Features & News

Quick Q&A with James Russell on Total War: Rome II

October 29, 2012, Author: Ray Willmott

The Total War series is nothing short of beautiful. So beautiful, in fact, that its been known to make grown men cry.

Luckily, I managed to keep myself together enough to sit down with James Russell, Lead Game Designer on the Total War series, and ask him a few quick questions about his latest game.

Q. Total War: Rome 2 is going to explore the human element by having Generals give inspiring speeches to the troops. How will this affect troops in battle? Will this identify an individuality among them? Will some struggle to disobey orders? 

“With the pre-battle speeches, absolutely. We’ve got a sophisticated mechanism and a particular trait with the general that there will be impact based on what he says. If it’s a battle for a capital city, this helps the event carry more significance. We want to make sure it’s about feedback and what we’re doing with our guys feels alive. With Rome 2, we didn’t just want a game where the units say ‘Sir, Yes Sir.’  We want our A.I. to react when an enemy charges them. We want to bring them to life.”

Q. You’re introducing Naval Combat to the game. How difficult is it to achieve a balance with this? How difficult has it been to introduce that and how will it affect multiplayer?

“It is quite tricky getting the game working in this way, and we’re still experimenting on how to optimize that. We use a feature of ancient war battles where the ships were seen as abstractive ships. The artillery on the ship is essentially like a land artillery. In Roman times, the land units on a ship were legionaries and so we’ve embedded that.

Of course, we’re still thinking about how this works in context of the game. We have to think about where we allow ships to land, and then think of it from a player’s point of view. Should they defend the beach, or do they allow the units to land, pull back and fight them further in-land or wait to find another choke-point. We’re thinking about a lot of things.”

Total War Rome 2 launches next year on PC.

Thirsty for more information? Why not read Phil’s report on the Developer Session from Eurogamer Expo?