Today is a fine day indeed. For in this, our latest blog, we’re revealing brand new, exclusive details about naval combat in Total War: Shogun 2. Featured today are design impresarios Gabor Beressy and Jamie Ferguson.
Please could you tell us a little about the different types of boat in Total War: Shogun 2?
GB: At the moment we have five major categories of ship in naval battles: Light, Medium, Heavy, Cannon and Trade ships. These types define not just the size, but the characteristic of the ships.
For example, light ships are smaller and faster than their heavy counterparts, with better manoeuvrability – ideal for ranged attacks. Although these are similar ships they all have their unique role within the light ship class (support arrow fire, close range firebomb throwing or matchlock fire). The medium and heavy ships are more robust, slower ships with a larger number of crew aboard. These are much better when it comes to boarding enemy vessels. Cannon ships are late-game units with devastating cannon fire. You won’t be able to get many of these!
How different is the naval combat of Shogun 2 to that of Empire or Napoleon?
GB: It’s really different. Because of the new weapon and ship types, the gameplay has changed a lot. The design goal was to create ships with unique roles, which can be combined and used differently during battles. For example you will be able to use a medium ship to board a heavy ship, while one of your light ships can give support fire without risk of being boarded.
In previous TW titles, it was often the case that “bigger was better”. Is this true of the ships in Shogun 2 also?
GB: Not anymore. Certain ship types are still better in attacking others, just as before – but every ship has a counter unit. For example: light ships used properly in small numbers are designed to be able to take down heavy ships.
Two or three light bow ships can kill the archers on a heavy ship and burn it to the waterline with fire arrows from a safe distance. These bow ships, however, are really vulnerable to any kind of ranged or boarding attack, so you will lose one or two during the attempt. It all ties into the whole rock-paper-scissor ethos behind Shogun 2 – everything works in balance, and the player has to make some tricky strategic decisions along the way.
Will gunpowder feature in Shogun 2’s naval battles?
GB: Yes. We will have ships with matchlock crews, and Japanese and European ships with cannons. Maintaining these ships won’t be cheap, but will definitely be worth the money! Of course, if you don’t have access to gunpowder weapons you won’t be able to recruit them. But maybe you will be able to capture them!
How does the inclusion of land affect the tactical flow of naval battles?
GB: The addition of different terrain features will give much more diversity to the battles. You can defend areas between islands, or try to lure the enemy into a trap – forcing them in to an area where it can’t manoeuvre with heavy ships. You can use terrain as cover against enemy fire, regroup your ships and attack from a better position.
Is it possible for me to beach my ship, or be forced against the rocks?
GB: You won’t be able to beach your ships but if you go near shallow water it will slow down or stop your ships completely. Speed is an advantage in battles so keep moving. It’s better to try and avoid getting hemmed in.
Will fire be returning in naval combat, and will I be able to repair my ships?
GB: Yes, definitely! The repair feature is still in the game and hopefully we will have more burning ships then before! Thanks to the fire arrows and firebombs, I expect a lot of spectacular battles with burning and sinking ships.
What else has been done to further enhance the visual elements of naval combat?
JF: Unlike previous total war sea battles, land now makes an appearance in naval battles with all that element brings to the battlefield. This results in dramatic cliffs and sandy beaches, reefs and islands. We even have whales and seagulls making an appearance. The naval battles also reflect the weather and time of day. This means we have Fog, Snow, Rain and Night time battles.
CL: And I’m going to add that the coastal water looks incredible!
Thanks for your time, guys.