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Thread: After Warhammer

  1. #1
    Huberto's Avatar Praepositus
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    Default After Warhammer

    Now that WH3 has been announced and a release date projected (September 2021), I'm wondering about the direction of TW beyond that. For purposes of this discussion I want to avoid the usual focus on the setting of the unannounced title and instead ponder:

    Will they make a historical title without single hero units?
    Will the post-WH title come with a new engine?
    Will it use the same twenty unit army stack system?
    Any reason to suspect there will be major innovations in battles beyond the hero focus of recent games like 3K and Troy?
    Return to multiplayer features like Avatar Conquest in Shogun 2?
    Will it have naval combat?
    Other new game play features?
    When will it be released?

    I'm not getting my hopes up for better quality battles and innovation going forward. I am definitely of the opinion that TW Warhammer subbed variety and animations at expense of strategy features and good game play, but obviously it's successful so maybe they simply run with that and try to grow their base in fantasy and East Asia.

  2. #2
    Abdülmecid I's Avatar ¡Ay Carmela!
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    Default Re: After Warhammer

    I think historical Total War is dead for the foreseeable future. Fantasy seems to sell more (or at least that's what Creative Assembly believes*) and there's a clear shift towards that direction. It's not just Warhammer. Three Kingdoms featured two modes, but data shows that Romance is more popular than Records. That's also reflected in Troy, which didn't even offer a more realistic alternative for the historically-minded fans. Legendary lords with near-magical abilities were the only available option. That comment from Will back in 2015 hasn't aged very well. The next tent-pole game will be, in my opinion, either Warhammer 40K or Total War: Age of Mythology, something like Troy, but with many more civilisations, not just Greeks, including monsters and magic.

    -Maybe never. At least not until fantasy has been exhausted. There's a chance for a Saga game, but it's still unlikely and their limited budget and scope doesn't particularly excite me.
    -Doubtful. The Evolution-Revolution model has long been abandoned. It's the same engine since Empire and I don't see CA actually ditching it, as long as it keeps working (even with bugs and several restrictions).
    -It's now 18 + 3 legendary lords. It could change, but don't hope for an increase in the total number of units allowed.
    -It depends on what you mean by major innovations. CA loves to introduce new features that look spectacular in pre-release material. Some of them, like naval battles in Empire, were welcome, but others were indifferent (naval bombardment in Fall of the Samurais), controversial (duels in Three Kingdoms) or outright catastrophic (amphibious battles in Rome II, they caused a myriad of problems and are largely responsible for the disastrous state of the game in 2013). So, new features will be introduced, but I wouldn't expect something a bit more nuanced than a reconstruction of Saving Private Ryan "Carthage-style". No hope for issuing orders beforehand, for example, and then observe the battle unfold depending on your commands and your opponent's reaction.
    -That's possible. There's quite a lot of money in the multiplayer community, so I'm surprised that CA hasn't invested more there. I think they mistake the dissapointing figures of Steam for lack of interest, instead of the result of their poor implementation.
    -Nope, that ship has sailed. CA has used a variety of excuses (some of them contradictory) to justify their removal. Historical accuracy (oh, the irony), lack of large bodies of water etc., but they were only honest in Warhammer II, when they admitted that they simply refused to spend resources in a feature, whose removal was not very passionately objected by the community. The fans here bare a lot of responsibility. Instead of defending the retailer's perspective, they should have also protested for their interests. Reddit's mob mentality played a very negative role on this regard. Only chance for the return of naval warfare would be with Empire 2, but that's a very, very distant scenario.

    Overall, the picture is a bit fleak for those not interested in fantasy. That's normal, it also happened when the franchise took a more "casual" policy with Empire and especially Shogun II and Rome II. Several of the older fans were alienated, but they later got used to either losing interest in Total War or simply playing the older titles. For my part, I am quite satisfied. I play Darthmod in Empire/Napoleon and modded/vanilla Rome I and Medieval II. The modding scene is still alive, so their wealth can never be exhausted. I'm currently immersed in a campaign as Sassanid Persia in the Ruina Romae mod for Rome I, so who cares about the future? Besides, I get to keep my wallet intact!

    *Largely, this is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If Total War keeps catering to fantasy enthusiasts for a considerable amount of time, the demographics will change accordingly and CA will be essentially forced to continue on this path.

  3. #3
    Leonardo's Avatar Reborn Old Timer
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    Default Re: After Warhammer

    I think we need to wait to see what CA does, otherwise it is pointless to even try to speculate. But should CA decide to ditch the warscape engine then we can start to speculate what kind of a game title they will create.

    If that happen we can also discuss what engine that's gonna to replace the current engine and what new features it would have.
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  4. #4
    Seether's Avatar RoTK Workhorse
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    Default Re: After Warhammer

    Quote Originally Posted by Abdülmecid I View Post
    Three Kingdoms featured two modes, but data shows that Romance is more popular than Records.
    Don’t forget that CA completely abandoned supporting Records mode months ago.
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  5. #5
    Huberto's Avatar Praepositus
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    Default Re: After Warhammer

    Setting the question of the engine aside for a moment, if they don't focus their major effort on making the battles better, I don't see how they do another historical title unless they just put something out like a Saga title. The fantasy setting allows them to side-step the battles and focus on single entity combat decided by spells and clicks. OTOH one could argue the only way CA can make the battles better is to overhaul the engine.

  6. #6

    Default Re: After Warhammer

    Saga titles are the optimal opportunity in my mind to try out an engine; the partial flop from being new is inevitable, and you might as well get on your feet with a smaller workload and make the big ambitious package with something that's actually been tested.

  7. #7
    Leonardo's Avatar Reborn Old Timer
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    Default Re: After Warhammer

    Quote Originally Posted by Huberto View Post
    Setting the question of the engine aside for a moment, if they don't focus their major effort on making the battles better, I don't see how they do another historical title unless they just put something out like a Saga title. The fantasy setting allows them to side-step the battles and focus on single entity combat decided by spells and clicks. OTOH one could argue the only way CA can make the battles better is to overhaul the engine.
    Right, if they are gonna to accomplish that they definitely need to scrap the current engine and replace it with something a lot better than the Warscape engine, which hasn't aged well with the release of ETW in mid March 2009.

    Although, CA actually did some improvements for NTW and S2TW, but that's about it.
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  8. #8
    Mhaedros's Avatar Brave Heart Tegan
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    Default Re: After Warhammer

    I'd be extremely surprised if we don't see Medieval 3 in the next couple of years to be honest.

    Obviously their main focus has been Warhammer for a long time now that it feels like the historical settings have been forgotten about. 3 kingdoms and Troy, while based on historical events and characters (well, 3K anyway, Troy can be argued I guess), are probably more widely known for their fantastical and romanticized elements so from a marketing point of view it makes sense to sell them on that premise, and from a development point of view you simply can't create two entirely different versions of the same game; they tried it with 3K, but the records mode just wasn't popular, and the budget and team size for Troy (being a smaller project from the start) was probably nowhere near what would've been required to make both versions justice.

    That brings us back to Med3, CA has been doing a lot of different stuff for the past 5 years with varying degrees of history behind it, but they know the historical settings still sell. It's not like all the old fans stopped being interested in history just because of WH, and it's not like the new fans who came to the series because of WH hate anything historical just because that was their entryway to the series. Med3 is probably their most anticipated sequel from the older games, Medieval 2 is the game that has aged the most without receiving an update and I daresay people would be as excited for it as they were with the revent announcement of Warhammer 3.

    So the Warhammer team will release WH3 this year, then move on to (probably) another fantasy project, the CA Sofia team have probably begun development on a new Saga game, and the historical team (that released Three Kingdoms nearly 2 years ago now) are probably in full production on the next historical game, which will release in 2022 or 2023 depending on if they squeaze the next Saga game in between or not (I look forward to foolishly coming back to this post in 5 years when we've had a full Warhammer 40k trilogy and they have just announced the reboot of Total Warhammer fantasy...)
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  9. #9
    Abdülmecid I's Avatar ¡Ay Carmela!
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    Default Re: After Warhammer

    You are overestimating the number of teams, the supposed simultaneous existence of a historical and a fantasy team is just a marketing slogan, but with little basis on reality. I remember people seriously believing that the next historical title (following Attila) was going to be released in late 2017. They even mistook the teaser for Warhammer II (lizzard pyramids) for a subtle reference to the Spanish conquest of Mexico. In reality, Three Kingdoms was released 4 years after Attila and Warhammer III exactly 4 years (what a coincidence, it's almost if there's a pattern!) after Warhammer II, despite the alleged coexistence of multiple teams...

    Best case scenario, historical and fantasy teams technically coexist, in the sense that, right now, there is a handful of guys brainstorming over the next title. More likely, in certain years (like 2016), the historical team was complete fantasy and nobody worked on anything. The alleged existence of multiple teams is just a PR excuse to placate the fans that may not appreciate the current trend (fantasy ones in 2018/2019 and historical ones in 2015-2017). Darren (a former employee of Creative Assembly) had talked about the tactic of dropping an unverifiable and completely misleading statement, which functions like ammunition for censoring criticism. I believe his example was about how the AI was supposed to excel in the simplified city layouts in Warhammer, which the fans naively swallowed it, despite being complete bullocks. But it's a very common practice, I also remember that Attila was planned for future graphics cards and was definitely not just poorly optimised...

    Anyway, multiple teams of significant size are unbelievable, because that would mean an unnecessary increase in expenses, especially since productivity has not grown proportionately. My guess is that right now the vast majority of CA's staff is busy with Warhammer III, with a few being dedicated to lord packs for Warhammer II and Three Kingdoms. Once Warhammer III is released, the divide will be between the DLC team for Warhammer III, a small number of people focused on Three Kingdoms and the majority being dedicated to the next tent-pole title (to be released in 2023), historical or fatnasy. The current trend points towards the latter. This estimation is not pure speculation. A CA employee accidentally revealed in the official forums that they refer to Troy as the "historical prject" to differentiate it from the rest of their products, meaning that no historical game is actually on the works.

  10. #10
    Mhaedros's Avatar Brave Heart Tegan
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    Default Re: After Warhammer

    Good points there, and to be clear when I talk about fantasy and historical teams (and wherever CA Sofia fits inbetween those two), that obviously doesn't tell the whole truth; in different stages of development different numbers of people will be required for different tasks, so moving people between "teams" is obviously commonplace as different projects reach different stages of development and needs shift.

    My point is rather that there most likely is now pre-production for another historical game, and that after the release of WH3 resources will be shifted for that project to go into full production while other parts of the company keep up maintenance and new content creation for WH. It's less about static teams only working on only one thing each, and more about logistics; after the concept art for WH3 is done, the concept artists will naturally start working on another project in another stage of development than the one they just finished.

    And to the fair, the next historical game after Attila was released in 2018; Thrones of Brittania. It was smaller scope, badly received and very much a testing ground for a new business model, but it still counts.

    Now the last part is harder to argue with, and obviously we can't know what CA are planning, but I think the comment about Troy more refers to the fact that "historical fans have had 3 games since the last WH" (which obviously is a silly take on the whole topic). That in itself doesn't say anything about what will happen in a post Warhammer trilogy world, and since we've had either a Saga or a mainline TW game yearly now since..I want to say 2014, I don't see how they don't have *something* in development for 2022, whether it's a Saga game, something similar to what Attila and Napoleon were to Rome 2 and Empire but for 3K or indeed something completely different. Basically I'm just not sold on the fact that historical would be dead yet
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  11. #11
    Abdülmecid I's Avatar ¡Ay Carmela!
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    Default Re: After Warhammer

    Right, I had forgot about Throb. Throb was not an experiment (that was only brought up once Throb failed to meet up its expectations, in order to minimise the impact of the game's mediocre performance), since never would a company with the calibre of SEGA/CA would release a paid product just for testing waters. There are specialised teams inside CA for that purpose, as well as hundreds of "volunteer" beta-testers, who play the game and then make suggestions about possible improvement. The reason I don't take Throb into account is its minimal scope, the game was essentially a campaign pack for Attila in all but name. Charlemagne in fact was probably more ambitious in scope and assets.

    Anyway, no doubt about the game for 2022 already being planned, but it's not going to be a tent-pole title. I suppose it will either be a third Saga or a minor expansion for Three Kingdoms. CA's annual pattern of release relies on alternating the releases of tent-pole products with more modest expansions. If Warhammer III is released late in 2021, there's a chance that there will be nothing in 2022, similarly to the gap of 2014 (although that was mainly the result of Rome II's sorry state). To sum up, the next tent-pole title could be historical (although very unlikely, in my opinion), but serious thought on it will only be put after Warhammer III's release.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: After Warhammer

    Fair enough; 2023 it is!
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  13. #13
    Huberto's Avatar Praepositus
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    Default Re: After Warhammer

    If they follow Warhammer with another fantasy tentpole, I think they are in essence giving up on historical games, which would be at first glance a strange move, given history is where they cut their teeth and the popularity of historically themed strategy games.

    However with Warhammer and 3K they've gotten free of the audience they had previously and it's just as likely that they ride that wave to a non-historical or light historical theme, like King Arthur I'm not sure how conscious this strategy was, we heard Alan Simpson tell noclip he thought most of the old audience followed CA to Warhammer, but there have been fractures as well (e.g. the dislikes for the WH2 announcement trailer for example). I think this is exactly why Jack L. got to do ThroB, but after it bombed they just gave up.

    In any event, Warhammer 2 has given them a viable DLC focused business model that probably puts the profits from S2, 3K and TWR2 to shame. Also it's interesting to note that Warhammer 3 pre-orders sit atop Steam's sales chart for China, at least according to this. I don't think a major effort like Medieval 3 or Empire 2 or Victoria would do well in China and they likely want to catch that market while it's hot. More likely we will see Chinese tastes influence Total War or whatever CA does in the medium term.

    Perhaps they will do a star wars epic or their own IP set in space, or a 40K. As of yet, I don't feel their interest in doing the hard work of historical real time battles, they have built an AI for something more light-hearted and the quality of battles in ToB, 3K, and Troy speaks volumes about where the focus is.

    Best guess is 2023 is the release date of the next tent pole, assuming no major technical difficulties with WH3. Sure, I could see another trashy Saga title in 2022.
    Last edited by Huberto; February 08, 2021 at 10:28 PM.

  14. #14
    Daruwind's Avatar Citizen
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    Default Re: After Warhammer

    I fully agree with @Mhaedros, don´t think about teams as riggid structures. Naturally engine guys are doing engine part, while artist or preproduction research is preparing theirs.

    For example right now Sofia studio is probably working already on next Saga while just part of team is preparing rest of Troy DLCs and Steam launch in summer. Teams doing DLCs are small part in comparison to main teams doing main games.

    About historical games. Just to recap. R2 got bad launch, it got better especially lately with "additional" DLCs, Attila numbers are still marked by players boycott, ToB sold miserably. Surely CA played a big part in it but from statistical/marketing point of view....compare it with fantasy. Wh1-2-3 success, 3K great success in China, Troy, great sales in Epic so far Wh3 is launching there as well. No matter what we can say about those games...So it seems more safe to do fantasy oriented games plus influx of new players was incredible up to now. But it seems the stuff selling in China is very limited and sooner or later CA will have to produce something new.

    R2 - 2013
    Attila - 2015
    Wh1 - 2016
    Wh2 - 2017
    ToB - 2018
    3K - 2019
    Troy - 2020
    Wh3 - 2021
    next saga - 2022
    next tent-pole - 2023

    At least plans for next Saga game are probably already locked in, next tent-pole very much probably too. Especially if we are talking about getting any license. CA probably is brainstorming how to keep not just history fans but especially new guys. After Wh...Witcher, GoT..those are not so popular setting. Creating one is hard way, especially as there are no fans for such setting. Warcraft, Tolkien, those are in my eyes setting making the most sense. Not saying they will happen. Just saying that CA right now can put on table Wh1-2-3 and their success. Of course 30/40K might happen too but that would be yet another great leap similar to jump from historical to fantasy setting.

    But i would not think about pure history as dead for TW. It will just take time, sooner or later CA will need change to keep drive in similar way they went from historical to Warhammer. Med3, Rome3, Victoria....

    And about the engine part of discussion. I would like new engine too just i would keep in mind that ANY new engine from get go won´t be 100% superior and bug free. It will take time before we will see new one. More likely we will see itteration of current one.
    DMR: (R2) (Attila) (ToB) (Wh1/2) (3K) (Troy)

  15. #15
    Abdülmecid I's Avatar ¡Ay Carmela!
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    Default Re: After Warhammer

    According to Darren, who worked in CA's marketing department at the time, the percentage of Rome II owners who also purchased Warhammer I was below their expectations. Warhammer II was even less successful than its predecessor in pre-orders, presumably because quite a few old players who dared to test Warhammer I grew bored of it. CA then modified its plans (even released Throb, probably in order to appease history fans, as Huberto suggested), made the development circle of the trilogy longer and invested more in lord packs. That strategy was successful and attracted new players, although we cannot know if they are old fans who came back to the franchise or completely new customers. The latter sounds more plausible to me.

    By the way, an interesting bit of information from the history of Warhammer III's Steam page. It was created in August 2019, just a few months and a few days after the release of Three Kingdoms and Eight Princes respectively. I think it confirms that the development of the next tent-pole titles starts in earnest only after the previous product has been released.


  16. #16
    RafSwi7's Avatar Content Staff
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    Default Re: After Warhammer

    From reddit:



    We will see, but we have first learned about Troy in the same way.

  17. #17
    Daruwind's Avatar Citizen
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    Default Re: After Warhammer

    Go check other trademarks from CA. They are renewing them periodically. I was checking them not so long ago and this is nothing important. If there is "new" IP like Troy. That would be interesting. But we can easily see other renewed ones

    Napoleon...filed April 2020..valid till April 2030
    https://trademarks.ipo.gov.uk/ipo-tm.../UK00003481196
    Shogun ...November 2020...valid until April 2030
    https://trademarks.ipo.gov.uk/ipo-tm.../UK00003481199
    ....
    ....

    Here you have older filling medieval
    https://trademarks.ipo.gov.uk/ipo-tm.../UK00902455186
    Filing date11 December 2001
    Date of entry in register 30 June 2003
    Renewal date 11 December 2021

    So CA just needed to do it prior to December. End of story.. And if you look at reddit findings properly, the status is "examination"..it can be opposed and it is not yet through the process....

    look like Saga and Troy were exactly opposed in that way
    https://trademarks.ipo.gov.uk/ipo-tm...71499&domain=1
    And if you are not renewing, it will be dead
    https://trademarks.ipo.gov.uk/ipo-tm.../UK00002382249
    Last edited by Daruwind; February 18, 2021 at 04:10 AM.
    DMR: (R2) (Attila) (ToB) (Wh1/2) (3K) (Troy)

  18. #18
    Huberto's Avatar Praepositus
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    Default Re: After Warhammer

    Quote Originally Posted by Daruwind View Post
    Here you have older filling medieval
    https://trademarks.ipo.gov.uk/ipo-tm.../UK00902455186
    Filing date11 December 2001
    Date of entry in register 30 June 2003
    Renewal date 11 December 2021
    But that trademark is for Medieval Total War, not Total War: Medieval.

    That said, I believe they're in pre-production for a harry potter game.

  19. #19
    Daruwind's Avatar Citizen
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    Default Re: After Warhammer

    Total War: Medieval II
    https://store.steampowered.com/app/4...itive_Edition/
    Medieval: Total War
    https://store.steampowered.com/app/3...r__Collection/
    Medieval II: Total War Kingdoms
    https://store.steampowered.com/app/4..._War_Kingdoms/

    Yes, Huberto, ending TM is Medieval - TW and new will be TW: Medieval...which is more in line with recent TW naming. So I fully agree Harry Potter is next logical step ;-)
    DMR: (R2) (Attila) (ToB) (Wh1/2) (3K) (Troy)

  20. #20

    Default Re: After Warhammer

    Renewing those trademarks is just sensible to keep your powder dry by keeping their intellectual properties. I would love to see them after Warhammer breaking out of the rut of historical games by tackling a more modern era. Even Warhammer is just sword and board with a magic system and large single entity units. I would love them to try say WW2 or the Cold War (1948 - 1989) and what that would involve in new games mechanics to tackle that time period. Otherwise I fear we are just getting Med 3 or Empire 2. Though that would be nice and I would enjoy them both. It would make me feel abit sad that the historical games are not going to be just as innovative as the fantasy games. By being innovative I don't mean going the interpretive fantasy route which they have with Troy.

    A man can dream

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