Total War: Warhammer

With the most exciting unit roster yet, Creative Assembly's latest is a godly blend of franchises.

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Creative Assembly issues refreshingly frank update on Total War Warhammer development troubles

Creative Assembly has issued a refreshingly frank update on the progress - or lack of - of Total War Warhammer's development.

The blog post revolves around Mortal Empires, the ambitious mode that combines the maps of Total War Warhammer and Total War Warhammer 2 into one mega campaign (for more on how it works, check out the video below from our own Chris Bratt).

While this mode was long-awaited by Total War fans, its release has not been smooth sailing, with a raft of bugs and delays dampening enthusiasm.

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This week sees the campaign maps for Total War: Warhammer 1 and 2 being combined in a new mode called Mortal Empires. If you own both games, this'll arrive as a free update on Thursday, offering the most detailed Total War campaign to date. It'll also be offering the longest time between turns, but so far, that seems a sacrifice worth making.

FeatureThe untold origin story of Creative Assembly

"I decided this kettle had to die."

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.

Watch Friday's EGX Rezzed developer sessions here

Catch up on Total Warhammer 2! Sunless Skies! Digital Foundry!

UPDATE: If you missed any of yesterday's sessions we've now added YouTube embeds of the full line-up so you can catch up on everything - including the announcement of Total War: Warhammer 2.

Best-selling Steam games of 2016 revealed

Mix of old and new, big and small.

Happy New Year! Valve has revealed the top 100 best selling games on Steam in 2016. And given the size and dominance of Steam in the desktop gaming marketplace, the results are worth noting.

Right, although we recorded this podcast yesterday, Donlan isn't around to write this week's blog post. So, as a result, don't be expecting any clever tangents in which I delight in some historical anecdote I've just read in The Guardian, or whatever it is he usually does. I'm here to tell you about the contents of today's episode. And that's your lot.

Total War: Warhammer is about to receive a massive update

Total War: Warhammer is about to receive a massive update

Introduces hundreds of changes, plus a brand new unit.

Total: War Warhammer's first major patch arrives tomorrow at 2PM BST.

Update 1 brings with it a huge list of balance changes, AI tweaks and stability improvements, while also introducing a new Vampire Counts unit called the Blood Knights.

Filling the role of late-game shock cavalry, these are supposed to be some of the best mounted units in the Warhammer universe. Also, they look quite nice, don't they?

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The Eurogamer Podcast - Overwatch, Doom and Total War: Warhammer

This is a really good week to talk about video games.

Right, yes. This should have gone up on Tuesday, but I was a little busy freaking out about giving Overwatch an Essential badge. Donlan likes to tell me that when we do give a game the big golden sticker, the review has to feel like an event. An event. That really adds to the pressure of writing the thing.

After yesterday's review of Total War: Warhammer, I saw a few comments asking specifically about the game's performance. This series has had its share of issues with PC optimisation and I figured it would be useful to show you what the game looks like in action.

Total War: Warhammer Review

If you've played Rome: Total War, you have to remember the first time you encountered the Carthaginians. Here you'd been, building proper Roman armies, with swords and shields and bows and arrows, designed to defeat nations with fewer resources and aging technology. And then you run into Carthage, and they've got war elephants. You weren't ready for war elephants.

Total War, in my experience, has always played out a bit like a game of rock, paper, scissors. Swords tend to beat spears. Spears tend to beat cavalry. Cavalry tend to beat swords. The better units can defy these rules, sure, but it's almost always a good place to start. Up until the point at which you stand against an elephant charge and the whole thing falls apart. There is, of course, a counter to these units too; a new set of rules to add to the list. But for a little while, you're not sure what to do. In Rome: Total War, this feeling is a noteworthy exception, a rare blind spot in a game that wants you to understand its systems. In Total War: Warhammer, this seems to happen in almost every battle. And that's fantastic.

There's never been a Total War game with a roster this diverse. Alongside your typical infantry, ranged units and cavalry, there are flying war machines, giants, magic casters and legendary lords. There are infantry that specialise in taking down monstrous units and there are ranged units that can hold their own in melee combat. I think I now understand why the tabletop game has so many rulebooks. It can, at times, be a little overwhelming if you're not familiar with Warhammer Fantasy, but it's worth it in the end. Improving your army isn't just a case of replacing good infantry with great infantry, it can now be much more drastic than that. A late-game upgrade may see you adding a couple of steam tanks, or a gigantic arachnarok spider to your front line, and that feels way more important.

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VideoWatch: Recreating Total War: Warhammer's Battle of Black Fire Pass

How does the final game compare to its flashy reveal?

Oh man, that first Total War: Warhammer reveal. Do you remember watching it? Finally, these two franchises were working together and it looked absolutely incredible. Flying units, magic, giants, a spider the size of a house - this was what we'd always wanted.

FeatureCreative Assembly on regaining fan support after Total War: Warhammer's controversial DLC

''We completely understand we've got to build back that trust...''

Creative Assembly has offered pre-order incentives, in the form of extra units and playable factions, since Napoleon: Total War in 2010. It's always been unpopular with certain parts of the fanbase, but I don't think we've ever seen a reaction quite like the one following the news that Total War: Warhammer's Chaos Warriors would face the same fate.

18 minutes of new Total War: Warhammer gameplay

18 minutes of new Total War: Warhammer gameplay

Starring everyone's favourite controversial pre-order bonus, the Chaos Warriors!

Creative Assembly's released 18 minutes of new gameplay footage for Total War: Warhammer, which still isn't called Total Warhammer.

The video stars the Chaos Warriors, who, Total War fans will know, are a pre-order bonus or post-launch premium DLC. That is, if you want to play as them, you have to pre-order the game or spend more money. Quite a lot of people aren't thrilled by that.

However, if you're content to simply play against, rather than as the Chaos Warriors, you don't have to pre-order or buy any DLC. As Creative Assembly stresses:

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Hot on the (presumably cold, undead) heels of the Vampire Counts reveal trailer, Chris Bratt got some fairly extensive hands on time with the fifth and final playable race for Total War: Warhammer. If you've got twenty minutes to spare, why not watch as he walks Christian Donlan through an entire battle from start to finish?

Variety has always been an important part of Total War. Leading one of the great Roman families in a Rome: Total War campaign was meant to feel like a very different experience to the one you'd encounter as a Gallic chieftain. One promised discipline and infrastructure, the other was all about numbers and brute strength. More recently, with Total War: Attila, we've played as nomadic tribes, with no cities to call their own, or fallen empires, holding onto what remains of their power. This is a series that's always encouraged multiple playthroughs from different perspectives - but I don't think it's ever looked as varied as it does in Total War: Warhammer.

Glimpses of Total War: Warhammer's stylish campaign map in new trailer

Total War games are made up of two major parts: one part is battles, armies clashing against each other; the other, a strategical campaign map of the world that you push your pieces around - pieces representing armies or special characters. We've seen what a battle will look like in Total War: Warhammer but, until now, we haven't seen the campaign map.

The new trailer focuses in Grimgor Ironhide, who's a really angry and really ugly Black Orc leader. What you're looking for in the trailer besides the quite nice in-game cinematic stuff is at 1 minute 29 seconds when we fly over the game's campaign map. And how mountainous and misty and sumptuous it looks to be - long gone are the static looks-like-an-actual-map days of old. It's more like Google Earth, if Earth were the World of Warhammer. There are more shots of the campaign map at 1.42 and 2.02.

We can go halves on a new PC to play the game on if you like? Actually, on that note, check out Digital Foundry's Black Friday tech deals in case there's an obvious upgrade going cheap.

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FeatureThe best of EGX 2015

Picking through the highlights of this year's show.

It's nearly done. After three days of drinking, chatting and, funnily enough, playing games, EGX 2015 is entering its final stretch, and we're all blearily considering the long trek home from Birmingham NEC. And what a year it's been! We've been graced by legends such as Sony's Shuhei Yoshida, been entertained by the Dragon's Den-esque Pitch Your Game Idea at the Rezzed sessions and discovered some new and exciting games at the various indie sections. What, though, have been the highlights? Here's a little selection of what's made this year's EGX special.

Watch 15 minutes of Total War: Warhammer gameplay

Watch 15 minutes of Total War: Warhammer gameplay

"They're right up in my Thunderers!"

If you have read or watched yesterday's preview of Total War: Warhammer, you may have heard me moaning about the lack of video footage we were sent following our first hands-on with the game. Taking this criticism on board (or, more likely, as a result of a rigid marketing plan), developer Creative Assembly has today released a full playthrough of the demo, which you can watch below.

Featuring a player-controlled Dwarf force withstanding a huge Greenskin ambush, the video is one hell of a watch. I've been playing Total War for more than a decade now, and the sheer scale of these encounters has yet to feel old. Even so, and with this game in particular, there's just so many new things to play around with: goblins riding spiders, underground battles, flying units, and big, over-the-top hero units that can really get stuck into combat. This is going to be a very different kind of Total War game, but having played through this exact same demo I'm excited by the promise of what all this means.

Aside from showing off some impressive attention to detail (watch how the giant's belly wobbles!), this video also demonstrates the difficulty that comes with talking about a game, whilst also trying to play it at a competent level. Creative Assembly's Al Bickham does his best and it's a tough fight, but don't get me started on where he left his gyrocopters at the end there - unforgivable.

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My Dwarfs (not Dwarves) are standing their ground. A line of heavily armoured infantry supported by crossbowmen, handgunners and around 50 flamethrowers. They wait patiently, as Dwarfs often do, for a much larger force of Greenskins to crash upon their ranks. Outnumbered and then some, but not yet outgunned, they've brought with them some rather formidable artillery: two sets of Organ Guns, named for their resemblance to the musical instrument... although instead of leading hymns down at the local Methodist, they shoot lots of tiny cannon balls at a pleasing rate of fire. (It makes sense when you see them in action.) My other cannon shoots flames and is called a Flame Cannon. That one is probably a little easier to picture.

First in-engine Total War: Warhammer trailer released

The first in-engine trailer for Total War: Warhammer has been released.

It shows the Battle of Black Fire Pass, and centers on Karl Franz, who leads the playable Empire faction, as he does battle with the Greenskins.

The video gives us a look at some of the more fantastical units in the game including giants, wizards, trolls, demi-griffons, wyverns and griffons. They'll all have a varied assortment of animations to make everything look very dramatic while you war.

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VideoVideo: What happens when Total War and Warhammer collide?

Scoop! There's a new historical game on the way too.

As you may have seen in our preview last week, I think Total War: Warhammer has an enormous amount of potential. Yeah okay, the demo was hands-off and almost entirely scripted, but my goodness, it looked an awful lot like the game I've always wanted to play. Total War finally meets Warhammer Fantasy. Oof!

FeatureTotal War and Warhammer make the perfect couple

So here's hoping the final game is as good as our recent hands-off demo.

This was always supposed to be the perfect mix, wasn't it? The sheer unmatched scale of Total War meeting the extraordinary races of Warhammer Fantasy; I think I've been daydreaming about this game for more than a decade now. And the demo looked incredible: a Greenskin horde crashing violently into the organised lines of the Empire at Black Fire Pass. Being able to sit back and watch it all play out is captivating. However, that's a pretty important clarification to make. We watched the battle, but we didn't play it.