Welcome to our sixth Empire: Total War FAQ, where this month we tackle even more of your Land Battle questions…
Will guns be distinguishable by their appearance and smoke etc?
You will be able to tell the difference between very large, large, medium and small cannon, carronades, 8 and 10 inch mortars, rifles, carbines and muskets, I’m not sure you will get more granularity than that. We felt that anything more is unlikely to be noticed in the thick of battle.
If artillery gun crew lines are broken, will they flee to safer ground until its safe to return, or will they route from the field?
This question is not easily answered as it depends on the situation. If the artillery is sufficiently spooked, they will flee. If not, they will route to a safer place until they can return to their guns or the situation turns so bad they have to run from the field of battle.
Can we have the option to preview a battlefield before choosing battle?
Generals don’t always get to pick the ground that they fight on and great generals will even take the ground chosen by the enemy and make it their own. Or to put it another way: The current mechanism assumes that the battlefield chosen is the best that could be attained as a result of manoeuvre and counter manoeuvre of opposing forces and the limits of terrain in the area. We give the player time to review the battlefield in the deployment phase and there are a number of cues as to the likely composition of the battlefield obtainable by looking at the campaign map.
Will Empire: Total War generals (not captains) play a lesser role in field combat compared to previous Total War games?
It depends? If the question is: will they be less likely to be able to act like a powerful killing machine the answer is a categorical yes. In the period of this game generals were far less renowned for their individual prowess (although some exceptions are present that prove the rule – e.g. Charles of Sweden) in battle and much more for their ability to swing a battle by being at the right place at the right time and inspiring their troops with both good planning and sensible commands. In the same way, failure to place your general where he is most effective will result in problems keeping your troops from being quickly demoralised.
Will there be a “fire by rank” system for troops in line formation, e.g. British redcoats? And will you be taking into account that some armies may have better skills than others in some areas e.g. British troops could fire and reload their muskets faster then the French could?
The short answer to all that is yes but with some reservations. It will depend on a nation’s research into tactics, the units deployed, their experience, what system is used and how good they are compared to their opponents. The British were not always the best at everything. If they had been they would have beaten the Americans in the War of Independence, Wellington would not have needed the support of Blucher at Waterloo and he would not have said it was “a close run thing”.
Are different countries’ uniforms, colours and changes in uniforms included?
Yes but as much as we would like to include every uniform, every turn back, every button, every badge and every uniform colour represented by every nation, in the game, and reflect all those uniform changes in detail over the 18th century (100 years), the logistics really aren’t viable for a game made in the time we have.
As a result we chose to select a representative sample of uniforms from throughout the period to reflect that change and variety. Every nation has a “national colour” that we use to represent that nation and is featured strongly in their uniforms. On top of that we add variations, where we think its effective, in their uniforms that are appropriate either according to faction or unit type or in some cases both. That isn’t the end of things though.
Will Calvary with swords point their swords at the enemy who they are charging at instead of holding it upright like in “Rome: Total War”?
We completely overhauled the animations system for Empire. Cavalry will now lower their swords or lances in the final approach of a charge.
Can riflemen be ordered to hide in long grass and shoot when enemies are on top of them and then charge with bayonets?
Simple answer: Yes as long as they are trained in field-craft and you have researched the bayonet.
Early guns were very sensitive to damp and damage. Will this be represented in game?
Yes, of course. Rain and snow are both significant contributors to misfires and hang-fires, along with unit fatigue, training and morale states. If it is raining or snowing too much then gunpowder combat becomes next to impossible A particularly inept soldier can end up blinding themselves with a flash in the pan or rupturing a cannon and killing the crew.
Will the battle maps be bigger?
Yes they are. The battlefield playable areas are currently up to 1.4km2.
Will the environment determine movement rate and morale?
Yes both have a noticeable effect on the movement and morale of units, according to their origin and the environmental conditions
At the time of the American Revolution, the standard British six-pounder cannon had a crew of fifteen men working the gun (not just standing around it). Will we see this sort of realism reflected on the battlefield? If not, why?
Sadly, no we won’t have 15 men crews. This is because the choreography required was something we found to actually detrimental to gameplay as well as being incredibly complex to code. In the end we went for a smaller number that carry out a representative set of actions, most importantly those involving loading and firing.
Will it be possible to shot at the horses so they are dead, but the riders stand up and keep on fighting without their horses?
We are looking in to a suitable method of implementing this but we have yet to come up with a solution that works in all cases.
Will our men finally be intelligent enough to load their weapons while the enemy is still out of range, and then FIRE when the enemy gets into range?
That would depend on the player. Have you set your unit to fire at will or to fire when ordered? How well trained are your troops? If they have time, your units will change to their melee option.
Q: Will famous characters such as Wellington make an appearance in the game, and will they have special abilities to reflect their historical importance?
If the conditions are right they will.
What new character traits are there?
This is far too big a question to answer in an FAQ. Traits and ancillaries certainly haven’t been ignored. They have been updated and crafted to fit the period. Per character you can expect to see more meaningful, character building and far less contrary traits and ancillaries. Although this will mean fewer traits per character there will be no less variety than previous games.