The trick to the success of the Total War franchise lies with its engine. According to Al Bickham, the communications manager at The Creative Assembly, no other developer has an engine to rival the complexity of Total War’s.
Check out our Total War: Warhammer II PC review.
In an interview with Bickham at EGX, he told us that the strength of the engine meant that the Total War team rarely looked abroad to find inspiration for their games. While the game’s designers are all seasoned strategy game players, Bickham says “we feel like we’ve got a pretty unique thing at Total War which still no one does.”
That, apparently, is the result of “years and years and years of unique engines.” Bickham says “Nobody else has an engine which does full grand-scale turn-based campaigns, as well as having a completely other half to the game, which is the battles. The way those two things intermesh is a pretty unique thing and it's a pretty unique challenge.”
Not simply content with having two interlinking game modes, the engine also has to be able to interact within itself. Bickham says players want to see “continuity between those two parts of the game. You move an army onto a settlement to attack something, so you then obviously want to see that settlement, so the battle and the campaign game have to interact. The results of that battle are felt in the campaign when your guys are wounded or you’ve destroyed a faction. The intermeshing of those two things keep us in a fairly unique place design wise, so we don’t really take much inspiration from other games.