The Next Total War Is Recreating The Legendary Trojan War
Total War Saga: Troy will send you back to Ancient Greece to command the armies fighting in the Trojan War. If you know your classics, this is the war at the centre of Homer's The Iliad and The Odyssey, most famous for its great big wooden horse and Achilles, the chap who is invincible except for that one bit of his heel. Developer Creative Assembly aims to tell the true story behind the myth, so while you won't have access to any fantastical powers and creatures, you will be able to recruit the soldiers that may have inspired those legends.
There are eight playable factions in Troy, four Greek and four Trojan. Your aim is to lead your chosen faction to victory against the other nation, but also to complete story quests unique to that faction's leader. So, for instance, if you choose the Greek hero Odysseus, king of Ithaca, than you'll need to raise an army, travel to Troy, take the city and try to get your men home. Spoilers for if you've not read The Odyssey but it's not an easy return voyage.
As with other Total War games, you'll split your time between the campaign map and real-time battles. While Troy's focus is on the Mediterreanean, whereas other Total War games cover a much larger landmass, the map in this game is one of the largest in any game in the series yet. That's because Creative Assembly is recreating that landmass in much higher detail than most Total War games. You'll find mountains, valleys, plains, and islands faithfully brought to life in the game, and all of them are there to be conquered.
There are five major resources to fight for in Troy - food, wood, bronze, stone, and gold. These resources are spread across the map, so it's quite possible your faction won't have access to rare resources like gold at all, meaning you'll have to trade for it or focus on training units that don't use that resource. This pressure is going to push you to expand your kingdom and get into fights to take territory that will open up supply lines.
A big part of Troy is that Creative Assembly hasn't gone full fantasy, like with the Total War: Warhammer games, but is instead trying to find the truth behind the legends. So, for instance, you can recruit a minotaur to fight for your army but rather than literally be a half man, half bull, they're a very large mercenary who wears the head and skin of a bull in battle.
Similarly, the centaurs aren't half men, half horse creatures, instead they're very capable mounted archers. In this time in ancient Greece horses were only used in battle to pull chariots, Creative Assembly explained to me, so if one tribe of people rode into battle on horseback they would gain a legendary reputation. Over time, that story would be changed and magnified, so rather than simply be archers on horses, they would become one and the same with the creature.
The gods, too, will feature in your campaign but not as literal entities. Instead, the fact your people believe in the gods is what Creative Assembly is playing with. So, for instance, if you do poorly in battle, your people will believe you have displeased Ares. Because they believe they're not in favour with the god of war, they will perform less well in battle and more easily flee. You can use this to your advantage, too. If you win a battle and gain favour with Ares, it may be wise to immediately seek out another battle against the same enemy instead of waiting for your army to rest. Your army will perform better and, because the enemy also believe in the gods, they will perform worse.
Drawing from Total War: Warhammer and the more recent Total War: Three Kingdoms, Troy sees heroes appearing battle fighting for your army and your enemies'. Heroic units are not one-man war machines, and if you send them against the enemy front line unsupported then they can be forced to flee the battle, but they can certainly cause a lot of damage as part of a unified assault.
Depending on the faction you choose you'll be able to bring different legendary figures into battle. If you pick Phthia, for example, Achilles will be your commander. Famously a hot-head, Achilles' anger problems emerge in a number of ways in the game. In diplomacy, Achilles is easy to insult and when he's been slighted he will become hot-blooded, which gives him a debuff in all his diplomatic deals. However, if he is angered, then on the battlefield he fights with buffed stats.
On the other side of the war you have a hero like Hector, the eldest son of the Trojan king Priam. Hector receives missions from Priam and if he completes them he receives a buff from his father. However, if Hector performs without honour, breaking treaties, for instance, then he loses favour with Priam and receives a debuff.
When you take into account the effect of pleasing and angering the gods, and the personality traits of the heroes leading your armies (and that the same forces are impacting your enemies' heroes and armies), there will be a lot of interweaving systems affecting a campaign.
Total War Saga: Troy is due out for PC in 2020.
Featured Image Credit: SEGA