtaking Europa Barbarorum) were born, and enjoyed by thousands, us included. We’re still in awe of what people achieved with Rome and Medieval II’s engines."



"Please understand that we’re not trying to constrain modding in any way; we simply haven’t been able to support it as well as we really wanted to," explains Laycock. "This isn’t a conspiracy to make you buy DLC over creating your own content… if that were true, there never would have been the possibility of making unit-packs for Empire and Napoleon. The fact remains that modders have made many such excellent units, and enriched the game for thousands of Total War players.







"We still want to help though, and we think the best way to do this is to give you the raw database XML and XSD files."



"Going forward, we’ll be working on a better strategy to support modding, and we’re now planning what we’re going to do for Shogun 2. But we’re going to stop promising specifics that we’re unable to deliver, as we all know how well that’s worked out in the past."



For an overview of some of the greatest fan-made Total War creations, check out our pick of the ten best Total War mods.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Creative Assembly already working on new Total War game">Creative Assembly Logo



Speaking to Eurogamer, Creative Assembly's studio director, Mike Simpson has confirmed that the team are already working on another Total War game, just two month's after the release of Total War: Shogun 2. When asked by the website whether the team were working on another Total War game, Simpson replied "We never stop, so yes."



He also mentioned that "The original Shogun sold more copies in the second three years of its existence than it did in its first three years." However, the studio director was confident in the early success of Shogun 2, saying: "It's doing fab. We're 90 per cent Metacritic which is exactly where we wanted to hit, and it's selling great."



Total War: Shogun 2 was just patched with DX11 support, which made a lot of people with powerful machines very happy. Read our full review here.



PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Creative Assembly working on a “blockbuster based on Alien”">Alien



VG247 have just spotted a tweet from UK member of parliament Ed Vaizey that suggests the Total War developers, Creative Assembly could be developing a new game based on the Alien films.



His tweet reads: "Great visit to Creative Assembly one of UK's best developers. Now hiring for new blockbuster based on Alien"



"Based on" suggests it might not be an official alien game, but The Creative Assembly is owned by Sega, who published Rebellion's Aliens vs. Predator reboot last year, and are behind Gearbox's upcoming Aliens: Colonial Marines. They have the rights to the Alien franchise. This could be happening. We'll bring you the latest details as soon as they emerge. ZOMG. Get the latest updates below.



Sega have told CVG that the new Alien title will be "a peer to Dead Space 2," and is currently only confirmed for consoles. It would be very surprising to see the Total War developers move away from PC development, however.



Sega boss Mike Hayes has told CVG that Creative Assembly have been "given the direction to win awards."



"This is very much a triple-A project," he says, "We want this to be a peer to the likes of Dead Space 2."



Eurogamer say that The Creative Assembly are planning to grow their studio to work on the new title and confirm that development is already underway, though it won't be ready to show at E3.



According to RPS, development will be handled by the team behind console hack and slash, Viking: Battle for Asgard. The game will be based on the first Alien film, which suggests more tension and scares than the mass bug shoot of Aliens.
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