Sega's just announced that the original Rome: Total War will be sold for Ł1 on Steam this weekend. The Total War: Master Collection, which contains seven TW games, will be just Ł26.23.
"A video game, any video game, is an amazing thing," Total War: Rome 2 lead designer James Russell said at the Eurogamer Expo.
"Games are arguably the most sophisticated and complex forms of software out there these days."
Rome 2 has 3 million lines of code. 3 million! And if you stacked all of those up, Russell said, they'd be five times the height of Mount Everest.
And that's just code, which can't do anything without assets.
Characters in Empire: Total War were made up of 2000 polygons. Characters in Shogun 2 were between 4000 and 5000 polygons. But in Rome 2, the number of polygons per character has soared to between 6000 and 7000 polygons.
Even artillery projectiles in Rome 2 have more polygons on them than soldiers in Rome 1, Russell said.
Soldiers in Rome 2 have 45 bones or moving parts, and there are 4000 animations planned for the game. In Shogun 2, actors were motion captured by 16 cameras. For Rome 2, however, Creative Assembly has use of a new motion capture facility - one of the best in Europe. This has 46 cameras, and can capture the movements of up to five actors at once.
Rome 2 has 3000 movement sounds and 2000 impact sounds, apparently, and a word count of more than 500,000. Over 100 actors helped bring those words to life. And that's just for the English version of the game.
James Russell illustrated these staggering statistics with brilliantly entertaining videos (and sound effects). One video showed the sound artists, not content with stabbing dummy bodies wearing Roman armour, whacking each other with sticks. He showed the brutal motion captured animations of a spear headshot and a nasty centurion head butt. No flouncy war this time.
Russell also showed what happens when a tiny cog of the Rome 2 machine goes wrong. In one case it meant the bare bottoms of Roman soldiers bulging out of the back of their armour. In another case it meant the disturbing image of stretched face textures where armour textures should be. And in another case it meant the most extraordinarily deformed camel I've ever seen.
I watched a wireframe section of Rome 2 gameplay highlight how many projectile and character calculations were not only happening at one time, but were being analysed and altered many times a second.
It's no wonder Russell described it as an "epically expensive" project.
Then Russell introduced a 10-minute live gameplay demo of Total War: Rome 2. This was an extended look at the siege on Carthage - Rome's great enemy. We've seen snippets of this before, and previewers have written their thoughts about it. What I was hit by was the enormity of the city, and of the battle. Oh and it had very pretty sea.
In other Total War news, Shogun 2 now has full Steam Workshop integration and Creative Assembly mod tools known as the Assembly Kit.