Two months after Total War: Shogun 2 arrived, Creative Assembly has revealed the development of a brand new Total War game to Eurogamer.
"Yep," confirmed IP godfather Mike Simpson when asked whether another Total War game was under way. "We never stop, so yes."
Creative Assembly studio director Tim Heaton said work began "whilst we were finishing Shogun 2". "Absolutely we're on the next," he added.
What that new game will be, Simpson nor Heaton would say. When asked whether historically the period will be further back than Shogun 2's or further forward, Simpson stone-walled with an enigmatic "yes".
Sega recently revealed Shogun 2: Total War sales of 600,000 copies.
"It's doing fab," beamed Simpson. "We're 90 per cent Metacritic, which is exactly where we wanted to hit, and it's selling great."
"The original Shogun sold more copies in the second three years of its existence than it did in its first three years. They sell for ages. OK, they're not all at full price, but comparing one with another..."
"It's a really complex question," Heaton offered, "because Total War games have a really long tail. "
Newer Total War games also sell downloadable add-ons, which adds another layer of complexity when comparing specific instalment success.
On the quality of Shogun 2, however, Simpson was resolute: "[Shogun 2] is the best Total War game that we've made so far - no doubt about that."
Does Creative Assembly think Shogun 2 was a buggy launch?
"No," returned Simpson.
"No," echoed Heaton.
"We learnt a lot from Empire," Heaton expanded, "and we've been very, very careful. We followed Empire with Napoleon and that was really solid - we really bolted down on that. We're really happy with the release of Shogun 2."
There are seven games in the core Total War series: Shogun, Medieval, Rome, Medieval II, Empire, Napoleon and Shogun 2. Does Medieval and Shogun being treated to sequels suggest fans prefer an older, less technologically advanced period to wage war in?
"We've actually done work with our hardcore fanbase looking at different eras and which ones they prefer," said Simpson, "and it's really flat. As in, it's really quite evenly split across more or less every proposition we put in front of them."
"Mass market is a different issue: we spend a lot of time debating whether the kind of things that appeal to Hollywood are the same kind of things that appeal to the kind of gamers we're looking for. We're still arguing about that.
"My personal view," he continued, "is that there's a trade-off. The more mass media your period then the easier it is to get people into it. But the less really interesting stuff, the more obscure you go, then the harder it is to get people interested. But once you're in there, there's all sorts of stuff no one has heard of before.
"There's a balance between those two."
The only Total War game Eurogamer hasn't given 9/10 to is Napoleon: Total War, which received 8/10.