This morning as a teaser for the big Ides of March reveal (is it Vampire Counts? It’s definitely Vampire Counts), Creative Assembly released some news regarding the siege AI in the up and coming strategy game Total War: Warhammer. Ignoring the fact that its already the Ides of March where I am *grumble grumble,* this is still an equally exciting piece of news. As exciting as the campaign footage they’ve been teasing for months now? Who can say. Today’s full blog post can be read here. Read it? Good, but what does it all mean?! What about the children!?
Obvious answers aside (siege AI shouldn’t be too dumb; they’ll be fine, its not like its heroin), there’s a lot of interesting changes being made to the format of siege battles in Total War games. The first change, and the one I’m most excited about, is the size of the cities and walls. They’re making the walls larger, wider, more central to combat. Anyone even passingly familiar with the world of Warhammer knows that city walls are a staple of story telling; they’re an ecosystem to themselves, continuously generating epic ballads and tales of woe. More people, monsters, orcs and undead have been killed or re-killed atop of the setting’s battlements than in any given hectare of prime battlefield terrain. Nothing exciting happens without a wall being there to provide a permission slip. Anyone even passingly familiar with Total War games also knows that the walls are…disappointing. So finally, there exists the space and the motivation to have brutal clashes on a cliff of dressed stone, whereas in previous games, anything you placed on a wall was just free kills for your opponent’s artillery. The wider walls and bigger cities mean instead of spreading your troops too thin over kilometers of walls and streets, you can instead focus on the forlorn hopes and terrifying melee, while the beautiful city glitters/burns in the background. Seriously, look at that city. Why can’t Sydney be that pretty?
Speaking of burning cities, hopefully they keep the city burning mechanic from Total War: Attila. At least the part where you burn it down mid-fight. And with the wider, more easily path-able streets, it’ll (hopefully) be easier to have challenging fights as the AI attempts to do just that. Obviously this is all just conjecture, and the only way to know for sure is on the game’s release, but with this blog post detailing all the ways that CA is attempting to solve the causes of previous title’s idiotic siege AI, things are looking good. No more pulling everything back to the city center for a trap made of pikes: now we get to have fun fighting sieges. Fingers crossed.