Medieval 2: Total War Designer Diary #4 - Religion

Designer Dan Toose introduces us to how religion will work in this epic strategy game set in medieval Europe.

The Total War strategy games combine turn-based strategy with real-time tactical battles. In other words, you can manage a mighty empire on a map and then take command of your army directly in glorious battle. Medieval 2: Total War will revisit the setting of the original Medieval: Total War--bringing with it new graphics, new gameplay features, and a host of other improvements. This also includes religion. While religion is normally a touchy issue for most games, it can't be avoided when dealing with the history of medieval Europe. To introduce us to the new and revamped religion system in Medieval 2, we have designer Dan Toose. Medieval 2 is scheduled to ship later this year.

The pope may be your friend or a thorn in your side in Medieval 2.

Religion in Medieval 2

By Dan Toose
Game Designer, Creative Assembly Australia

Medieval 2: Total War is set in an era where faith ruled the lives of men, regardless of whether they were pauper or prince. For this reason, our team here at Creative Assembly has put considerable effort into creating the most robust religion system of any Total War game to date.

At no point did we want to make the game about religion; we make strategy games. However, a strategy game in a medieval setting that doesn't consider matters of faith would be taking away some of the greatest challenges rulers of the time faced: how to be seen as an angel as you conquer like a devil. What follows is a summary, over two parts, of how we went about working that into Medieval 2.

Even though there are many more faiths and denominations that could be included in Medieval 2, we decided on five: Catholicism, Orthodox Christianity, Islam, paganism, and heresy. The two Christian faiths and Islam represent the primary religions of the game, with paganism now entering its dying throes in the Old World and heresy being not so much a religion itself but a more general opposition to organized religion. For that reason, heresy is the enemy of all other religions in Medieval 2. Religious harmony leads to stability, whereas religious tension leads to unrest and conflict.

As for why we left out certain faiths, it simply came down to the faiths of the factions in our game. Religion can only be spread by a faction that actually builds religious structures and trains priests, so we didn't want to include other faiths only to have them wiped out during the course of our game.

Build religious structures to convert the inhabitants of a province to your religion.

Because of the importance of religion in the medieval period, we wanted to ensure that religion had a significant role to play in Medieval 2 without creating something complicated that the player had to micromanage. The key effect of religion is keeping your people happy, or more to the point, preventing them from becoming unhappy by not providing an environment where their chosen faith is dominant. Each region on the map has its population split up between the five religions. There are other ways religion affects Medieval 2 as well, such as crusades and jihads, dealing with the pope, and diplomatic effects when you find yourself at odds with the pope.

To ensure your religion is dominant in your lands, you will need to support the faith by financing the construction of churches or mosques. Once you build a religious structure, it will convert a percentage of the people in that region over to your faith. The more expensive and grand the building you invest in, the more absolute your faith's dominance will be. This means that once you spend the money on ensuring your faith is dominant in your own lands, the player can essentially let things run their course, unless heretics or religious figures of other faiths enter the lands, which brings us to the role of priests and imams in Medieval 2.

Building religious structures is useful for keeping your people happy, but sometimes you might conquer a region only to face immediate problems because the local populace does not share your faith. This is where creating a mobile conversion force is useful, and in Medieval 2, that means recruiting priests (or imams for Islamic factions). Priests are considered agents, like spies, assassins, and diplomats. Their religious conviction and power is represented by their piety attribute, and it not only affects how effectively they preach, but also how well they combat heresy. In regions where heresy is left unchecked, heretics start stalking the map, and aside from an assassin's blade, being put to trial for heresy by a priest is the only way the player can actively attempt to dispatch these extremely disruptive figures.

While religion has the same basic effects for all faiths in Medieval 2, those of the Catholic faith also have to deal with the authority and will of the pope. What the pope said was considered mandate, and that was something that was often a problem for the kings of Catholic factions, especially if it involved not attacking your annoying neighbor who also happened to be Catholic.

Deploy priests and other agents to deal with heretics.

So within Medieval 2, the pope is an extra authority figure to deal with, for those who normally answer to no other authority. If you play as a Catholic faction, you will receive missions from the pope, much in the same way that you received missions from the senate in Rome: Total War. However, the pope has far more personality than the senate ever did. That is because each pope develops individual traits as he rises through the ranks of the Catholic Church.

That concludes the first part of this diary on religion in Medieval 2. In the second part, I'll reveal details of how you manage your relationship with the pope when playing as a Catholic faction, how to avoid the threat of excommunication, the terror of the Inquisition, and even how you can get your own pope elected by rigging papal elections. I'll also look in detail at the risks and rewards of crusades and jihads.

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Discussion

97 comments
muffinballow
muffinballow

Dude, I'm catholic, to say God isn't real, will get you thrown into H***

Hemanthk
Hemanthk

Seems like a innovative concept to me altough derived from some earlier games

kakomann
kakomann

Momma always said not to talk about two things in life..... politics...... ....... and religion.

dfgbaby_NHP
dfgbaby_NHP

To skumakum. Im a modern day human and religion satisfies all my answers. also if religon isnt true then how do you explain the miracles of the world like turning water to wine, walking on water ( before wires ) , the destruction of walls without even touching them, and who can forget a friggen burning bush that stayed burning for 30 years without even a piece of ash.

TheGreatSteak
TheGreatSteak

Well... this is why religion is always a touchy subject lol.. this is why i don't discuss religion (or my lack of) because it just sparks complaints from both sides. Since the only ones who would know are the dead, it's not really a topic worth discussing unless it is a screaming question ie. if a place was discussing to convert to a theocracy or something. And i do believe that the universe created itself without divine interference, as it had all eternity (not like an apocalypse is going to happen in nothingness) to form itself into a stable universe. But then again, i don't really feel like defending us atheists because it just garners flames. Also sweet game indeed, i love the medieval period... i think i have a sword obsession lol

skumakum
skumakum

People arnt atheist because they think its cool. They are doing it because religion was designed the satisfy the minds of primitive humans. Nowadays people realise there aint some dude sitting on a throne throwing lighting bolts around the place and a bunch of books written by a bunch of randoms thousands of years ago is no way to base your ethics. p.s sweet game.

senortaco247
senortaco247

since this is religionspot.com we ought to discuss our faith in god, not our faith that this game will kick @$$ also, if you are going to say something, make sure it is correct and take advantage of the spell check button, it is right beneath submit, it takes five seconds!

Anak_ng_Bayan
Anak_ng_Bayan

Atheism is really becoming a huge fad nowadays. People left and right are declaring themselves atheists because they think it's cool and it makes them "enlightened intellectuals". I can't blame them, there's a huge amount of misconceptions and assumptions about religion nowadays because a lot of people aren't really aware. Having never been exposed to the full extent of religion, they attack what they don't understand (and no, just because you were born Catholic, and that you went to Catholic school doesn't mean you actually explored your faith and spirituality nor understood what it's all about). With their lack of knowledge and understanding, they fail to find the answers to their questions, or are unsatisfied with what they get. So they discard what little (if any) faith they have and turn away from it, and then call the faithful ignorant simpletons. Anyway, great game, too bad it triggered all these religion discussions (even worse that I got involved, *sigh*)

TorugotoShinsan
TorugotoShinsan

On the Religion discussion: We'll I've not seen any concrete evidence that proves or disproves the exsistence of a God which is why I tend to be Agnostic if anything. On the game: It is nice to see that it will play a big part in the game. Religion was very influential in those days. The Pope acting like a deeper Senate from RTW sound good too. i was pretty dissapointed when all he really did was excommunicate people on MTW.

dfgbaby_NHP
dfgbaby_NHP

i no he was a jew but jews still believe in god and plus its not dumb its the truth. After the big bang the universe would have collapsed back in.without divine power wd be the size of an atom and my house wd be the same size as me.

OhGodISuck
OhGodISuck

ha. that was so illogical and stupid it made my head hurt. there's nothing more ignorant than falling on your kness and thinking there is a god because you are either too stupid and/or lazy to figure out ot the world. oh, and einstein was not a christian, that fact has been proven in a letter he sent to a friend. i'm not saying god does not exist, just that your argurment was mind numbingly dumb. still, i am with toni, just respect other people, their faith or lack there of.

dfgbaby_NHP
dfgbaby_NHP

to all atheists listen plz. not to push religon but SCIENCE ITSELF (omg) says theres a god. They say after the universe was created in te big bang the universe would have collapsed back in on itself. Now than imagine the power it would take to stop it from collapsing. God "Im not proving there is no god. But proving how god did it!" Albert Einstein P.S. plz stop proclaiming your an atheist. ITS REALLY ANOYING!!!!!!!!!

final_toni
final_toni

um... this is a game rigth ? i am atheist ,and no am not a 13 year old kid. i think that you guys MUST respect others believes no mather wat the subject is, RESPECT peapol thats wat we need more in this world. "respect to be respected" (nice post BrutezNode)

Amonwilde
Amonwilde

TheGreatSteak wrote: "Yay for heresy, all i can say is hope i can get it,so i can go around preaching something that offends some people but makes others think. If i can't be a heretic (i think Heresy represents any non major religion in europe at the time, ie. theistic satanism, atheism, deism, and vampirism... yes, there were cases of lords and ladies taking a blood tithe from their serfs) anyways, if i can't be a heretic i'll just be an odinist pagan lol." Heresy during this period did not include atheists, satanists, or, um, vampires. The heretics of the high middle ages were generally early Protestants, such as holdover Jansenists, Hugonauts, Arians (NOT ARYANS), dualists, and eventually Lutherans and Calvinists. Also, the Church was certainly not a force of stagnation during the Dark Ages (which the game does not cover) as has been stated by previous posters. Monasteries kept literacy and the writings of the ancients intact after the collapse of Roman rule in the west, and monks themselves were the extremists of the era. They were among the few individuals with enough learning and conviction to ferment change both within the Church and secular society, and were responsible for riots as well as reforms throughout the middle ages. This legacy extended to the high middle ages, as well-- just look how much Martin Luther upset the European status quo in his time.

monish_05m
monish_05m

Man I for one just can't wait to buy it do they sell beta too

drummer_1
drummer_1

Yes you two I know this. I just wanted to let everone know how I felt is all. I know this game is tring to recreate the middle ages. I just hate it when fundies crap all over what I beleive so I feel that I have to retalliate with my own facts. Yes I can be a bit harsh, but it is no different than some of the fundies that I have spoken with. All double talk and such. And yes this is the only PC game that I am looking forward to this year. It will rule and will kick ass and thats a fact. Peace and love.

NuclearDruid
NuclearDruid

Wow people... wow, it's a game. Get over your religious beliefs, no one is wrong about them... but don't talk about it here! >.>

Serene_Chaos
Serene_Chaos

Everybody just chill the **** out! this game isnt promoting nor denying any religion. it is simply attempting to recreate the middle ages. so calm down, shot your insulting, opinionated, ignarant, arrogant, stubborn mouths and enjoy the ****ing game.

drummer_1
drummer_1

So the Bible does not have violence in it huh? 2 Kings 19:35 And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the LORD went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses. Psalm 137:9 Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones. Isaiah 66:16 For by fire and by his sword will the LORD plead with all flesh: and the slain of the LORD shall be many. Leviticus 24:16 And he that blasphemeth the name of the LORD, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name of the Lord, shall be put to death. And the Quran... The Cow 2:191 And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution is worse than slaughter. And fight not with them at the Inviolable Place of Worship until they first attack you there, but if they attack you (there) then slay them. Such is the reward of disbelievers. The Family of 'Imran 3:85 And whoso seeketh as religion other than the Surrender (to Allah) it will not be accepted from him, and he will be a loser in the Hereafter. Think people!

drummer_1
drummer_1

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Suiko
Suiko

OK, everyone needs to stop arguing about religion, you sound like a bunch of 13 year old atheists who have a problem with god and if anyone makes a factual entry you just ignore it. And by the way, this game takes place in the high middle ages (1000-1300AD)and ends at the beginning of the age of exploration(1500s), and has nothing to do with the dark ages(476-1000AD) so go complain about the church in the dark ages somewhere else where the people who want to read about the game won't have to see it. But the game looks amazing, can't wait to assassinate some priests and appose the church.

brenocloud
brenocloud

scruffybawls is right it is called the Dark Ages because the catholic church wouldn't allow science discoveries and growth, even ancient societies such as the romans and greeks were more advanced then most societies in the Dark Ages

brenocloud
brenocloud

scruffybawls is right it is called the Dark Ages because the catholic church wouldn't allow science discoveries and growth, even ancient societies such as the romans and greeks were more advanced then most societies in the Dark Ages

TorugotoShinsan
TorugotoShinsan

"(except for Islam, where in the Koran "believers" are instructed to pursue "infidels" and bring them to the "righteous faith" or pay tribute while at mercy, or ultimately: death." You seem to be forgetting that when Islam was first established about (600AD IIRC), it was treated as more of a heretical cult then a religion by the other religious groups in the area. Muslims literally had to fight just so they could worship in the way they wanted. The term "infadel" gets taken out of context a lot. "Infadel" would be referring to the people who persecuted the Muslims not someone who wasn't of thier faith. All those passages in the Qu'ran were permitting was the right of Muslims to defend thier faith. Like most holy texts they don't get "updated" so those passages remained even when Islam was quite safe from the influence of other faiths.

raistlin_lives
raistlin_lives

An Army of Heretics...that sounds nice...Like an army of zeros and nobodies. I'm gonna crush the Pope like a bug.

TheGreatSteak
TheGreatSteak

Yay for heresy, all i can say is hope i can get it,so i can go around preaching something that offends some people but makes others think. If i can't be a heretic (i think Heresy represents any non major religion in europe at the time, ie. theistic satanism, atheism, deism, and vampirism... yes, there were cases of lords and ladies taking a blood tithe from their serfs) anyways, if i can't be a heretic i'll just be an odinist pagan lol.

aragornjer
aragornjer

man this is cool. this will make the game much harder, yet much more fun than that of the first game. I CANT WAIT FOR THIS GAME TO COME OUT!!!!!!!!!11

boricualou
boricualou

lol wow see the discusion this game brings up? people get into it, not that im saying thats bad, its good. o and peeweeshift i got the same problem man, im going to have to get a new computer just to run the program lol

peeweeshift
peeweeshift

fun game but i don;t know if my pc wil run on full settings anymore

BrutezNode
BrutezNode

heh first what about a no. there was growth.. there were discoveries (farming techniques, mostly.) there was science in monasteries. and hell, there was order. one has to wonder if there was more order in the dark ages than in our times... and you know, telling people to stop talking about history, and talk about a game, and in the same sentence telling them to grow up... i find it funny :)

scruffybawls
scruffybawls

and they were called the Dark Ages, because civilazation became stagnant, experiencing no growth, no new discoveries, no science, only warring factions, no order. w.e.

scruffybawls
scruffybawls

are yall seriously arguing over the renaissance, the middle ages, and the dark ages? all of yall need to grow up, because nothing is black and white, yes churches and men were corrupt, they still are and will always be. anyways, on to the game, i cant wait to play as a heretic or pagan, heres to the old gods

BrutezNode
BrutezNode

"MXVIII hrodelbert, The dark ages were brought on by the church not allowing the common people to learn,read,write, or become involved with religous and governmental polictics. It was called the dark ages because the people of Europe were kept "in the dark". The reason for this was the theory an empty mind is a loyal mind. Made people more easy to control." You, sir, are either verty blind or very cynical. Or both. It was the "enlightened" (i'm not sure if this is the correct translation, i mean people like Voltaire and Rousseau) philosophers of the 17th-18th century who called the (high) middle ages dark ages. It was because they were so proud of their new ways of thinking (particularly deism and ateism), and were so fed up with the very corrupt Church of their time that they despised the times when the Church had the most influence over the lives of man - the middle ages. They were convinced their age was an age of light, therefore, the age that they all despised and laughed it was an age of darkness in their eyes. History has shown that these "enlightened" people aren't better than those that lived in their despised dark ages.. They gave mankind some very new and true ideas like human rights, emancipation, and such. But they weren't angels either.. Just think about the Jacobins, Robespierre. Or think about how Voltaire realized in his deathbed that God existed afterall... About the Church keeping people in the dark. I don't deny that the Inquisition killed a lot of innocent scientist, or forced them to "admit" their theories were wrong. (e.g. Kopernikus, or Galilei) It was because the leaders of the Church were and are men.. and not angels. But they in no way kept anyone in the dark. In fact, it was the Church that run the schools. Without the church, reading and writing would have been completely forgotten. No, the common peasant (and nobleman, and king) could not write - not because the Church banned them from this knowledge, but simply because they did not require it. Christian monasteries were the centers of research, and they developed for example many farming upgrades. It were the monks that copied and translated the works of Aristotle and other classical philosophers from arabian to latin. (they were brought to Europe by the crusades). Keeping people in the dark wasn't the business they were doing..

BrutezNode
BrutezNode

"Limbo, read the holy books. All the Abrahamic religions (Christianity, Islam, Judaism) are very specific in their instructions of what to do with non-believers" "Read my links. You'll find the same sorts of instructions in those religions. It's just that people today ignore and cherry pick those parts in those religions. It doesn't change the fact taht the instructions are there." Yes, the Bible quite clearly states what to do with non-believers.. How about "Love your enemy"? How about the acts of St. Paul and St. Peter? The New Testament has no instructions to destroy non-believers.. only to spread the faith. Not by steel, but by the way Christians live. It is quite ironic that with Christianity having very pacifistic teachings, its followers became maybe the most agressive conquerors of history, committing their crimes in the name of Christianity.. Your links mostly contain quotes from the Old Testament, which is FAR more complex to be comprehended without any specific education (theology, throughout history of the jews and the ancient world). Only an example for this: in the Old Testament God quite usually destroys are large group of non-jews, or orders his followers to do so, like when conquering the promised land. If you read it for the first time, and have no specific knowledge on this subject, you think you have the exact proof for Christianity being agressive. However, the Bible was not written by God, but by men, under the inspiration of God. And there is a lot of difference between the way men of the ancient times thought, and the way we think. For the jews that wrote the Old Testament 3000 years ago, sin and man were completely one, and inseparatable. Therefore, to destory sin (evil) they have to destroy the man as well. E.g. in the story of Loth God destroys an entire city, because they were sinners. In the eyes of a jew of that time, God did not massacre thousands of people, but eradicated a lot of sin. We think differently. The Old Testament was not written for the people of the 21th century. It was written for the jews of the first millenium BC.

Kodai_kun
Kodai_kun

"except for Islam, where in the Koran "believers" are instructed to pursue "infidels" and bring them to the "righteous faith" or pay tribute while at mercy, or ultimately: death. Much unlike Judaism or Christianity for those who claim that all 'Abrahamic Religions' are merciless). " Read my links. You'll find the same sorts of instructions in those religions. It's just that people today ignore and cherry pick those parts in those religions. It doesn't change the fact taht the instructions are there.

MartyredShadow
MartyredShadow

I wish you could play as the pope. That would kick ass; as soon as I saw the Papal States faction in the original Medieval, I wanted to play it.

boricualou
boricualou

strategy game lovers should defienetly get this game, plus this is the only game you can get that u can't beat in a few days lol

ghaus1
ghaus1

hey i am a muslim..and i am dying to see this game.......i want to fight the wars of crusades.....that is my favorite part....

amakar_basic
amakar_basic

I would just like to clear out some points for our fellow gamers here: The "Dark" Ages, gained their name from the Renaissance, when Protestants wrote of the as a period of Catholic corruption, to develop a counter image of catholicism and promote their "Reformation". Generally, it's supposed to be considered the era after the fall of Rome in the 5th century, and the rise of feudalism by the 10th. Contrary to popular belief, that age was not an age of relentless killing and mindless savagery (although those aspects did exist, they weren't as plentiful as they were later told). It is true that all faiths lead to savagery & zeal when held by the wrong hands, but the case is the same when carrying a torch, if it touches you, you will get burned, but if held carefully it lights the way (except for Islam, where in the Koran "believers" are instructed to pursue "infidels" and bring them to the "righteous faith" or pay tribute while at mercy, or ultimately: death. Much unlike Judaism or Christianity for those who claim that all 'Abrahamic Religions' are merciless).

Superion74
Superion74

Looks like a good game, but I'm still on the fence and haven't decided whether to get it or not.

Dragonstring11
Dragonstring11

I'm well aware of that Boricualou, i just meant that the instances are much less frequent than say...the Christians in the middle ages, and extremist muslims now. On a lighter note, i can't wait till i can lead some tiny nation, like Denmark and conquer all of Europe in true 3D!

boricualou
boricualou

"Dragonstring11:.(altough as a Jew, I have to say that Jewish leaders have never advocated violence, with a select few exceptions) get real dude all religions have violent time sooner or later, never use never

boricualou
boricualou

I've been reading the commments people have left talking about the Middle Ages and how chaotic they were with all the "holy wars" and it's true that in the Bible, Koran, and Torah the books don't encorage violence but it is the people in power that want even more power use the excuse of "God's Will" to create wars so that the religious officials can become wealthy and strong using the manipulated peoples. Its all politics. Anyway enough of history I think this is game is gunna be on the "PC Greatest Hits" list in no time because who can't love it?! Wars, massive battles, man this game is going to be great! :)

Whytewulv
Whytewulv

Dragonstring11 Umm the modern ideal of terrorist came about in the late 40's early fifties I believe, and guess which reliegion it was an where in the world? Hint: It was againt the UK I hate bringing it up. We in the US have been and continue to make mistakes Islamic extremists are no better Political demogoges are as bad internationally Anyway... I hope we all take on TW Med2 with the spirit of a great game that can emerge us in worlds we do NOT know ;) ..........Thankfully

Gajrai
Gajrai

To be honest, I think the middle ages (the dark ages being a somewhat anachronistic label) are far too complex to be summarized in the amount of space given... although discussion is good, most of what has been said is interpretive, and based largely on personal opinion. Everyone is an expert, yet much dialogue isn't particularly objective. On a lighter note, the game looks really good, and I cannot wait to play it.

Dragonstring11
Dragonstring11

Here's my interpretation of this mess: The Dark Ages are refered to as that because the Roman Empire had collapsed. Barbarians then took over as kings and lords, which led to feudalism, which is what caused the average peasant to be highly oppressed and unknowledgeable. Religion was a positive and negative factor in it all. On one hand, monks preserved the history of the time as best they could and were also sources of literacy. On the other hand, it also caused the crusades, constant discrimination against minorities, and the Spanish Inquisition. One other thing: Nowhere in the Torah, Bible, or Koran is there encouragement of violence and murder, only the reference to death and violence in early history(although i can't personally vouch for the Koran, as i've never read it). However, Medival religious leaders often misinterpreted these writings as an excuse for such violence.(altough as a Jew, I have to say that Jewish leaders have never advocated violence, with a select few exceptions)