Medieval 2: Total War Designer Diary #6 - Mission Design

Designer Penny Sweetser tells us how you'll be pursuing missions for the pope, nobles, assassins' guilds, and more in this epic strategy game.

While many real-time strategy games rely on the familiar formula of resource gathering, base building, and army crushing, the Total War series has stood apart for its more epic take on world conquest. Like the board game Risk, Total War games let you try and conquer a region one territory at a time by shifting armies around on a map. When oppposing armies meet, you can then participate in gigantic real-time battles where thousands of soldiers fight and die for you. While your ultimate goal in Medieval 2: Total War is the conquest of Europe, you'll also have plenty to do on the side. That's because you'll be tasked with all sorts of missions from a variety of organizations. Accomplish the missions and you'll be rewarded, but fail them and you may earn the displeasure, and even the wrath, of some powerful organizations. To explain, we have designer Penny Sweetser. Medieval 2 is scheduled to ship in November.

On a Mission

By Penny Sweetser
Game Designer, Creative Assembly Australia

Hi, I'm Penny Sweetser, a game designer on Medieval 2: Total War. One of my main areas of work is designing the campaign game mechanics, including the design and implementation of the missions that are assigned to the player. In this diary, I'm going to take you through some of the work myself and the team has done in this particular area.

Missions come from a variety of organizations, including the pope, nobles, and guilds.

In Rome: Total War, the player was assigned various missions by the Roman Senate. These missions were designed to give players interesting, small, side objectives to pursue to help them on their way to achieving the main objective of the game: global domination. The main campaign can be quite overwhelming, so these missions helped to give the player concrete objectives, as well as give flavor to the game in the form of the Senate.

In Medieval 2, we wanted to extend the mission system to provide more medieval flavor and add greater variety to the types of missions assigned. To do so, we decided to create an array of different entities that would issue the player missions. Each one would have different goals and motivations and assign different types of missions accordingly. In Medieval 2, the player is issued missions from the pope, a council of nobles, and guilds, as well as other factions.

The pope is an important presence in the game and is always watching over the shoulder of Catholic factions to ensure they are on the right path. He expects that players will pay proper respect to their faith by building churches, recruiting priests to preach, keeping the peace with fellow Catholics, and ensuring that their people remain properly loyal to the Catholic faith. The pope issues missions to players to try and ensure that these goals are met. However, the pope himself is the leader of a faction and has his own biases toward different factions depending on their diplomatic relations with him and their dedication to Catholicism. Consequently, he can be particularly harsh on factions that have not been keeping the faith and turn a blind eye to those who are paying their dues. He assigns missions, rewards, and penalties accordingly.

The council of nobles is an entity within the player's faction, made up of men of importance within the kingdom. As such, they generally have the best interests of the player in mind. They give missions to the player to help them expand their territory and maintain diplomatic relations with other factions. However, their actions are sometimes motivated by more personal reasons, and they can issue missions to further their own ends.

The mission generator will offer a greater variety of tasks than seen in Rome: Total War, but expect to see the familiar blockade mission, as well.

There are various types of guilds in the game that can offer to establish guild halls in the player's settlements. Depending on how a kingdom is run and how the settlements are governed, different guilds will be attracted to different regions. Once these guilds are established in the player's settlements, they begin making requests of the player in exchange for certain benefits. Missions that are given by guilds reflect the goals and motivations of the specific guilds. Some of the available guilds include the assassins' guild, the Templar's chapter house, and the explorers' guild.

The player will also receive demands or requests from other factions. These can come from individuals within the faction, seeking external help to further themselves within the faction, or from the faction as a whole. If the player makes an agreement with another faction to carry out a certain action in the future (for example, attack another faction), this agreement will become a mission, and players will receive their rewards when the action is completed.

The mission system itself has been improved from Rome: Total War to provide the player with the most relevant and varied set of missions throughout the game. When a new mission needs to be issued, each mission in the system is evaluated to determine if there is a valid target. Then each valid mission is issued with a score, based on a set of criteria, such as the best available target for the mission, time since this mission was last given, time in the game, the mission giver's attitude to the player, and the player's current assets (for example, money, available agents, and so on). The result is that the player gets an interesting set of varied, achievable, and relevant missions throughout the course of the campaign.

A mission journal will keep you up-to-date on all your various missions.

The presentation of the missions have been improved to make them a more prominent and usable part of the game. A Missions button has been added to the user interface, which brings up a dedicated missions scroll, outlining the player's active missions, with information about time remaining, mission goals, rewards, and penalties. Players can also click on any of their active missions to highlight and zoom to the mission target on the map.

After we had a chance to play the campaign game with the new missions, we were able to tune the difficulty, duration, and rewards associated with each mission. It was important to try to balance out the mission system so different types of missions were assigned with the right frequency and that the player receives new and interesting challenges throughout the game. Also, since one of our campaign programmers, Scott Lowther, did such a good job in creating the missions system, we were able to easily add in some new missions and mission variations. The missions in Medieval 2 will give the player a rich, varied, and challenging game-playing experience.

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Discussion

33 comments
Muneel
Muneel

To be honest I don't like this whole 'missions' and 'varied gameplay' idea. Unneeded complications in an already more than great game tbh. The pope giving a sovereign king missions? My history is a bit rusty but it just doesn't sound right w.r.t. history. And I bet it will be like 'Hello my child, plx take over Egypt in the next 5 turns or get exocommunication kekethxbye'. All this while you have your own plans going on and then the pope, with his vastly improved AI routines, which were copied from RTW but improved greatly, will ruin it for you. GG.

Tay_Esh
Tay_Esh

SWEET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Canadiancowboy2
Canadiancowboy2

This lookst pretty good. I also hope that there would be a Rome Total war 2.

BigNudeGuardian
BigNudeGuardian

i'd better update my memory if i am goin to play this one

Gears_0f_L0ve
Gears_0f_L0ve

Ive always wanted to see medieval total war this way!!

_Sam_
_Sam_

It's looking good

rend75
rend75

Does the pope still try to give missions even if you don't align yourself with the Catholics?... if you are in the Christian faction for instance. I got tired of the missions in Rome TW because they would try to get me to go half way around the map in most cases for some settlement that had no value to me at that point, especially when I was involved in a war much closer to home with the Gauls. The fact that I would then lose popularity made it even more irritating. It was nice to hear they were re-working the mission system, and it seems like the missions are more reasonable and logical... but I didn't really hear anything about the negative affects of rejecting a mission? Can you just reject a mission outright? Some negative affects for rejecting or not completing a mission seem ok...but, I think that needs to be balanced with the fact that you are the ultimate ruler and deference should be given to you as far as popularity hits. After all, if you are keeping the people happy and healthy as a whole, should your popularity fall just because you don't see any value in a mission imposed by a guild when something of greater strategic value has more priority? Now, if you were a Catholic faction, that dynamic with the Pope and his mission requests would of course have more bearing on popularity, but I hope they balance this system well so the player doesn't feel annoyed with it as I tended to be in Rome TW.

boricualou
boricualou

while im sure there are pentalties for ignoring some missions (such as one from the Pope) the ones in the screenshots don't seem to say anything specific

Shadow59918
Shadow59918

Awesome! I just hope that we still have the freedom to chose our own routes to total conquest without continually being hampered by the penalties of missions we chose not to complete. Either way, I am looking extremely forward to locking myself in a room with a computer for several weeks to play this.

Archon_basic
Archon_basic

Sweet, a Knights Templar chapter house! :D I thought the Senate provided some extra depth for the Roman factions, and it sounds like the new improvements will help make diplomacy a bigger part of the game and make the game more interesting. Can't wait for November.

Nuclear_Kernel
Nuclear_Kernel

There is such a thing as improvement gone wrong. GREAT! Now everybody tells you want do. I hated in RTW the Senate missions that' s I kill all them >:) Nobles, assasin guild giving mission to you? I don' t do them want they wil get rid of a nuissance if order them. Something like "Sorry my liege but you didn' t gave us a tax break so now we will take a break".

coljoe99
coljoe99

I hope you bring forward the diplomat and spy tracker from Medival War. It is almost impossible to keep track of these people on the board in Rome.

Ol_skool_Gamer
Ol_skool_Gamer

There is no such thing as a bad improvement! Keep on going.

ghasek
ghasek

gr8, now I'm wet

Ingaroo
Ingaroo

I hope they are going to proof-read those mission texts before releasing the game.

milanetto
milanetto

I Just wanna know how are east they are taking it, yeah we can eventually get to america, but how far are they going to extend in aisa? On the campaign map.

BounceDK
BounceDK

I hope they have improved it because the missions/Senate in Rome were a pain in the rear.

Sun2Devil
Sun2Devil

Scott Lowther is the man! His hard work gets us a little more variety in our game play experience. Excellente!

MichaelGeorge70
MichaelGeorge70

i have owned all the total wars from shogun to rome (just need the alexander addon) and it looks like my family wont be seeing me till summer next year cos this game looks AWSOME!!!!

ErichAlexander
ErichAlexander

I just can get enough...cant wait to hold the game in my hand!!!

arangadillo
arangadillo

i am so siked for this game! my friend lent me ROME a few months back and i have been hooked. i cant wait for november.

supamancam
supamancam

Yup, this game will be a cut above anything in the genre, almost certainly... Can't wait!

maxim57
maxim57

Awesomeo powa! I just hope the campaign AI is smarter than the terrible one in RTW.

blitzkrieg13
blitzkrieg13

No doubt. This will be GOTY. Screw freakin' oblivion. YEAH!!!!

mattcrwi
mattcrwi

sounds like a refreshing new take

generalwilliam
generalwilliam

* The description of each mission is very detailed too which makes the game sound much more real! It's nice to see develpers payed attention to this detail =)

generalwilliam
generalwilliam

Cool! I liked the variety of missions and the fact that they're not coming only from the pope but from guilds and from the council of nobles as well. sounds really interesting. i can't wait to get my hands on this game!!! :D