A school gym in England, mid-'90s, and two local rugby players await orders. One is small and wide and called Adrian, and one is tall and weighs about 20 stone. He's Big Dave. Adrian has been getting flattened by Big Dave all day but he keeps getting back up. It's the rugby training in him: you bloody well get back up if you're knocked down. But this instinct is starting to annoy the people he's in the school gym for, the people making the sports game. They're trying to motion-capture for a rugby game and would rather Adrian lay still. They should be careful what they wish for.
The outstanding Total War series has been around for 15 years, and to celebrate, you can play the games for free this weekend via Steam. Should be just enough time to conquer a continent.
Medieval 2: Total War developer Sega Studios Australia will close its doors later this year.
Eurogamer has spoken to Creative Assembly studio director Mike Simpson about the future of Total War. What new historical settings are under discussion? Will there be more remakes? What about consoles? Those questions, and more, are answered in the article below.
Total War developer The Creative Assembly will appear at Rezzed: The PC and Indie Games Show to exclusively show the future of its strategy series.
Attendees at the Eurogamer event will get the first look at the developer's next project during a presentation celebrating the studio's 25th anniversary, scheduled to take place 6th July at 1pm UK time.
"This year, The Creative Assembly is celebrating a quarter of a century making games," said Total War lead designer James Russell. "I'll be at Rezzed giving a talk on the making of the Total War series, and showing a sneak peek of what we're doing next. Exciting times - see you there!"
Minecraft maker Markus "Notch" Persson is being courted by Creative Assembly for the next Total War game.
SEGA has joined the ranks of publishers using Valve's Steam service to distribute games, introducing Medieval II: Total War to the service - but only in America.
Dissing Total War would be like strolling into an army base and proclaiming "you're all only doing this because you're sexually inadequate" - in either case, it'd be massively misinformed and essentially suicidal. But, can I get away with something like, oh, I don't know, "is there likely to be a time when I will not be strung up by my lungs and left for dead for inquiring as to what point one might safely inquire into whether there is a small danger that, at an indeterminate point in the future, some folk might start to question if Total War games might have a small risk of not being considered quite as groundbreaking as they currently are?" Oh, God. I've gone and done it, haven't I? I'm dead. I'm so dead.
Well, seeing as my days are numbered now anyway, maybe I'll just come right out and say it. As fabulous a game as Medieval 2 is, the majority of its (absolutely worthwhile) improvements and changes are on the subtle side. Earlier Total Wars Rome and Medieval 1 both felt like significant jumps on from their predecessors; Med 2 focuses on honing its revered formula rather than taking The Next Step. Right now, the honing is definitely enough and the return to the era that's the motherlode of historical warfare so very pleasing that there's no real cause for concern just yet. If there isn't more of a shake-up come the next game though, there'll be justification in looking a bit stern.
So, without question, we're still looking at the most detailed and absorbing strategy game to stalk the Earth. The real-time battles look incredible, a beefed-up Rome engine offering far more detailed landscapes as well as newly varied-looking soldiers. It's the change in animations rather than polygon count and face textures that makes the greatest difference - there's now much more of a sense of hundreds of people fighting, rather than a bunch of robots charging at each other. It's let down a little by continued use of an ugly and slightly clunky interface that'll still present a mild barrier to more casual players.
SEGA has released an updated demo of Medieval II: Total War, adding a new map to the line-up of the previous release, which had apparently been ripped from a magazine cover-disk.
So that means you get the Battle of Hastings (a tutorial), the Battle of Pavia and the Battle of Agincourt, and if that's not enough battling for you, the new addition if the Battle of Otumba.
You can download the 640MB demo from SEGA (direct file link), and the full game's due out on 10th November.
SEGA and wholly owned buddies Creative Assembly have released a demo version of Medieval II: Total War, the duo's forthcoming highly anticipated real-time strategy sequel.
With Medieval II: Total War due out this November, SEGA's ramping up the release of media - and we've cobbled together the last five trailers for the game in one place for you to check out.
That's one, two, three, four and five for those of you who enjoy direct links, and we also have plenty of screenshots.
Developed by the now SEGA-owned Creative Assembly, Medieval II will see you leading armies through Europe and the Holy Land, discovering America and dealing with the Aztecs - with a superior terrain system, 200 new units (10,000 of them on the battlefield at once), and revamped multiplayer.
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.