Creative Assembly gets Medieval again

Developer returns to PCs with first direct sequel in Total War universe, sets gamers on path to conquest in Holy Lands, New World.

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After a brief dalliance with hack-and-slash console gaming, The Creative Assembly is returning to the PC real-time-strategy world with Medieval 2: Total War.

"Medieval 2: Total War is the result of 7 years' continuous development of the Total War series and has been designed to appeal to all gamers, not just hardcore strategy fans," Creative Assembly studio director Mike Simpson said in a statement. Simpson hyped the game, saying, "Each game in the series has outshone the previous one and Medieval 2: Total War is no exception."

Not only will the game handle battles with 10,000 troops (as its predecessor did), but it will also outfit them with their own armor, helmet, and weapons for some visual variety. Players who zoom in on a fray will be able to watch the 200-plus unit types fight with new combat choreography that includes blocks, parries, combo attacks, and finishing moves.

While it covers essentially the same time period as its predecessor, the years of 1080-1530, Medieval 2: Total War expands the scope of the game well beyond Europe's borders. The campaign mode will allow players to test their mettle in the New World in battles with the Aztecs. Religion will continue to play a large role in the game; players can embark on Crusades at the behest of the pope, ignore the papacy entirely and risk excommunication, or plot the pope's downfall and install a puppet pope in his place.

Medieval 2: Total War will be published by Sega and is slated for a winter 2006 release in North America and Europe.

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