The next step in the Total War: Warhammer trilogy has been unveiled. Total War: Warhammer II has an announcement trailer, starring three of the next game’s four factions.
Everything you could possibly want to know about Total War: Warhammer 2, all in one place.
A group of High Elf spearmen escorts their powerful mage, Teclis (you can tell by the staff) to a magical object in a jungle. They’re attacked by a party of Dark Elves led by the bitter Prince Malekith, who are in turn attacked by the jungle locals, the Lizardmen. A carnosaur squashes a witch elf - it’s awesome. With Malekith and Teclis both making an appearance, you can bet on them being two of the new legendary lords.
An announcement accompanying the trailer confirms that the game’s map will take us to these factions’ homelands - Naggaroth, Ulthuan and Lustria. Developers Creative Assembly also say there will be a fourth faction, which they haven’t announced, but the presence of a rat in the trailer’s final scene hints with the subtlety of a brick that it will be the Skaven.
Shoring up that likelihood is the news that the world map will include a fourth continent: The Southlands. They lie to the south of the Old World and were overrun by the Skaven Clan Pestilens, though the Lizardmen, Dwarfs, Greenskins and High Elves also have a presence there. The Southlands are also on the same landmass as Khemri, the realm of the Tomb Kings, and Araby, a human kingdom which has never had a rulebook in the tabletop game.
This could mean Khemri and Araby will be present, in a geographic sense at the very least. We had the chance to ask CA, but they were cagey with the details, confirming only that “chunks of the Southlands” will be in the game. So we’re officially speculating now, but in my book the Tomb Kings just became favourites for the first post-launch DLC faction, while we could see Araby as a minor, non-playable faction, like Estalia and Tilea in the current game.
CA have also discussed the new campaign. Where in episode one the climactic event was the invasion of Chaos, episode two will turn on the Great Vortex at the heart of Ulthuan, created by an elven mage to drain Chaos from the world. The good guys will have to defend it, while the bad guys will have to disrupt it - CA say you’ll do this by pursuing “rituals”, which might take the form of quests. You can complete these independently of your territorial conquests, and so can the AI, so CA are hoping this will keep you invested even into the later stages of a campaign, when it can be tempting to switch off as you canter to victory. Now, even if your armies are unstoppable, a rival could still win if you’ve been neglecting the vortex.
Finally, with an island in the centre of the map, and three other continents surrounding it (four, if you count the Old World), surely, this means boats? Again, we asked CA, and again, it sounds like they’re saving the details on how you’ll explore the seas for a later date. They did confirm that we won’t see fully-fledged naval combat, but we will have to “cross perilous bodies of ocean”, so that will be handled somehow.
“Total War: Warhammer II represents the next step in our trilogy, our vision for the most incredible fantasy strategy series ever made,” says game director Ian Roxburgh. “The success of the first game has increased our ambition; we’re not only going to deliver a thrilling campaign in the sequel, but also an additional combined campaign, the biggest so far, for owners of both.”
It sounds like the licence holders are pleased, too. “We’re thrilled to see the sequel to last years smash hit Total War: Warhammer coming later this year,” says Jon Gillard, head of licensing at Games Workshop. “Sega and The Creative Assembly continue to astound us with their ability in crafting the Warhammer Fantasy Battles world in further glorious pageantry, with races never realised on this scale before in a video game. We are proud to be in partnership with them on this next great step in the franchise.”