As Napoleon himself stares out from the painted wall of Sega's GamesCom lounge, The Creative Assembly's Kieron Bridgen assures us that the latest Total War is more about the era, rather than the man. The latest in the acclaimed strategy series will be split across three seperate campaigns in Italy, the Middle East/Africa, and Europe, covering Napoleon's meteoric rise as a military leader on to his widespread derision throughout the world.
The game will also offer a technical leap over the last entry in the series, Empire: Total War. Improvements to unit rendering mean that you can actually see the faces of your men, while particle effects such as smoke and clouds are also vastly improved. Best of all, owners of Empire will be able to upgrade their existing game with the new Napoleon engine, giving Empire a new visual lease on life.
Not that Napoleon won't keep them busy enough though--it's the biggest game The Creative Assembly has done to date. There will be 322 unique units in the game, and you'll now be able to repair ships midcombat. Of course, historians will know that Napoleon wasn't a great naval leader, but like with all Total War games, you can play this game how you want to and specialise in the skills that interest you as a leader.
The Creative Assembly has also dropped the man himself to the battlefield in the game. Napoleon was always keen to fight alongside his men for motivational reasons, and this is reflected in the game by his presence in the fight along with his key generals. Given his stature, he'll also raise the morale of any other units in the immediate vicinity, and they'll fight to the death in order to protect their glorious leader.
Visually, the game is looking very impressive, and the designers are trying to achieve a look whereby every frame could be isolated and hung up like an oil painting. CA claims that there will be up to 10,000 men onscreen at once, even with the improved effects, and there will be complete seasonal changes as you play. This in turn will affect the weather, and the rain will affect weapons that use gunpowder, for example.
The story will be told through in-game cutscenes, and there will be side missions available if you want to delve into the different characters a bit more. Interestingly, there will be specific awards for doing things quicker than Napoleon himself managed, and of course you can still play as any other nation from within the Napoleonic era.