Amazingly Empire is holding its own against Shogun 2 as far as old TW titles still commonly being played: http://steamcharts.com/search/?q=total+war
I imagine it's just the sheer amount of content found in Empire. I think it appeals to the casual gamer more, the ones who aren't so loud and who don't join forums to complain.
Even though I'm still more of a "Rome 1 + mods" kind of guy, since I have four kids now I generally gravitate to playing vanilla Shogun 2 or Rome II just because I have much less leisure time for games like this. Shogun 2 if I want a focused campaign I can finish in a few months. And Rome II if I want to just sandbox around and do what if's, like horse only armies from the East, or migrating some Hellenists into Western Europe.
I'm looking forward to playing one of the Total War titles with my five year old. He's reading now, so I can see starting a co-op campaign with him in a couple of years.
I have been considering buying a couple copies of Attila now that the Winter Steam sale is going, but I'm not sure I'll play it much. I've watched YouTube "let's play" videos but just can't decide. Is there a compelling reason to purchase Attila and the Charlemagne campaign?
I'm in the midst of Shogun 2 and want to start a new Rome II campaign after that with a nomad faction, or maybe the Armenians. I just have too much content to go through as it is.
I bought the entire "Theatre of War" series last week, as I was pining for some Close Combat to play. Kursk looks very promising and I could see me setting up a couple mobile workstations for some parties with some of my mates.
Back to the thread topic. I guess I'm sort of hoping for an Empire re-hash. I just hope they would give it all the underpinnings needed for a grand strategy to represent such a time period and not leave another sloppy mess. And I agree with Phillipus. Maybe at least start earlier, from the first 30 years war, up to the Victorian Period?
I think that's a big job though, so I wouldn't mind seeing them try a more focused campaign title, much like Napoleon was, but instead focused on WWI. It would require some innovation to properly represent battles for emerging air warfare, and then armor and artillery...but it has a lot of potential. Fleshing out more intrigue via agents and diplomacy, public opinion affects on unrest, etc.
This could give their franchise the "freshness" I think they have been missing for the last several years. But I'm not sure that would really be "Total War" any longer...