Shacknews - Steve Watts

Total War: Shogun 2 has been out for a few years now, but if you missed the boat or have just been holding out for a good deal, you may want to mark your calendars for March. Sega is releasing a "Gold Edition" that bundles the game and two of its expansion packs.

The package will include the "Rise of the Samurai" and "Fall of the Samurai" expansions in North America. If you happen to live in Europe, your Gold version includes everything but the Blood Pack, making it the more attractive of the two. Both the game and its expansions got positive receptions.

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

For the first time in over a decade of the Total War series, developer The Creative Assembly has released an official editor to let players create their own battlefields. The delightfully-named TEd, Total War Editor, is available now for Total War: Shogun 2 and its expandalone and its expandalone Fall of the Samurai.

Playing god with friendly old TEd, you can sculpt the terrain then populate your creations with props from trees to railway lines. If you're determined and inventive enough, yes, you probably can make de_dust. You can play your levels in custom AI battles or in multiplayer, where they're automatically shared with the other player.

"Total War has enjoyed a strong and dedicated modding community down the years, and we want to do more to support that," TW brand director Rob Bartholomew said in the announcement. "With TEd at their fingertips, we're expecting to see new battle-maps for Shogun 2 that will equal our own in popularity."

If you own Shogun 2 or Fall of the Samurai, you should find TEd in your Tools tab on Steam.

PC Gamer
Notch Total War
As reported on Eurogamer, Creative Assembly are doing their best to get Notch motion captured for their next Total War game. Where/when/how/why is this happening? That's still something of a mystery. Motion capture is a hot topic on PC Gamer today. Even horses are at it.

Earlier today Creative Assembly sent Notch a tweet, saying "Hey Notch. How would you like to be in the next Total War game?"

Notch replied: "It's going to feature fat guys sitting around a lot and grunting when they finally do stand up?" before confirming his interest: "'cause if it does, I'm DOWN! YEAH!! Assuming schedule works out and all that. When? Where? How?"

Since those tweets, Community man at Creative Assembly, Craig Laylock has shed some light into the invite: "I love that he enjoys making games for the fun of making good games. That's what it's all about."

Notch is the hatted creator of Minecraft. We'll have more on the Total War/Notch collaboration as and when it breaks.
Shacknews - Steve Watts

Sega is cross-marketing its Total War games, by letting you download a free pack in Total War: Shogun 2 by playing the iOS title, Total War Battles: Shogun. Upon completing the campaign in the mobile game, you'll get a key-code to download the Sendai Clan Pack for Shogun 2 via Steam.

Playing as the Sendai in Shogun 2 gives you a few stat adjustments; you'll get +10 to diplomatic relations and a 2-turn reduction time surrendering castles, plus -1 resistance to occupation and -3 unhappiness from differences of allegiance. Not a bad trade-off as a free giveaway for finishing the mobile title.

Finally, the iOS game will be adding a skirmish mode sometime soon. This will let you pick a difficulty level and go straight into battle, complete with the full roster from the campaign mode and new legendary units. So once you have finished the campaign and cashed in your free DLC, you can keep battling without all that story getting in the way of the bloodshed.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Sega has announced an iOS spin-off of its popular Total War: Shogun 2 title for PC. The mobile strategy game is called Total War Battles: Shogun. It's set to launch on April 19, and is being developed in-house by The Creative Assembly, the same studio that handled the PC title.

The game was built explicitly for the devices, and packs in a full campaign and a two-player mode. The battle system has been simplified a bit for the touch devices, but still relies on real-time strategy mechanics.

You'll be gathering resources, building structures, gaining experience, upgrading your troops, and attacking enemies on a hex grid, all with finger swipes and taps. The campaign is roughly 10 hours long. When you take on multiplayer, each of you will claim one side of the tablet and send units to attack your opponent. Creative Assembly is planning regular content updates after launch.

PC Gamer

Shogun 2: Total War’s standalone expansion will let you play online with existing Shogun 2 players, even if they haven't bought it. Whether you’ve discovered Fall of the Samurai’s trains, gatling guns and cannons or not, you’ll still be able to compete online with swords and muskets.

“One of the things that we made sure of with Fall of the Samurai is that we didn't split the online community”, says James Russell, Lead Designer on the series. Players without Fall of the Samurai can play against people with the expansion. That's really important to us. We want to make sure that people who buy the new game can play against the guys playing Shogun 2.

James stressed that maintaining context during the online battles is still a priority for Creative Assembly.

“Total War - particularly the campaign side - is a very unique, thoughtful, deep experience that we want to maintain. We definitely want to keep Total War as an immersive experience even though we want to create multiplayer battles that you can get in and out of quickly, and have fun if you’ve only got half and hour.”

"We have lots of plans to make multiplayer into a more compelling experience,” continued Jamie.

Shogun 2: Total War was the most multiplayer-focused game in the franchise so far, bringing a co-op campaign and fully-featured online component to the franchise. Yesterday we also chatted to James Russell about how the team juggle historical accuracy with a need for balance and sensible mechanics.

For more on Rise of the Samurai, watch part one of our exclusive interview or read Tim Stone’s in-depth feature in PC Gamer issue 236.
PC Gamer

"We've got a huge pile of options we'd love to set the game in," says James Russell, Lead Designer of the Total War series. And we can't wait to see them happen. With three games in Steam's top 20 most played, it seems PC Gamers can't get enough of Creative Assembly's franchise. Probably because it's consistently great. Watch the video above for more from the closest thing Creative Assembly have to their own general.

Standalone Shogun 2 expansion, Fall of the Samurai, is due in March. It's going to be noisy, bloody and brutal. We're talking cannons, gatling guns, repeating rifles and spears: all being used against squishy human/horse flesh. The expansion will be set during a time of modernisation that marked Japan's transition into an industrial state 300 years after Shogun 2's campaign.

For more on Shogun 2's latest expansion, check back tomorrow or pick up a copy of PC Gamer 236, where you can read Tim Stone's in-depth feature.

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

As you can't have a proper samurai showdown without absurd arterial spray and dismemberment, The Creative Assembly has released a new Total War: Shogun 2 downloadable content pack which amps up the bloodletting to the requisite level. If you'd rather be a sneaky ninja, though, the Hattori clan previously exclusive to the Shogun 2 Limited Edition is now sold separately.

For $1.59, the Blood Pack adds gruesome new animations and effects. Units can be decapitated or have their limbs severed, squirt blood when hit, get drenched in blood, splat on the ground, and generally make a lovely mess. The DLC actually has a higher rating than the base game, so you'll need to be a proper grown-up to buy it.

The $4.99 Hattori Clan Pack, meanwhile, lets you be the sneaky Hattori, described as "masters of the shadowy arts of assassination and bribery," in both single-player and multiplayer. It also packs a new battle scenario, based upon historical events, plus snazzy armor and an XP boost for your General's avatar.

The Creative Assembly is working on a standalone expansion for Shogun 2, Fall of the Samurai.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

What goes up must come down. And now that we've had the Rise of the Samurai expansion for Total War: Shogun 2, it's only natural that we get the newly announced "Fall of the Samurai" expansion as well. It will focus on the clash between the Imperial throne and the last Shogunate in the 19th century, when samurai culture met modern weaponry. As the name implies, it didn't end well.

The announcement on the Sega Blog calls it "significantly larger" than anything else produced for the game. It will bring in America, Britain, and France as new threats in a civil war, along with six playable clans.

New features include railway networks, ironclad warships, improved siege battle mechanics, new land and sea unit interactions, the ability to call offshore artillery, and coastal gun emplacements. You can also access three new agent types: Foreign Veteran, Ishin Shishi, and Shinsengumi.

Multiplayer will introduce a new Conquest map, with a new avatar that includes 40 retainers, 30 armor pieces, and a 19th century skill tree. Players can also use multiple avatars now, to create multiple careers across the game and its expansion.

The standalone expansion is due in March of 2012.

PC Gamer
Total War Shogun 2 - Rise of the Samurai
Ten new screenshots have arrived for the Rise of the Samurai DLC that was announced yesterday for Total War: Shogun 2. The pack is also available to pre-order now on Steam for £5.99 / $9.99. The DLC adds a new campaign set 400 years before the standard Shogun 2 single player mode, and features six new factions, dozens of new units, four new agents, and lots more. See the new screenshots below. Rise of the Samurai is due out next month.


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