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Total War: ROME II is available for pre-order

It’s the news you’ve been waiting for – we’re excited to say that Total War: ROME II is now officially available for pre-order. You can reserve your copy today by clicking here.

We’ve also announced the game’s release date – September 3rd, 2013. Closer than you thought?

Pre-order bonus

We’re doing things a little bit differently to how we’ve handled pre-orders in the past. As an added bonus, those who pre-order from any participating retailer will get access to the Greek States Culture Pack for free – one content pack, not split across different retailers. Simply pre-order and they’re yours. For more information on this pack, check out the official Total War Wiki faction list.

What’s more, if you don’t want to pre-order, you can still pick up the Greek States Culture Pack when it goes on sale on day one.

Don’t forget that we also recently announced a 9th faction for free as part of the day one content update – Pontus. Everyone, whether they buy boxed or digitally, and whether they pre-order not – will get Pontus for free on day one. That’s thanks to the extra time we get to work on content delivered through Steam.

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Collector’s Edition

There’s more. The super-limited Collector’s Edition has been announced. It’ll be produced in a single, extremely limited run; only 22,000 manufactured worldwide and it contains some really cool stuff.

Total War: ROME II Collector's Edition

The CE contains a wealth of custom, Roman-themed games and items, bound in a leather-effect presentation box, complete with gold logo and magnetic closure; including:

Numbered copy of Total War™: ROME II

The most ambitious and expansive game in the Total War™ series to date, ROME II brings the statecraft, politics, intrigue, diplomacy and epic battles of the ancient world to life in thrilling detail. This version comes in a debossed Steelbook™ case, laser-etched with your unique collector’s number in Roman numerals.

Tabula set

The Roman forerunner to Backgammon, this Tabula set comprises 30 bone-effect game pieces supplied in their own burlap drawstring bag; the board itself is built into the base of the Collector’s Edition box.

Tesserae Dice

Three replica bone-effect dice for use in a variety of games. The design is based on original Roman Tesserae, found at the archaeological site of Herculaneum.

Total War Cards™: PUNIC WARS

Designed from the ground up to echo elements from ROME II, Total War Cards is a game of skill and luck for two players. Involving combat, territorial control, resource management and technological development, PUNIC WARS consists of 58 high-quality playing cards and a game-board printed with the PUNIC WARS tech-tree.

Canvas Campaign Map

A reminder of the world you must conquer, this ribbon-tied canvas map depicts each of the 57 provinces of the ROME II campaign.

Roman Onager

A complete, fully-functional Onager, or Roman siege catapult. This easy-to-assemble kit is constructed from weathered wood and steel, measures 26cm x 12cm x 12cm, and is capable of unleashing mall projectiles at a variety of inanimate objects which may have affronted the glory of your empire.

A remarkable way to mark over 10 years of Total War games and Creative Assembly’s 25th Anniversary, the Total War™: ROME II Collector’s Edition is only available through selected retailers.

Check out more info on the Rome II Collector’s Edition here.

And you can follow this link to pre-order from a list of participating stockists.

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People of San Francisco: We want you!

Friends, Romans, people of West Coast USA, lend me your ears!

How would you like to attend an exclusive community event in San Francisco for Rome II next week? How would you like to see the full Battle of Teutoburg demo from start to finish? How would you like to meet some of the key players on the Rome II development team, and ask them any question you like?

Sounds pretty good to me. Did I mention there would be snacks? Sold.

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We’re going to be on the ground at a special event running from 7.30-9pm on Tuesday March 26th in central San Francisco, and we’d love to meet you.

In attendance will be a whole host of developers, as well as myself (Craig) from the above video. We’d love to hang out with you guys for an hour and a half and get to know your thoughts on the demo, and what you’re hoping for in Rome II.

Details on how to get involved are in the video above – please drop us a line if you’re local or can travel and can make it, we’d really love to see you on the day.

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Shogun 2 Gold Edition now available worldwide!

Good news for collectors – the very limited, one-print only Shogun 2 Gold Edition is available for preorder now!

European and US versions vary in box design and contents, but here’s a look at what’s included in the European edition.

Shogun 2 Gold Edition European Contents

*Contents vary by region – US version has different box design and contents. Please check links to see what’s available in your region.

Where to pre-order your copy

United Kingdom

Australia

Spain

 

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Total War: SHOGUN 2 Gold Edition heading to PC

Total War Shogun 2 Gold Edition

Including the award-winning SHOGUN 2 (2011), plus its thrilling expansions Rise of The Samurai (2011) and Fall of The Samurai (2012), Total War SHOGUN 2 GOLD Edition is a stunning collection that contains the entire saga from start to finish, and features hundreds of hours of award-winning strategy gaming.

North American Gold Edition

Bow Monk

Total War: SHOGUN 2 MASTER THE ART OF WAR in the darkest age of Japan, endless war leaves a country divided. It is the middle of the 16th Century in Feudal Japan. The country, once ruled by a unified government, is now split into many warring clans. Ten legendary warlords strive for supremacy as conspiracies and conflicts wither the empire.

Total War: SHOGUN 2 – Rise of the Samurai Set 400 years before the dramatic civil war depicted in SHOGUN 2, the “Rise of The Samurai” campaign is based on the Gempei War, a conflict between six legendary clans of the Taira, Minamoto and Fujiwara families. It culminated in the first Shogunate, and the rise of the Samurai as the ruling class.

Total War: SHOGUN 2 – Fall of the Samurai The standalone expansion to the award-winning Total War: SHOGUN 2 explores the conflict between the Imperial throne and the last Shogunate in 19th century Japan, 400 years after the events of the original game. A dramatic clash of traditional Samurai culture with the explosive power of modern weaponry.

The North American GOLD Edition includes all three titles, and is available at retailers from March 5th.

European & Australian Gold Edition

Total War: Shogun 2 - Fall of the Samurai

Including all three SHOGUN titles plus all released downloadable content (excluding the Blood Pack), in limited-production Wajima-nuri inspired packaging.

Total War: SHOGUN 2
Total War: SHOGUN 2 – Rise of the Samurai Total War: SHOGUN 2 – Fall of the Samurai

Dragon War Battle Pack
Hattori ‘Ninja’ Clan Pack
Ikko Ikki ‘Warrior Monk’ Clan Pack
Otomo ‘Gunpowder’ Clan Pack
Saga Clan Pack
Obama Clan Pack
Tsu Clan Pack
Sendai Clan Pack
Saints & Heroes Elite Unit Pack
Sengoku Jidai Elite Unit Pack

The GOLD Edition is available from retailers in Europe and Australia from March 8th.

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Check out our Wiki

Hey all,  it’s been a while since we updated the Total War Blog – and you might be wondering why? Well, we’ve been busy developing the Total War Wiki – a brand new destination full of rich imagery and information. We’ll be looking to host more and more great information on the Wiki in the run up to Rome II and beyond.

If that sounds like your thing, check it out! We’re revealing factions on there in the run-up to the game’s release, and we’re also sharing all of the dev diaries and trailers released on the game to date. It’s a veritable compendium of information!

The whole community team here at CA have a great load of planned content in the run-up to Rome II – more information, screenshots and videos than we’ve ever released before.

Stay tuned!

CraigTW,

The Creative Assembly

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Saints and Heroes DLC: What’s included

As you may be aware, we released a brand new piece of DLC for Total War: Shogun 2 last week – the Saints and Heroes Elite Unit Pack.

To answer any questions about what might be included, we created this handy guide!

What is the Saints and Heroes DLC?

A brand new downloadable content-pack for Total War: Shogun 2 featuring nine new elite units for use in both single and multiplayer modes.

Tell me more!

Bolster your Sengoku-era forces with Saints and Heroes, the new Heroic Unit Pack for Total War: Shogun 2. Honed by years of relentless training and tempered in the fires of battle, these nine elite warrior units excel in their fields, and stand head-and-shoulders above their rank-and-file brothers.

What are the units?

Kiyomasa’s Katana Cavalry

Katana cavalry hero

These heavily-armoured cavalry wield their blades with a brutal expertise.

  • Excellent in melee
  • Slower than other cavalry
  • Excellent morale
  • Vulnerable to Yari, Naginata and Matchlock

Yoritomo’s Yabusame Cavalry

Bow cavalry hero

Precise and quick, these men can snipe at enemies, and hold their own if cornered.

  • Fast moving
  • Can move and fire
  • Excellent accuracy and range
  • Excellent morale
  • Weak against massed foot missile-units
  • Average in melee

The Spears of Shizugatake

Yari cavalry hero

Masters of the spear, these expert horsemen boast a devastating charge, and resolute morale in the face of counter-attack. 

  • Fast and very powerful charge
  • Excellent against other cavalry
  • Excellent morale
  • Vulnerable to Yari and Naginata

Benkei’s Blades

Naginata Hero

The long-bladed Naginata is effective against all-comers – doubly so in the hands of an expert.

  • Versatile: very good against cavalry and other infantry
  • Excellent armour high resistance to arrows
  • Excellent morale
  • Weak against Matchlock

Gozen’s Hime Heroines

Naginata Heroine

In the hands of a great heroine, the Naginata becomes a graceful whirl of steel and bloody death. 

  • Versatile: very good against cavalry and other infantry
  • Excellent armour high resistance to arrows
  • Excellent morale
  • Weak against Matchlock

Tokitaka’s Tanegashima

Matchlock Hero

Armed with a beautifully crafted rifle, these heroes put their marksmanship to deadly use.

  • Good range
  • Devastating damage
  • Very good accuracy and reload
  • Excellent morale
  • Vulnerable to cavalry
  • Good in melee against infantry

Seigen’s Swordmasters

Nodachi Hero

Carrying the fearsome two-handed Nodachi, these heroes strike terror into the hearts of those they charge. 

  • Devastating charge
  • Excellent morale
  • Average in prolonged melee
  • Vulnerable to cavalry and missiles

Tadakatsu’s Tetsubo Warriors

Tetsubo Hero

As strong as Oni, these mighty warriors are masters of the brutal Tetsubo, or war club. 

  • Excellent in melee
  • Excellent morale
  • Vulnerable to missiles and massed enemy units.

Hanzo’s Shadows

Ninja Hero

Masters of stealth, Ninja heroes are the ultimate dealers of swift and silent death. 

  • Excellent at hiding
  • Can climb walls very fast
  • Devastating ranged attack
  • Very limited ammunition.

Enjoy!

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TEd Battle Map Editor Revealed!

So, in the first episode of Rally Point, we mentioned that something new was coming from The Creative Assembly – something you’d not seen before – and we said we’d talk about it on May 18th.

Well, we’ve decided to bring forward that announcement to give the community some time to digest what we’re doing before we release it into the wild.

In the next couple of weeks, we’re releasing TEd, which is short for, simply, “The Editor”. This tool will allow you to create your own battle maps for Shogun 2 and Fall of The Samurai, with a suite of features from adjusting terrain height and sculpting hills and mountains, to placing buildings and terrain features. Packaged within TEd, we’re including the full library of props from both games (including railway tracks!).

With the tool you’ll also be able to create multiplayer maps which are automatically shared when a user joins your game. We’re really excited about seeing what you can come up with.

Designer Elliott Lock has been one of the key driving forces behind getting TEd out to the community, but he’s quick to acknowledge the work done by many at CA to get this tool into the hands of the fans.

He said: “It’s a great team achievement. It’s been a personal goal of mine for over a year to get TEd released, and there’s been a great team effort to make it happen. I couldn’t be prouder of everyone involved.”

Over to Total War’s Brand Director Rob Bartholemew, who wants to say a few words about TEd’s release, and what this means for our modding strategy in future:

“It certainly hasn’t escaped our attention that, despite what we’ve said in the press, the feeling in the community is that CA no longer supports mods, or the modding community. With actions speaking louder than words, it’s something we can understand the sentiment behind, if not perhaps the reasoning.

The rather ugly and slightly embarrassing truth is far from what the conspiracy theorists would like to believe. As we said when we released the Empire/Napoleon XML and XSD tables, Med II and Rome were easy to mod, not because we particularly built them that way, but because they just were by virtue of the tech used to create them. As time has gone on and more recent editions of Total War have been developed, the complexity we have layered on the game and our own development processes has meant end user modification has become far harder without dedicated tools that we would have to specially build. Tools that we don’t use in the production of the game in the first place.

The Napoleon Unit Editor that was mentioned in the run up to N:TW is a point-in-case. It was a lot more work creating an end-user tool from the myriad of different internal processes we used to produce units than we thought it would be, and the result was turning out to be less than impressive. We are a business and we have to weigh these things up, features are cut if they aren’t good enough and if they don’t do what we need them to do.

In the future we will be more definite about features before we announce them, and while the upshot is that we will be more guarded about ideas and concepts we may be excited by, we hope to avoid some of the negativity that seems to have circulated over the years. We hope that you do genuinely understand that we can’t always tell you what we are currently working on for business reasons and that we may see certain things differently (FoTS clan unlock in TWB is a super cool bonus, for example!).

TEd represents an important test for us, if a modest one, and it’s cost a huge amount of time and effort to create and release. We are really excited to see what everyone is going to produce, but just to be clear, it does not necessarily mean that more tools are on the way. We will be keeping a really close eye on it, and working with the leading modders in future to investigate what other ideas might be worked on for the next Total War (more from Craig on this soon), but please don’t expect a guaranteed flow of fabled ‘tools’ from here on.

There of course remain a number of fundamental things that still can’t be modded by the community at all. The Campaign map for example, and AI. It’s possible to induce certain behavioural changes by altering database tables; unit size, spacing, stats, morale buffs/debuffs and so forth. Such changes can alter the outcome of the AI’s risk-assessment, making it more or less aggressive for example, and many modders have implemented this approach, though it isn’t true AI code alteration. We will be looking at aspects such as these over time, but each element presents its own challenges and will be judged against our desire to make more and better games.

In the meantime, please enjoy getting to grips with TEd – the best modders will find it more powerful than it initially appears…”

We’re also releasing the documentation for TEd today for you to look through, which (all things being well) is attached to this post. Please do read this and get to grips with it – it’ll give you a great head start in getting hands-on with TEd when we release it.

In the next episode of Rally Point on May 9th (brought forward from the 18th), we’ll be talking to Elliott in more detail, and Steven Lockett, the writer of the TEd documentation, will be talking us through how to make a simple map. We’ll also use that episode to announce the release date for TEd.

Thanks for taking the time to read this (very long!) post.

The Creative Assembly

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Dragon War Battle Pack: Foes will tremble!

Today we’ll be launching the Dragon War Battle Pack, a complete suite of historical battles for the award-winning Total War: SHOGUN 2.

D1

The Dragon War Battle Pack consists of six consecutively-played legendary battles from the Boshin War, depicting the campaign of Saigo Takamori. Previously only available in the “Fall of the Samurai” expansion, they can now be accessed in the original Total War: SHOGUN 2, once purchased, through the historical battles option in the front end.

What’s more, if you buy the Dragon War Battle Pack, you’ll have the cost deducted from your purchase of Fall of the Samurai should you choose to upgrade.

It is 1868, and the Tokugawa Shogunate has ruled Japan for over 250 years. Now, the dynasty’s grip is failing as revolutionary ideas and technologies from the west flood the country. The Shogun’s enemies, and even the Emperor, look to the future. Feudal clans align with the embattled Tokugawa Shogunate, or a growing Imperial movement to restore the Emperor to his traditional role as the ruler of Japan. Civil war is coming.

D2

New storytelling elements deliver an exciting tale of courage, victory and blood across six famous battlefields:

Toba-Fushimi

Tokugawa Yoshinobu’s army is marching on Kyoto, the seat of the Japanese Emperor. Saigo Takamori’s Satsuma army is outnumbered but must repel the Shogunate troops over several days.

Osaka Castle

Emboldened by victory at Toba-Fushimi and now flying the Emperor’s banner, Takamori and his new Imperial army march on Osaka castle, the home of the Tokugawa Shogunate.

Ueno

Osaka Castle has been burned and the Shogun driven back to Edo which, upon Takamori’s arrival, is surrendered without a fight. Troops loyal to the Shogunate have dug in at the nearby Kan’ei-ji Temple. They must be removed.

Aizu

The soldiers of Aizu domain have consistently supported the Tokugawa cause and form the cornerstone of northern resistance to the Emperor. Takamori must lead his force into the heart of their domain, while avoiding traps the Aizu have set for him.

Miyako Bay

Those that remain loyal to the Shogunate’s cause have regrouped on Ezo island to the north. However, the Imperial Navy has taken delivery of a state-of-the-art ironclad warship, the Kotetsu, which forms the spearhead of an assault on Ezo. The breakaway Ezo Republic launches a naval assault in an attempt to steal the battleship.

Hakodate

With the raid at Miyako Bay thwarted, the Emperor’s forces go on the offensive one last time, landing an army on the shores of the last Ezo stronghold, Hakodate. The Imperial army is divided, and Takamori must unite his forces in the face of strong opposition before mounting one final push to capture the last holdout, a star fort, Goryokaku.

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Total War Battles: Interview with Renaud Charpentier

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.

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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.

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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.

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FAO Modders: Changes to ESF/Save format

Hello modders!

For Fall of the Samurai, we’ve made a number of changes to the savegame and startpos formats (chiefly compression) in order to optimise them and reduce their size. An unfortunate side effect of this that we’ve identified is that community-generated modding tools to read these files will no longer function.

We’re really keen to see the great community-crafted modding tools that are out there keep working though, and in the spirit of that we’d like to keep the you chaps in the loop on this.

Thanks kindly to Alan and Ed, our campaign programmers, who have taken the time out to put this info together. I’ll hand them over to you and they will talk you through it.

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Shogun 2 save games (and startpos files) now use compression and some format changes to achieve smaller file sizes. Note that uncompressed files, in either previous format or new format, still work.

Format changes:

Several simple mechanisms have been used to reduce data size and improve compressibility. ESF files now start 0xABCA if using these mechanisms.

A new mechanism for section end positions and section block sizes replaces the 4 bytes used previously with from 1 to 5 bytes; each byte has high bit set if there is more to come, with the remaining bits used for size. (ie read a byte, AND with 127, add to result. If high bit was set, shift result by 7, repeat with next byte.) The result is now a delta rather than absolute position, which is relative to the position after the last byte; for section blocks, the end position and block count are both written this way, and the position delta is relative to the end of both of these.

Also, for sections, the type id, section id and version information is written either as 2 or 4 bytes, rather than always 4 as previously. Type id high bit set indicates section; next bit indicates section block; next bit indicates old-style section id and version (written as 16 bit unsigned integer for id then 8 bit unsigned integer for version). If this bit is not set, then read next byte. Version is in the next four bits of the type id – (type_id & 31) / 2 – section id is in the remaining bits – (type_id & 1) * 256 + next_byte.

New type ids supported:

18: bool true (no additional data)
19: bool false (no additional data)
20: unsigned integer 0 (no additional data)
21: unsigned integer 1 (no additional data)
22: unsigned integer written as 8 bit (1 byte follows)
23: unsigned integer written as 16 bit (2 bytes follow)
24: unsigned integer written as 24 bit (3 bytes follow)
25: integer 0 (no additional data)
26: integer written as 8 bit (1 byte follows)
27: integer written as 16 bit (2 bytes follow)
28: integer written as 24 bit (3 bytes follow)
29: float 0 (no additional data)
Equivalent block type ids are these ORed with 64.

Compression:

Compressed save game ESFs simply contain an entire, loadable ESF file that has been compressed, along with the information required to decompress this data.

Shogun 2 uses LZMA compression for ESF savegames. See http://www.7-zip.org/sdk.html for details.

Compressed save games have an uncompressed section called SAVE_GAME_HEADER (startpos files have an additional CAMPAIGN_PREOPEN_MAP_INFO section), followed by a section called COMPRESSED_DATA. The COMPRESSED_DATA section contains a section named COMPRESSED_DATA_INFO, which contains a 4-byte unsigned integer (the decompressed size of the compressed data), and a 5-byte block containing the information required by LZMA to decompress the data (often called ‘encode properties’). The COMPRESSED_DATA section also contains a large byte block containing the actual compressed data.

Decompressing this data (using the decompressed size, encode properties and compressed data block) will yield a complete ESF file which can be loaded directly by Shogun 2.

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