After wrapping up their Warhammer trilogy in the most blockbuster way possible, Creative Assembly have just announced a brand new Total War game based on the stuff the series made its name on: actual human history. And this time we’re going back to ancient Egypt.
The next game is called Total War: Pharaoh, and is set during the Bronze Age Collapse, a period just over 3000 years ago that saw the civilizations of the Near East, North Africa and Europe have a very bad time.
Here’s the game’s debut trailer:
Since that’s incredibly light on actual Total War details (and gameplay shots/footage), we’ve got to head to the game’s Steam page (and this FAQ) for more info. Seems there will be eight leaders you can choose from, ranging from Egyptians to Anatolians to Canaanites, as well as customisable campaign options like the ability to randomise start locations.
Interestingly, it appears that, despite the possibility for some supernatural, Mummy-adjacent magic, this game is playing it entirely straight. That’s the first time Total War has done that in a long time; the Warhammer games were obviously full of wild shit, Troy leaned into mythology and even the last major historical release, Three Kingdoms, had its fair share of the fantastic.
That’s not to say that similar effects won’t be present here. Instead of having magic change the feel of a battle, Pharaoh is introducing a more dynamic weather system to the game, where instead of battles taking place under pre-determined conditions things can change wildly in the middle of an encounter, as one minute the sun is shining and the next you’re being minced in the middle of a sandstorm (the game will also have dynamic fires that can burn down cities in urban battles, and torrential storms as well).
One big question left unanswered by the game’s reveal is…just how big is it, exactly? The scheduling demands of the series have meant that over the past decade Total War development has been split between larger, full-scale releases like Three Kingdoms and the Warhammer games, while in between smaller titles like Troy and Thrones of Britannia have dropped.
Just where Pharaoh lies between these is an important question, because the latter games—given the “Saga” branding to denote they were smaller titles—were not great, and kinda poisoned that label as a selling point. Yet this game, despite launching with a full price (it’s got an rrp of $60), seems… I dunno, smaller in scale than a full-bodied Total War would be? Especially since there are only three factions playable at launch (you can choose from four Egyptian leaders, two Hittites and two Canaanites).
We’ll find out soon enough; the game is out in October on PC.