Total War Battles: Kingdom Brings New RTS to Mobile

Touch-screen strategy.


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Developer Creative Assembly is bringing another Total War entry to iOS and Android devices, creating a cross-platform playing field with PC and Mac.

The free-to-play Total War Battles: Kingdom entered open beta on PC in April, 2015. Since then, Creative Assembly has been working on a mobile version of the realm-building game, complete with new controls for the touch-based platform.

Kingdom is in no way the first RTS game on mobile. Creative Assembly itself released Total War Battles: Shogun in 2012, and a handful of developers have worked around the obstacles a touch-screen presents. Starfront: Collision, Plague Inc., and the retro-minimalistic Rymdkapsel have all found success among the hordes of app store selections vying for attention. These games work because of their game design, but also because they capitalize on the advantages a touch screen offers.

With Kingdom, Creative Assembly hopes to do the same. And oddly enough, it's returning to the past to do so. During a recent demo creative director Renaud Charpentier showed us how Kingdom functions on iPad. In order to mitigate any accidental unit selections or commands, Kingdom uses what Charpentier called an "old school" system. You select individual units by tapping a corresponding icon on the edge of the screen. Icons also control artillery and other off-screen support possibilities.

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"We could have made it about swiping, and other touch controls that look really cool," Charpentier said. "But that doesn't work. With these controls, you can play 1,000 battles and not make a mistake once."

To perform early tests in the development process, Creative Assembly soft launched Kingdom in several territories. Charpentier said 500,000 players in total played the game, allowing Creative Assembly to refine Kingdom based on feedback. The developer also scaled the UI and optimized performance to make sure the mobile version can function with other devices in cross-platform play. As of now, Charpentier and his team are working on testing Android devices--because of the vast range of options, however, this is taking the team slightly longer.

With Total War games dating back 15 years, and a previous RTS on mobile devices, Creative Assembly is no stranger to the real-time strategy genre. Total War Battles: Kingdom is in open beta on Steam right now, but releases later this year on mobile.

Mike Mahardy on Google+

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