Total War: Warhammer A Step In The Wrong Direction?

The recent announcement of Total War: Warhammer has caused quite a stir among fans of the series; personally, I’m quite excited despite my misgivings after Rome 2’s release. If you haven’t yet, check out the trailer below. Its got a whole load of goodies that are totally atypical of the TW series like: orcs, flying mounted units, and magical fireballs being hurled at said orcs. And it’s possible to see how some of the newer mechanics from Attila could be transferable; if mages are throwing fireballs about like shown, the new in-combat fire mechanics could cause all kinds of fun and devastation. It sounds like the new game could potentially be great; I can’t think of a reason why I wouldn’t want to hurl fire balls at orcs. But many of the changes to be introduced from the Warhammer canon fly in the face of anything done previously in the series. There’s been, until now, no precedent for mages or flying mounted units; the Total War series has always been grounded heavily by its focus on historical accuracy. Warhammer throws that straight out of the window.

Creative Assembly seems to be aware of this, the trailer itself announces that “our rules have changed” and this can only be in reference to their new direction. But CA’s new focus on fantasy threatens to alienate fans that love the series because of its historical focus. To further complicate matters, the fallout from the release of Rome 2 and fans growing discontent with the series’ copious amounts of DLC puts CA in a difficult situation. The announcement certainly comes at a tumultuous time. So, the announcement of two additional stand alone expansions to follow after TW: Warhammer’s release could rile up some of the already disgruntled fans.

Yet, the idea to do stand alone expansions could be a good thing; we’re not being provided DLC for just little things like a few factions or some extra blood and gore. Instead it sounds like the DLC will be somewhat sizeable, I’m hoping Medieval 2: Kingdoms sizeable, and I’m sure anyone would be happy buying DLC if it added more than a few units or graphics changes. So, instead of a bundle of smaller tidbits slowly appearing as DLC, we’re being given a trilogy. This should also allow them to progressively work out the kinks that inadvertently seem to appear in the first installment of games. I think that’s a rather nice compromise.

Delving into new territories, fantasy in this case, Warhammer was bound to upset a few fans. But Total War’s style of gameplay seems to lend itself perfectly for the world of Warhammer. It will also let CA try something different other than another remake. And there is evidence that fans have been wanting something like this for years. I’m aware of Warhammer and Lord of the Rings themed mods going back as far as Medieval 2 that are still going strong today. So I’m all for CA stepping out of their comfort zone and trying something new, there is clearly a demand for it. There will be a lot riding on the game coming out with a smooth launch. Providing that all goes well, I don’t think fans will have an issue playing in a fantasy world that’s locked in a perpetual state of total war; if anything it seems appropriate that it’s the Total War series taking this on. What are your thoughts on the new direction of Total War: Warhammer?