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Product Update - Valve
- Fixed distribution of blood on units' armour with the Blood Pack.
- Loading screens fixed for Multiplayer battles (no longer displays red smudges).
Product Update - Valve
- Fixed distribution of blood on units' armour with the Blood Pack.
- Loading screens fixed for Multiplayer battles (no longer displays red smudges).
PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to Empire: Total War “still selling now as much as it was a year ago”">Empire Total War

After a controversial launch, Empire has gone on to become one of the sleeper hits of the Total War series. A few weeks before the standalone Total War: Shogun 2 expansion, Fall of the Samurai was released, we asked Creative Assembly studio director, Mike Simpson about Empire's strange journey. "It’s weird isn’t it?" he said. "It does keep going – that’s one thing about Empire, it’s still selling now as much as it was a year ago and that just doesn’t stop."

Empire was to be The Creative Assembly's most sprawling, ambitious Total War yet, but its release in 2009 was overshadowed by AI bugs. Passive enemies and weak AI frustrated Total War players. Simpson admits that The Creative Assembly "did take on a little bit more than we were actually capable of delivering by the date."

"We had to have it earlier, so it was buggy on release, and it took us quite a few patches to get that sorted out. But when it was done it gets closer to the product that we originally intended, and it had long, long, long legs."

Empire's vast campaign takes place across three major theatres of war, America, Europe and India. Those are just the land battles, additional coastline zones host naval battles for international trade routes, vital for securing the huge resources needed to fuel a hungry global empire. Simpson described how The Creative Assembly approach each edition of Total War, in stages of "revolution" and "evolution." New titles like Empire are designed to refresh the series and update the engine, acting as a platform for future expansions like The Warpath campaign and, follow-up games like Napoleon.

"Empire was one of those revolutionary steps, but at that point the revolutions were starting to take too long to do, so it started to take more than three years to go around and that cycle was too long," said Simpson. "So at that point we realised you can’t actually throw the whole codebase away and start again, we have to do it in chunks. So we’re going into more of a continuous revolution process, which seems to be working pretty well."

Empire is available on Steam now for £10 / $19.99, and there's a demo available if you fancy trying it out. It's improved immensely in with the patches CA have added over the years, and there are plenty of mods out there keeping it fresh.

More recently, Total War: Shogun 2 could be considered the next "revolution" of the cycle. We've since had Rise of the Samurai and Fall of the Samurai, which means we're probably due another big step into a new theatre soon. Where would you like Total War to go next?
PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to Shogun 2: Fall of the Samurai screenshots show moustaches, swordsmen and sunsets">Total War Shogun 2 Fall of the Samurai - charge the marines

The standalone expansion to Total War: Shogun 2, Fall of the Samurai, is out, and it's a very handsome game, as these launch screenshots demonstrate. Of course, most of the time you'll be floating high above the battlefield, surveying the landscape and dishing out orders to vast armies, but if you take a moment every now and then to zoom down to ground level, you'll get to see every cut and thrust. Thanks to the influx of guns, Fall of the Samurai's battles are much smokier, noisier places.

If you're wandering whether or not to pick up the expansion today, check out our Fall of the Samurai review. If you've already taken the plunge, have a look at our guide to taking Japan. If you want to see men with huge moustaches being rushed by a unit of samurai swordsmen, check out these screenshots.

Product Release - Valve
Total War: SHOGUN 2 - Fall of the Samurai is Now Available on Steam!

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

PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to Total War: Shogun 2 patch adds 80-unit battles, 22 new maps, hundreds of fixes">Total War Shogun 2

An epic Shogun 2 patch has landed alongside the standalone expansion, Fall of the Samurai. If a dozen sumo wrestlers were to combine into a twelve foot tall Megazord of sumo wrestlers, the resulting horror would not be as large or fleshy as this update, which adds 40 vs. 40 units battles to multiplayer, 22 new land and sea maps to fight on, Steam cloud support, reduced battle load times, "greatly reduced" AI turn times and some 3000 words worth of balance shifts and bug fixes. Bikkuri shita!

The fixes listed in the patch notes below affect every aspect of the game, from the campaign map, to the real time battles and multiplayer. There's a bit of good news for anyone who bought the Blood Pack for Shogun 2, it'll apply the same effects to Fall of the Samurai's battles, too. Here's the full change list.

Headline additions – also available to Shogun 2 players

40v40 unit battles available via ‘control large armies’ option in Custom Battles and Multiplayer

Numerous Battle and Campaign AI improvements (see Battle and Campaign sections below)

Greatly reduced save-game file sizes and full Steam Cloud support

Battlefield load time improvement (approximately 30% dependent on machine spec)

Greatly reduced AI turn-time

22 brand new Land, Naval and Siege battle-maps


Full patch notes


The majority of these also apply to Shogun 2.

General fixes/additions

Fixes for known multiplayer campaign desyncs

Introduced option to auto-trigger abilities through right-clicking

Towers can now be ordered to fire at specific targets

Domination (capture all points) victories added for multiplayer

General optimisations across all areas of the game

Ability to queue technology tree research

Ability to set groups to AI control

Ability to lock group formations with new UI button

Fixed missing siege models

New front-end background camera pans

Campaign AI turn-times reduced due to pathfinding optimisations

Naval campaign AI improved significantly


Naval battles


Fixed attack intercept position when in and around islands

Fixed bug where some submerged ships did not surrender

Fixed several rare crashes in naval battle.

Improved circling behaviour for all ships

Improved range detection for Fire Bomb Kobaya

Removed stop-start movement for AI ships moving in a group.

Improved target selection for naval AI


User Interface

Modified the Standard Camera in naval battles to ensure that the horizon is always visible.

Added UI toggle to battle HUD (bottom left corner), so can hide UI elements

Mousing over unit cards now highlights the corresponding unit as if mousing over them

Double pressing group frame or double pressing group number shorcut zooms to groups

Added lock formation button for groups; groups act like did before, locked into formation by default, but can be unlocked to behave like a selection group. This provides an easier interface for players just wanting selection groups. (Can still quickly create a selection group pressing ctrl+g, which can also be used to toggle lock)

Added UI support for more units in a single battlefield, card system now goes onto double rows when required

Cursor no longer gives option to attack unmounted horses, as doing so would give order to attack riders which could be confusing

Inspiration range now drawn for all units with inspiration aura, not just for the general (like hero units)

Added ship schematics to info panel for boshin ships, to provide more detail on ships state

Fixed graphical issues with naval fire arcs in night battles

Added player names to MPC tooltips

Added fade transitions to info panels

Unit cards now coloured based on unit category

Added support for unbound keys, so can disable shortcuts rather than having to give obscure shortcut

Added page numbers to tooltips

New group frames to support double rows, and now highlight when moused over or group selected; as well as showing group number rather than japanese number for easier access via shortcuts

Multiplayer postbattle screen reworked

Added option to invert camera's x-axis

Can now move around battlefield when battle results present

Can no longer use debug camera from preferences while in multiplayer battle

Fixed text running off battle tooltips for some gempei units

Fixed bug where info panel would not update while paused during a replay

Bridge icons on battle radar given better image, and now orientated correctly

Fort walls now visible on radar map/loading map

Pings placed on invalid terrain no longer appear in middle of map

Ship tooltips/cards number of men take into account officers

Inactive battle hud buttons have tooltips

Fix for rotated UI images behaving incorrect when running widescreen resolution

Fix for realism mode setting being lost for campaign

Officers taken into account for ship numbers on unit cards/tooltips

Fixed in game chat highlight issues

Building info panel resizes unit entries dynamically to fix unit names being clipped in certain languages

Can now use context and tracking cameras in replays

Fixed issue where pasted invalid characters into text inputs

Neatend effect bundle tooltips so not larger than need to be

Can now double click on ground in battles to move to that location

Drag out units display now shows two arrows when will result in run on release, 1 arrow when will result in walk

Improved target/path marker spline quality so doesn't stretch out, and head now represents movement speed of unit it represents (so know if running or walking to current target)

Added ability to view replays at end of battle/replay, rather than routing player back to front-end then back into battle

Post-battle screens now appear for replays

Tweaks to main menu button animations

Fix for inconsistent naval crew-icons on ship cards between front-end/campaign and battle

Battle-lobby countdown timer moved so retainer panel not obscured

Tweaked UI banner-scaling (slightly smaller) and UI splines brought closer to ground (fire arcs, paths, etc)

Fixed cinematic borders not always being flush to edges of screen, resulting in gaps at top and bottom

Added UI to toggle auto-triggered abilities. Right-clicking on a supported ability button will toggle it to auto-trigger, where the AI will decide when to use the ability, in order to save the player some micro-management.

Chat-toggle button now hides all chat when currently visible rather than input, and button is highlighted when player has unread messages

Group number shortcuts are now rebindable

Moved pings to left-click rather than right-click for UI consistency

Realism mode changes: radar visible during deployment, morale visible on minimal tooltips



Fixed rare case where pre-battle camera would trigger too early if an agent or neutral army was between the attacker and the defender under certain circumstances.

Campaign variable "family_rounds_between_wife_offers" now also determines the earliest round a wife can be offered

Stopped generating movement extents for armies on the pre-battle screen

Fixed rare campaign lockup caused by an agent being forced out of its reserved area

Fixed very rare campaign lockup involving an ambush across a land bridge, where an agent or third party neutral army is between the acting army and the ambusher

Fixed multi-turn AI actions against the human player causing the game to drop out of speed-up mode even though the action will not complete that turn

Changed format of campaign height-map to reduce load time and significantly reduce memory usage

Fixed very rare crash caused by autosave saving an army in an incorrect order

Fixed bug when issuing orders to agents on navies against target agents in armies

Fixed trade-route tooltip which showed only one imported resource per route

Fixed a rare lockup caused by a successful agent action causing an army to move, whilst another army is also in motion under certain circumstances

Fixed rare crash when two multi-turn embark orders – to embark two different armies onto two different navies – resulted in an attempt to perform both embarks at the same port in the same turn

Fixed rare crash caused by the Daimyo's brother not being demoted from command of an army when the Daimyo dies while there is a superior general in the army

Fixed a few issues with commerce-raid value updates when merging and splitting raiding navies

Added information about when a diplomatic action would be considered dishonourable by other clans

Selecting an agent in an army now shows the agent’s movement extents.

Improved rope visuals on campaign map buildings

Fixed trade-route information not being updated when a port is damaged

Fixed obscure issue which prevented other factions’ movement extents showing if they had military access to player’s territory, but player did not have military access to theirs.

Modified several game areas to fail gracefully instead of crashing when loading incorrectly modded data

Various memory-usage optimisations

Fixed being able to get more than three agents in a city

Fixed unusual crash in pathfinder related to blockaded ports

Fixed crash in event-log system

Fixed crash when issuing an order to a previously merged army

Fixed crash related to capturing artillery

Fixed bug where reinforcement armies solely comprised of units that can't enter as reinforcements (such as artillery) were counted as reinforcements in pre-battle

Fixed bug where region ownership for unseen rebel regions was visible

Fixed bug where attrition-indicator showed on rebel banners when they weren't suffering attrition

Fixed crash when bribing cities that are under siege

Fixed issue with missing army-templates causing lockups

Fixed crash in sound tracker

Fixed crash in agent-options dialog

Fixed issue with ‘surrender imminent’ message

Fixed issue where certain melee and charge bonuses were not working correctly in battle

Fixed issue where shroud was updated many times when a Clan dies, causing some slowdown

Fixed unit exchange issue when in ports

Fixed issue where some characters destroyed in battle remained alive

Fixed issue where pre battle UI appeared in odd order when player was playing as AI in MPC

Fixed issue where campaign thought ships needed 0 crew to function

Fixed case where MPC players are forced to spectate an AI-vs-AI game

Fixed issue where MPC co-op allies received message that enemy is retreating when allies are retreating

Fixed issue where ambush cursor did not show for characters in garrisons

Fixed bug where a force would act on incorrect orders after capturing units

Fixed issue where recruited agents were unable to enter the settlement they were recruited from on the turn they were recruited

Fixed missing building name in ‘legendary building built’ event-log entry

Player now gets full spying information on a force after attacking it

Improved campaign experience-handling

Removed timer from certain battles to prevent exploit

Port selection marker is now centred around the flag

Armies now only get region-unrestricted replenishment in enemy regions

Tweaked some message events to be more informative

Various campaign load-time and memory usage optimisations

Reduced memory usage in front end startup process

Reduced campaign animations memory-usage

Improvements to campaign building-display resource usage

Fixed religion/allegiance zeal display in religion tooltips for more than two religions

Various mission bugs fixed

Fix to clear military crackdown repression on handover of region

Only primary generals now get full XP in battles; generals commanding reinforcements get reduced XP

Technology goal can be selected to guide auto-selection of next tech when research completes

Save games: compression and other size reductions to make files dramatically smaller; Steam Cloud support added



When units are climbing walls men can now fire their bows or guns when at the top of the walls while men in the same unit are still climbing

Movement arrow now appears when units are ordered onto positions on zones such as fort walls

Fixes for units not being able to fire at units behind fort walls in certain circumstances

Unit destination proxies (shown on space bar) now update when the game is paused

Fire arcs now only turn off when ‘fire at will’ is off and melee mode is enabled

Improvement to display of fire arc facing when defending a zone (e.g. on a fort wall)

Fix for not being able to turn off fire at will when defending a zone (e.g. on a fort wall)

AI unit shooting-line analysis tweaks

In siege battles where the AI is attacking, artillery can now deploy on multiple lines.

Units now change their tactic state more effectively if they are idle and under fire in siege battles (when AI is attacking)

Stopped units behind fort walls being unfavourably targeted by artillery

Fixed several fort-reinforcement AI bugs

Stopped units from being issued attack orders when they are climbing fort walls

Stopped units from prioritizing the capture of distant towers in siege battles

Fixed several bugs with idle cavalry during AI-attacking siege battles

Fixed bug where AI was unable to place units on a sensible fort approach

Fixed strange movement bugs in AI fort defence

Fixed rare crash-issue resulting from a scenario where the player enters a battle with no units because they are reinforcing another player, and all their units are artillery (which cannot be deployed as reinforcements)

The ‘last stand’ morale state, triggered when castle defenders are fighting to the death, now imposes penalties on ranged accuracy and reload rate

Battle AI is more likely to deploy cavalry on both of its flanks, allowing for greater opportunities when flanking and executing a double envelopment

Fixed an issue where naval reinforcements sometimes did not fully enter the map

Introduced a variety of improvements to the battlefield AI's use of outflanking and double envelopment manoeuvres, making these tactics more effective overall

Fixed a rare issue where some reinforcement units did not enter the battlefield because they were not correctly resized to avoid obstacles outside the playable area

Battle AI now performs a deeper analysis when it decides between walking and running, resulting in the AI moving more swiftly when appropriate and tiring its troops out less often

Fixed an issue where ships left a battle with incorrect experience data, causing them to gain experience prematurely

Fixed an issue in Battle AI which delayed its ability to move to a good defensive position outside its deployment zone once the battle starts

Fixed several issues in the way that the Battle AI assembles and holds a defensive line. The AI is less likely to reform when an enemy is near, and will be more stable when holding the line

Battle AI now does a better job of advancing a firing-front towards an enemy, by performing a more robust selection of a direction from which to attack

Mounted shooters now avoid shooting through friendly units before firing in the same way that infantry shooters do

The duration of the friendly-fire penalty has increased from 6 seconds to 30 seconds

When trying to set buildings alight, archers no longer continue to fire on buildings after their flaming arrows are spent

When a unit is within range of multiple friendly passive inspiration auras, it is now given a bonus equivalent to the largest single aura; the multiple auras do not stack. Previously only the commanding general's aura was ever applied


General multiplayer fixes

Fixed issue where a veteran unit could gain its statistics bonus prematurely during the battle, once enough experience points had been earned but before the end of the battle

Fixed issue where LAN server browser contained wrong information

Fixed some crashes with multiplayer

Improved chat-room population system

Fixed issue where battle voice was not working

Fix for rare case where land units could be taken into naval battle


MP abilities

Stand and fight: melee attack bonus reduced from 3 to 2

Standand Fight: reload bonus reduced from 10 to 5

Hold firm: melee defence bonus reduced from 6 to 3

Rally: morale bonus to non-routing units reduced from 2 to 1 (bonus for units already routing is unaffected)

Naval whistling Arrows duration halved

Special abilities for towers


MP unit caps

Kisho Ninja capped at 4 per army

Mounted Samurai capped at 3 per army


MP retainers

Infantry officer: +1 morale

Way of the Ikko-Ikki: +1 morale, +2 melee defence & +5% cost for monks and ashigaru

Rennyo's teachings: -1 melee attack, +3 melee defence all units

Stricken unholy forge: -1 armour to enemy melee troops

World-Weary: -1 morale (enemy veterans)

Shirabyoshi dancer: +1 morale (veterans), +5% cost (monks, nuns)

Naginata Warrior Monk Cavalry no longer affected by retainers affecting all monks, to bring them in line with their Samurai equivalents.


MP skills

Fire by rank: cost reduced from 250 to 120

Rapid Volley: cost reduced from 250 to 120


MP key buildings

Reduced morale bonus from Shrine


MP unit costs

Yari hero (decreased from 1200 to 1100)

Bow hero (decreased from 1500 to 1400)

Bow ashigaru (decreased from 450 to 400)

Matchlock ashigaru (decreased from 500 to 450)

Bulletproof samurai (decreased from 1000 to 950)

Nuns (decreased from 900 to 850)

Tetsubo monk hero (increased from 800 to 850)


The following brand new Fall of the Samurai maps will also be made available in Shogun 2:

Land battles:

Awa Ridge Pass

Gigu Crossing

Happo Ridge

Ishiyama Ruins

Iwaki Foothills

Jigokudani Valley

Kawabe River

Kurobe Gorge

Nishizawa Valley

Osaka Plain

Ubayu Onsen

Usui Pass


Naval battles:

Hokuriki Coast

Seto Inland Sea

Tohuku Sea

Tokai Coast

Tsugaru Straits

Sea of Japan


Siege battles:

Iburi Castle

Satsuma Castle

Uzen Fortress

Wakasa Fortress


EDIT: Additionally added fixes

Rally (land & naval)

Active time reduced to 60; recharge time reduced to 180


Hold firm

Range reduced to 30

Active time reduced to 30


Stand and Fight

recharge time increased to 45

PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to Total War studio boss on Steam Workshop mods: “we should be letting people do this”">Total War Shogun 2 Fall of the Samurai

For every Total War game, there are dozens of ambitious mods. Some, like Europa Barbarorum for Rome, overhaul the game to reflect the period in which it's set with a scholarly degree of historical accuracy. Others, like the Darth mods, prettify everything with a bundle of graphical updates tweak enemy AI to make the games more challenging.

Despite modders' enthusiasm for the series, the Total War games have never been especially easy to meddle with. If anything, they're getting harder to tweak. Is this a deliberate move to help sell more DLC by reducing fan-made alternatives? We asked Creative Assembly studio director Mike Simpson that very question.

"That isn’t the case. If anything, we tend towards: the more mod support, the more DLC you’ll sell," he said. "It has always been quite difficult to support mods quite well and it’s quite a lot of work, so we’d end up not doing something else."

The increasing complexity of the Total War engine will have made modding trickier, but it also makes creating user friendly mod tools more difficult on the development side, too. "We’ll do more," Simpson said. "We will do more."

We asked Mike Simpson if the team at Creative Assembly have been watching the launch of the Steam Workshop, and the explosion of TF2 and Skyrim mods that have resulted.

"Yeah, we’re looking at that as well. We should be letting people do this," he said. There’s no philosophical problem with modding at all."

"I can imagine situations where it might run into trouble if someone started to do a mod that happened to be the thing we were doing in the next game, then we’d be thinking do we really want to encourage that?" he added with a laugh.

The standalone expansion, Total War: Shogun 2 Fall of the Samurai, is coming out on Friday. It's good. Find out why in our Total War: Shogun 2 Fall of the Samurai review, and have a peek at our ten top tips to help you take back Japan. Hint: use guns. Lots of guns.
PC Gamer

Fall of the Samurai's new steamboats explode as you might expect when you consider the racks of torpedoes stored within those mighty hulls. The new steam ships and sturdy ironclads of the era are just a few of the powerful new weapons that standalone Shogun 2 expansion Fall of the Samurai brings to Japan. It's set 300 years after the events of Shogun 2, at a time of rapid modernisation triggered by the arrival of boisterous Western traders from America, Britain and France. The rising number of foreign troops and advanced technology would grow to infuriate the traditionalist samurai classes leading to unrest and eventually, full-scale uprising.

As leader of a pro-imperial or pro-shogunate faction, you'll have to deal with these rebellions, ideally by using the devastating new gatling guns. Plonk one on a hill in front of a unit of swordsmen, halve the game speed and you'll get something akin to the final scenes of The Last Samurai. A fitting way to crush one's enemies. Fall of the Samurai is due to drop on March 23, check out our Fall of the Samurai preview for a detailed overview.
PC Gamer

Total War's biggest expansion will also feature their most modern setting to date. That doesn't mean that we'll lose out on cavalry charges and mass infantry melee, though. Japan's traditionalist forces will put the art of war to the test against new threats like long-range artillery, gatling guns and well-drilled ranks of gunmen. Each of the six new factions will be fighting for or against the Shogunate. Your role as the leader of one of those factions will be to push Japan in one direction or the other, ideally by creating an army that consists entirely of horses and rampaging them from one end of the country to the other, trampling the enemy underhoof. Horses FTW.

Fall of the Samurai is a standalone expansion, so you won't need a copy of Shogun 2 to play it. The expansion is due out on March 23. Which side will you take?
PC Gamer

Which are better, guns, or bows and arrows? Guns, of course, you might think, but then you have to consider the long reload times, their tendency to explode, their unreliability in wet conditions. These are some of the issues that Total War lead designer James Russell and the team at The Creative Assembly think about every day as they balance the clash of old and new weaponry in Fall of the Samurai.

"Bows can be better than guns in the hands of a skilled user" says Russell. "If you fire arrows more frequently than you a fire a gun it can be more lethal. It's not direct fire, you can fire above, and behind a rank of guns in front of you."

But then there's the cost of teaching men to wield a bow effectively. It can take years of training and strong arms to fire a bow effectively. A unit of marksmen can be taught to use guns in weeks. A big advantage. The improving technology and craftmanship also made guns a tempting option.

"This is the era where the guns start to become more effective than bows," Russell says. "The effective ranges start to become greater. This is the last hurrah of archery, guns are really taking over."

In Fall of the Samurai you can choose to embrace the new gunpowder weaponry being brought into Japan from the West, or you can fight for the Shogunate and try to save the Samurai, and find out once and for all whether bows can beat an army of gatling guns and rifles. The standalone expansion is out on March 23.

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