Total War: Three Kingdoms

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Total War: Three Kingdoms is Creative Assembly's 12th major release in the Total War Series, set in ancient China in the Three Kingdoms period, it will start in 190 AD. The game will use the 64-bit Warscape Engine that was developed for Total War: Warhammer. The game was due out for Microsoft Windows on March 7, 2019, and Feral Interactive had announced that the game would be released for macOS and Linux shortly afterwards. The game launch has recently been postponed from 7 March to 23 May, 2019, see here for CA's explanation.


[edit] Overview

Whilst still featuring the turn-based strategy, factions, campaign and battle-map play familiar from older games in the series, Three Kingdoms aims to be more 'character focused'. Diplomacy has been re-worked and becomes a more important part of the game, relationships between characters are described as 'Guanxi' after the Chinese concept.

PLEASE NOTE: The details in this article are based on pre-release previews and reviews and may be subject to change.

[edit] Play Modes

Total War: Three Kingdoms will introduce two different modes of campaign play, a 'Classic' version based on the Records of the Three Kingdoms which aims for greater historical accuracy, and a new 'Romance Mode' based on the novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms which portrays generals and faction leaders as powerful heroes with special powers.

[edit] Campaign Map

CA's Sun Jian trailer showed views of the campaign map albeit with 'in-engine' shots and not 'in-game'. The trailer includes this zoomed out view of the campaign map: 3kcampaignmap.png

Invicta Gaming has released an interesting analysis of the trailer here which includes comparisons to real-world maps and comments on the differences/similarities to previous game maps.

[edit] Warlords

Generals and leaders seem set to be more important than in older titles, and the game will include the ability for the traits and abilities of up to three generals to be used in one army.

Biographical and playstyle details have been released of the eleven legendary warlords you will be able to play as. See full details here.

zoner16 on TWC has provided in-depth descriptions of the historical characters of the time see here.

[edit] Cao Cao

In Game;

  • Hero Class: Commander
  • Start Position: Chen - a central position south of the Yellow River.
  • Initial Dilemma: To ride to war and avenge his father's death or to build an empire first.

In History;

  • Clan: The Cao Clan of Qiao
  • Style Name: Mengde
  • Positions: Chancellor of State, King of Wei, Emperor Wu of Wei (posthumously)
  • Wikipedia Biography

In Romance of the Three Kingdoms;

Portrayed as a cruel and suspicious villain.

[edit] Gongsun Zan

In Game;

  • Hero Class: Vanguard
  • Start Position: Youbeiping - defensible position to the north.
  • Initial Dilemma: Attack Liu Yu, or ally with him to attack Han Fu.

In History;

  • Clan: The Gongsun Clan of Youbeiping
  • Style Name: Bogui
  • Positions: Inspector of You Province(self-appointed), General, Marquis of Yi.
  • Wikipedia Biography

In Romance of the Three Kingdoms;

Leads elite cavalry unit, the White Riders.
Joins coalition against Dong Zhou.
Declares war on Yuan Shao for killing his younger brother.

[edit] Kong Rong

In Game;

  • Hero Class: Strategist
  • Start Position: Beihai
  • Initial Dilemma: How to use a 'great warrior' who offers his services.

In History;

  • Clan: The Kong Clan of Beihai
  • Style Name: Wenju
  • Positions: Minister Steward, Palace Counselor, Court Architect, Chancellor of Beihai
  • Wikipedia Biography

[edit] Liu Bei

In Game;

  • Hero Class: Commander
  • Start Position: Dong Province
  • Initial Dilemma: To help Tai Qian in his fights against Cao Cao or remain neutral.

In History;

  • Clan: The Liu Clan of Zhuo
  • Style Name: Xuande
  • Positions: General of the Left, Emperor Zhaolie of Han
  • Wikipedia Biography

In Romance of the Three Kingdoms;

Portrayed as a compassionate and righteous leader, endowed with charismatic potency.
Wields a pair of double-edged swords called shuang gu jian.

[edit] Liu Biao

In Game;

  • Hero Class: Commander
  • Start Position: Xiangyang
  • Initial Dilemma: Agree to help Yuan Shao against Sun Jian and Yuan Shu, or ignore Yuan Shao's request.

In History;

  • Clan: The Liu Clan of Xiangyang
  • Style Name: Jingsheng
  • Positions: General Who Guards the South and Governor of Jing, Marquis of Chengwu
  • Wikipedia Biography

[edit] Ma Teng

In Game;

  • Hero Class: Vanguard
  • Start Position: Wudu - in the west.
  • Initial Dilemma: Whether to engage in the civil war between the separatist and loyalist remains of Dong Zhuo's faction.

In History;

  • Clan: The Ma Clan of Liang
  • Style Name: Shoucheng
  • Positions: Commandant of the Guards, Marquis of Huaili
  • Wikipedia Biography

In Romance of the Three Kingdoms;

Portrayed as a loyalist of the declining Han dynasty.
Participates in plots to assassinate Cao Cao.

[edit] Yuan Shu

In Game;

  • Hero Class: Commander
  • Start Position: Nayang - surrounded by powerful warlords.
  • Initial Dilemma: Whether to help Sun Jian by declaring war on Liu Biao or stay neutral.

In History;

  • Clan: The Yuan Clan of Shouchun
  • Style Name: Gonglu
  • Positions: General of the Left and Governor of Yang, Marquis of Yangzhai
  • Wikipedia Biography

[edit] Yuan Shao

In Game;

  • Hero Class: Commander
  • Start Position: Wei - relatively safe area with farmlands.
  • Initial Dilemma: Whether to help Gongsun Zan against Han Fu, or give Han Fu refuge in exchange for his lands.

In History;

  • Clan: The Yuan Clan of Ye
  • Style Name: Benchu
  • Positions: General-in-Chief, Marquis of Ye
  • Wikipedia Biography

[edit] Zhang Yan

In Game;

  • Hero Class: Champion
  • Start Position: Yanman - in the far northern mountains.
  • Initial Dilemma: Whether to attack Yuan Shao's lands first or northern bandits.

In History;

  • Clan: The Heishan Bandits
  • Positions: General Who Brings Peace to the North, Marquis of Anguo
  • Wikipedia Biography

[edit] Zheng Jiang

In Game;

  • Hero Class: Champion
  • Start Position: Taiyuan - remote area in the mountains to the north-west.
  • Initial Dilemma: Whether to join with Zhang Yan or attack him.

In History;

  • Clan: The Zheng Bandits
  • From zoner16's post: Mentioned only in passing in the biography of Zhuo Xuan, who was an official and something of a soothsayer in the Wei court, the women bandits Zheng and Jiang were executed in Dongping sometime after a local official, Liu Zhen, had a dream about a snake growing four legs and burrowing into a gate. Zhuo Xuan foretold their deaths based on the fact that the snake was the auspicious sign of a woman, yet legs are not something a snake should have, therefore the women who were being bandits and upsetting the order of things would be killed.

[edit] Sun Jian

In Game;

  • Hero Class: Sentinel
  • Start Position: Jiangling in enemy lands - homeland is Changsha to the south.
  • Initial Dilemma: Whether to give Liu Biao the Imperial Seal he has requested or decline and make him an enemy.

In History;

  • Clan: The Sun Clan of Wu
  • Style Name: Wentai
  • Positions: Inspector of Yu Province, General Who Routs the Caitiffs, Marquis of Wucheng, Emperor Wulie of Wu (posthumously)
  • Wikipedia Biography

In Romance of the Three Kingdoms;

In the coalition against Dong Zhuo.
Escaped from a battle by giving his distinctive red scarf to Zu Mao
Attempted to keep the Imperial Seal for himself.
Killed in Jing Province after losing a battle against Liu Biao.

[edit] Dong Zhuo

In Game;

  • Hero Class: Vanguard
  • Start Position: Chang'an, west of the defensible mountain passes.
  • Initial Dilemma: A series of decisions, dependent on Romance or Records mode -
    • Romance: Conflict over the courtesan Diaochan with Lu Bu.
    • Records: Conflict with Lu Bu over personal differences and the machinations of the minister Wang Yun.
  • Note: Dong Zhuo is not playable until the player either defeats his army in battle or they reach the rank of Emperor in the Grand Campaign.

In History;

  • Clan: The Dong Clan of Liang
  • Style Name: Zhongying
  • Positions: Grand Master, Marquis of Mei
  • Wikipedia Biography

[edit] Diplomacy

Diplomacy has been re-worked and is intended to be a more important part of the game introducing concepts such as 'obligations, reciprocity, and trust'.

CA have released information about the new system in two blog posts, Part 1 and Part 2, with accompanying videos, Part 1 and Part 2. They claim Three Kingdoms "marks the single most significant redesign of the system in Total War’s history" with the diplomacy model and AI rewritten from scratch.

Vassal status has been expanded with new possible benefits from either owning vassals or allowing your faction to become a vassal of a more powerful faction.

A new diplomatic status has been introduced, 'coalitions' are now possible as well as the usual alliances. Coalitions being easier to enter and less binding on the parties involved. Both coalitions and alliances establish 'friendly territory' that can ease supply and attrition problems.

Region trading has been re-introduced as another possible diplomatic tool alongside food and financial trades.

Discuss the new information on diplomacy on TWC here.

[edit] Reviews

Reviews so far have been intriguing with PCGamer describing it as 'ambitious, beautiful and confusing'.

Three Kingdoms Cover Art

[edit] System Requirements & Release Details

Total War: Three Kingdoms is already available for pre-order. The game is now expected to launch for Microsoft Windows on May 23, 2019, with Feral Interactive releasing the game for macOS and Linux systems afterwards.

System requirements/recommendations haven't been released yet.

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