The Creative Assembly has been era-agnostic when it comes to releasing new installments in its long-running Total War action/real-time strategy franchise. After launching the franchise in feudal Japan, the series has journeyed to the Middle Ages, Rome, the New World, and then back again to the Old, in no particular chronological order.
In keeping with Creative Assembly's capricious stroll through history, the Sega-owned studio announced that its 7 million-unit-selling strategy franchise will return to its roots with Shogun 2: Total War. Following on from the release of Napoleon: Total War in February, Shogun 2: Total War will be available for the PC in 2011.
The original Shogun set the tone for the Total War franchise in 2000, gaining critical approbation that has largely continued for the past 10 years. For Shogun 2, Creative Assembly will be returning to 16th-century Japan, during the tumultuous Sengoku period. Players assume the role of a Daimyo, or clan leader, who must engage with fellow warlords, be it through conflict or diplomacy, to reunite the sundered island nation.
As for changes under the hood, Creative Assembly noted that it has made substantial refinements to the game's artificial intelligence, "developed according to Sun Tzu's principles in the Art of War." Those who prefer matching their battle acumen against living, breathing opponents will also have a number of new multiplayer modes, which support up to eight in competitive and cooperative engagements.
The studio has also introduced a new character progression system with Shogun 2, allowing gamers to assume leadership of one of nine clans and level up their own warlord and his emissaries through battle. Other features played up by the studio include deformable terrain based on weather conditions, as well as coastal battles in naval combat.