Medieval 2: Total War announced

SEGA gets entirely aggressive.

Sega Europe has announced the next title in the Total War series of PC strategy titles, with UK-based developer The Creative Assembly (which Sega liked so much that it bought the company last year) set to return to the medieval era for the fourth instalment in the acclaimed franchise.

Medieval 2: Total War will be on shelves later this year (the official date is being given as "winter 2006") and looks set to build significantly on what was offered in previous games in the series - which kicked off with Shogun: Total War before moving on to the original Medieval: Total War title and the most recent game, Rome: Total War.

This next title in the series will see you playing through some of the most unpleasant years of western history, leading your armies through Europe and the Holy Land, before discovering America and heading off to deal with the locals in the form of the Aztecs.

The game is promising a far superior terrain system to its predecessors, with the ability to create interesting new landscape features such as cliff-top castles, as well as a detailed building damage model and better siege warfare. There will be 200 new units, and you'll be able to see 10,000 of them on the battlefield at once.

Perhaps most exciting, however, is the promise of a totally revamped multiplayer system - which will allow players to confront each other in multi-battle campaigns, a feature which is likely to bring a smile to the faces of many fans of the series.

"Medieval 2: Total War is the result of 7 years continuous development of the Total War series and has been designed to appeal to all gamers, not just hardcore strategy fans," according to Creative Assembly boss Mike Simpson. "Each game in the series has outshone the previous one and Medieval 2: Total War is no exception."

Speaking of shiny things, you can see the first screenshots of Medieval 2: Total War by clicking on this bit of helpfully highlighted text. Genius!

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