By: Trevor Shanahan

 

 

When I think of Total War Arena, I don’t think of anything.  This is because I was completely unaware of this title’s development.  The folks over at Creative Assembly (Total War series, Viking: Battle for Asgard, Medieval/Medieval II, etc.) have been developing this game as a multiplayer title, 10 vs. 10 to be exact, which greatly expounds on the more common head-to-head multiplayer previously seen in their games.  Players will choose a commander (Julius Caesar, Germanicus, Leonidas, and more) and control 3 units – both commanders and their units will have unique traits and abilities which can be upgraded and augmented through unlocks.  If that doesn’t sell you on the concept, the game is “free” to play…though it does have the option of in-game purchases to customize units and speed progression.

Total war arena 2

Image of battle map, with player list on left.  Icons of weapons correspond to units under unique commander types.

 

To my knowledge, there is no other game (exactly) like this.  There is no other mixture of agency and teamwork like Total War Arena seems to have. Other RTSs (Real Time Strategy games) have aspects of this game in upgradeable/customizable units and commanders, team play, and large scale battles – but not like this.  When I look at other game genres and types it is easy for me to perceive similarities in game features, mechanics, and elements.  What I often overlook though, is that despite these seemingly similar components, the end products can be (and play) very, very differently (Spelunky versus Super Mario Bros. for instance).

Total war arena 3

In-game shot of two armies (20 players in 2 10-person teams) engaging one another.

 

Total War Arena is important, in my opinion, because of the steps Creative Assembly is taking to adapt a familiar formula to a changing and diverse gaming landscape.  Video games are an ever-changing medium and the their corresponding industry and culture change equally as rapidly.  For developers (or any business really), you cannot ignore possibility.  Though this isn’t the only path for the Total War series, Creative Assembly’s other projects, and RTS games in general, it is uncharted area worth exploring AND I think that is what should be celebrated and observed – the courage of companies to take a chance.

Total War Arena is currently in closed alpha, and approaching closed beta testing.  If you are interesting in more information, or if you want to sign-up for upcoming beta testing, you can click the following link.  Release is TBD/TBA (to be determined/to be announced).

 

http://wiki.totalwar.com/w/Total_War_Arena