Earlier this year, the Total War strategy game series from Creative Assembly did something that it had never done in its two-decade history: remaster a game. Rome: Total War was originally released in 2004, setting the standard for the genre and presenting another superb step on from its two predecessors, Shogun and Medieval.
Total War: Rome Remastered was well-received according to the aggregate score on Metacritic, with the next title looking set to be a return to the fantasy lore of Games Workshop’s tabletop series with Warhammer III. Still, we’re here to theorize the next step for Creative Assembly’s historical exploits and where the superb series should very to next.
Where has the Total War series gone to before?
The Total War series planted its flag in the PC gaming scene with the 2000 release of Shōgun: Total War, which was set in the 15th to 17th Century. The first game depicted the Warring States period, with the sequel focussing on the Sengoku period of 16th Century feudal Japan. Creative Assembly’s second release was Medieval: Total War, which spanned 1087 to 1453 and the regions of the Middle East and North Africa, and Europe.
Before the sequel to Medieval, which spanned 1080 to 1530, the landmark Rome: Total War took PC gaming by storm. Starting in Italy, the initial story had three Roman houses allied but in competition to win over Rome. The map would venture down to North Africa, across to the British Isles, and as far east as modern Iran and Azerbaijan, taking place between 270 BC and 14 AD.
After Rome, the 2009 release of Empire: Total War marked the next major time skip, taking place in the 17th and 18th Centuries. The focus was on dominance over North America, the Caribbean, Middle East, India, and Europe, playing predominantly as European powers. After Empire came to the similarly European-centric Napoleon: Total War, is based around the conquests of Napoleon Bonaparte in an 18th and 19th Century setting.
The more recent releases, from 2015 onwards, have taken players to the Late Antiquity period of transition following Classical Rome in 395 AD with Attila, and back for a condensed look at Britain in 878 AD with the inaugural Total War Saga title, Thrones of Britannia. In 2019, the historical series returned to Asia, this time looking at the 220 to 280 period of the Three Kingdoms in China. Finally, and most recently, Total War Saga: Troy focussed on the infamous Trojan War of 1260 BC onwards.
Venturing to ancient civilizations rich in mythology and history
With Rome Remastered and Troy being widely regarded as an intermezzo before Creative Assembly’s next big leap into history, the next release should choose a popular era. Aside from ancient Rome and ancient Greece, there isn’t an ancient civilization that commands as much intrigue as the ancient Egyptians – which have been proven popular across all forms of gaming.
The most evident example of ancient Egypt being put to popular use in gaming is at Mr Green, where two of the most popular slots draw from Egypt. Book of Dead is the big-hitter, exploring ancient tombs to find the fabled funerary text. That said, the Book of Ra takes a more mythological spin, which always proves to be a popular choice, with the game itself featuring a whole host of ancient Egyptian features and symbology. These games are even accessible on both mobile and desktop, and there are other themed slots on offer for those wanting to try alternatives.
Assassin’s Creed Origins was praised by The Guardian for its recreation of the time of the last Ptolemaic ruler, Cleopatra VII, but remains one of a few video games that venture to the ancient civilization specifically. Many Total War games have featured ancient Egypt, but having one set between the Third Intermediate Period and Late Period, in times of Aegean peoples washing over the Middle East and conflict with foreign powers, Nubians, Persians, and Assyrians, could provide the setting for a much-wanted focus on Egypt.
The other standout choice would be the setting of Mesoamerica from the 14th to 16th Century, focussing on the factions, city-states, and empires of the Valley of Mexico and beyond. The central premise would, of course, focus on the Aztec Empire, giving players the choice to make alliances, conquer, enslave, and even sacrifice the neighboring settlements. In theory, it could span modern Mexico, with the late-game dilemma of deciding how to deal with the arrival of Spanish conquistadors.
Ancient Egypt would be the most popular choice for the next historical Total War game, but the Aztec period of Mesoamerica also offers a grand stage, plenty of depth, and a grand new setting for the series.