Here at The Creative Assembly, we’ve always embraced new ideas and innovations. With the original Shogun: Total War, we combined campaign gameplay with real-time battles to create a whole new genre. Ever-mindful of that spirit of adventure, we’ve just released Total War Battles: SHOGUN – a brand new tactical handheld game designed to bring a taste of Total War to mobile devices.
The game’s been developed by a whole new team at CA, dedicated to bringing the best experience possible to iOS, and later Android. We sat down with Lead Designer Renaud Charpentier to talk about the title, which is available on the AppStore now.
Total War Blog: Renaud, first of all congratulations on the release of Total War Battles. It’s been getting some great reviews on sites like Pocket Gamer, Slide to Play, Touch Arcade, The Metro and more, so you must be delighted! Please can you describe Total War Battles to us?
Renaud Charpentier: It’s an RTS designed to be totally suited to handheld devices, including phones with their smaller screens, right up to large tablet devices. It remains true to the DNA of Total War and it’s enjoyable in 10 minutes on a train, or longer sessions on planes, etc. It’s very easy to pick up but ramps up to a proper RTS with strategic thinking required.
Total War Blog: How exactly did the Total War series inspire Total War Battles: SHOGUN?
Renaud: Well, firstly the game is set in 16th century Japan and it remains true to the spirit of the time. It goes deeper than that, connecting with subjects like using “honour” to buy Samurai, with only “vulgar” Ronin available as mercenaries available with gold.
As with any Total War game, Battles demands you manage both your economy and your troops. Building your base well is essential, and using the right troops to face the right enemies is crucial to your success. And then, Battles has the same angle on strategy that Total War always had. That same kind of atmospheric feeling, inter-weaved with brutal warfare. Total War is epic, but also sometimes contemplative. It’s rather tragic and theatrical, it’s not light-hearted and cartoony – it inspired us to follow the same path.
Total War Blog: Tell us about the new team at CA.
Renaud: The team was built up specifically for the project. I joined CA to work on Battles and then recruited the rest of the team as the need for their skills arose through prototyping. Recruitment was tough as we wanted top developers with a lot of experience so they could help immediately. On a smaller team, working on a daring project, you don’t have much time to ramp up – so most of us are industry veterans who come mostly from console development.
Total War Blog: How do you feel now that Total War Battles is out?
Renaud: Well, to be honest, I’m really happy about the final result. It seems so long ago that I went back to my desk with the objective to create something worthy of Total War… on an iPhone screen! Believe me, you tinker quite a bit with design, tech and art before having a real deep, strategy gameplay experience on such a minimal screen. And that’s without speaking of the technical challenges.
We managed to be the number on strategy game in many AppStores, including the UK and US. We have great reviews, and most importantly the people who have bought Battles have enjoyed it and keep playing to the end. As a designer, that’s the best reward you can get.
If you’re keen to know more, check out our in-depth playthrough of Total War Battles with Renaud in Rally Point Extra, one of our new series of community videos designed to give you a look behind the scenes at CA.