E3 Q&A with Shogun 2: Total War developer

GamePro grills The Creative Assembly front-man, Kieran Brigden, on the upcoming addition to the famed Total War series.

Shogun 2: Total War. For PC only. Due out in 2011.

Shogun 2: Total War. For PC only. Due out in 2011.

GamePro: When was the point when you guys just said “That's it. We are doing Shogun again”?

We have two huge milestones. Rome was one where we went 3D and the campaign map was made different. Empire was the next massive milestone because it changed the whole graphics and AI systems. When we go those two big things out of the way and we did the standalone expansion which was Napoleon, then it was a case of “we have all this tech, we polished all this tech, they work, it's all great” and there is always that bit of you as a developer that goes “Oh man, I wish we could do that first game with all the stuff we have now.”

Like if you re-filmed Jaws with proper 3D. {Er, they did that in the 80s. It was terrible. -- Ed.] It's the same thing.

GamePro: What were some things you wanted to include in Shogun 2 that you couldn't fit in?

There are always technical constraints and things you just cannot get in.

The game looks awesome now; visually, it looks really impressive but there's other stuff in there that we wanted to do more with. Unit numbers is a good example: you can always push those up. The minute we get algorithms that can handle even more guys in more detail on the battlefield – we are talking historical battles with hundreds of thousands of troops.

We have gotten almost halfway there and that's the maximum, but it is still huge.

There is always stuff as a designer, as a gameplay engineer, that when you get out the end you just go “Oh man, wish we could have done this and that”. But the good thing with Shogun 2 – and not to kiss ass or anything – is Sega have actually given us the leeway to do the stuff we wanted to do rather than just go “make this game again, but prettier”.

In that sense, it's been good fun.

GamePro: Besides bumping up troop numbers even further, was there anything else you had to leave out of the game?

At the moment we can't combine naval and land battles completely. i.e. the idea of controlling ships and men at the same time. It would be awesome to be able to do that. That is the next big step to take: to have an engine and UI capable of handling shops and guys at the same time completely.

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GamePro: How far off are you guys from being able to do that?

Not far. In terms of research and development, we are a lot further than we thought we would be.

GamePro: The frame rate on this demo is fairly average at the moment. Realistically, how power does a PC have to be to run this game?

The frame rate at the moment is okay; not bad.

Keep in mind this is a pre pre-Alpha version of the game. There has been no polishing and no performance analysis what so ever.

The game will support Direct X 9, 10 and 11 so if you have an old Direct X 9 card, it will support that. Most PCs are dual core at least and the game is properly threaded so however many cores you've got, whether it is a dual core or all the way up to an Intel Core i7, it will take advantage pf whatever you've got.

So the answer is, as with all PC games, the better your system the better the performance and we provide a lot of visual options and a lot of coking tweaks to find whatever combination of hardware you've got to get a good gaming experience.

We are too early to talk about minimum and maximum system specs at the moment buit this is not going to be like a Crysis game. This is not going to be a sort of thing where it's “Oh yeah, good luck. The game costs X amount of dollars and you're going to need two grand for a new computer to play it”.

This game is 10 years old. We have players that have been with us for 10 years that cannot afford to buy a new computer and we're not going to screw them over.

In that sense, we need to make sure we have gameplay and graphics options for everybody. The game works damn good on pretty much any current hardware upwards or even a couple of generations back.

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Tags segaShogun: Total WarThe Creative AssemblyShogun 2: Total War

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