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Thread: Interview of Shogun 2 lead designer James Russell, from Totalwar.com

  1. #1
    Shadow Senior Member Kagemusha's Avatar
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    Default Interview of Shogun 2 lead designer James Russell, from Totalwar.com

    link to original: http://blogs.sega.com/totalwar/2010/...-total-war-qa/

    And the article:

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    "Here is an exclusive interview Total War’s Lead Designer James Russell regarding the recently announced Shogun 2: Total War.

    It has been a decade since Shogun launched the Total War series. What were the reasons for returning to where it all began for Shogun 2: Total War?

    In many ways, Empire: TW represented the expansion of Total War to its greatest extent in terms of global, geopolitical scale – and that fitted the reach of the great powers of that era. What we are excited about with Shogun 2 is to taking things back to a more contained, pre-modern environment where we can really focus on characters & immersion – and in a fresh setting, away from the map of Europe. Rather than having to portray many different cultures across the world, we can delve deeply into portraying one culture in beautiful detail. The game will still be epic in scale – but in terms of story and depth rather than by encompassing much of the world in geographic scope.

    Feudal Japan is an incredibly evocative setting with so much great content for the game: bushido (the Way of the Warrior), mighty warlords leading vast samurai armies into battle; huge castles and epic sieges in unique landscapes like nothing you’ve seen in Europe.

    Chronologically, where does Shogun 2: Total War fit in the timeline of the original game?

    As in Shogun: TW, the setting we have is during Japan’s Sengoku Jidai: the warring states period in the 16th century, before the Tokugawa Shogunate asserted its complete control and ended the anarchy.

    We have chosen this setting now for the same reasons we chose it a decade ago: it was a time of epic struggle between the feudal lords of rival clans across Japan. With the breakdown of central authority, there was constant warfare and any one of many clans could have ended up winning. It’s the perfect setting for a Total War game where the player can choose one of many factions all competing for the final victory in what was the most turbulent period of Japanese history.

    It was the time when a uniquely Japanese samurai culture was forged. It was also a time of great change: for example, first contact with Europeans saw the introduction of Christianity and later the first large-scale use of firearms in Japanese armies. This opens up lots of interesting gameplay choices for the player that are unique to this specific period.

    How has the Total War series progressed since the original game and what will this bring to the sequel?

    Clearly, PC technology has come on so far in the last ten years, and we can do things that were simply impossible before: the game engines for both campaign and battle have been completely revolutionised (and re-written) several times over since the original game which had sprites in battle and a 2D campaign map. Now we can portray huge samurai armies in all their glory with a new and improved battle graphics engine that looks utterly stunning. On the campaign side, we will depict the unique geography of Japan with the most beautiful map we have ever produced. We are constantly looking at ways to improve the game, and each new project gives us the opportunity to push into new territory.

    The Total War team consulted with Professor Stephen Turnbull during the production of Shogun: Total War. Will you also be working with any experts in the field for Shogun 2?

    Well we’re actually working with Stephen again this time round, and he’s been involved from very early in the project. He’s been to see us in the studio (his journey down, carrying authentic pieces of samurai armour raised a few eyebrows on the train!); we are talking to him regularly about planned features and game content – he’s been a fantastic help for us: not only making sure we stay on the right path, but also giving us a lot of inspiration (watching all the Kurosawa movies helps a lot too!).

    As a studio, we have much lower staff turnover than many in the industry, and there are still a fair few people working on Total War who have been here from the very beginning, not least Mike Simpson.

    Empire: Total War introduced naval warfare to the series. Is there a chance that the feature will return to make an impact on feudal Japan?

    Of course – Japan is an island nation, and the sea is never far away. One thing to emphasise is that the way naval battles were fought in Japan during this period is very different from the bigger-is-better artillery-fests of the 18th century European contests we represented in Empire. Japanese ships of the era were full of samurai swordsmen and archers, so we’re focusing a lot on boarding systems and stone-scissors-paper interplay between different ship types. Another big addition is the inclusion of land masses at sea: this provides new terrain-based tactical play as well as helping orient the player. We think we can make naval battles in Shogun feel very fresh & new – and be more fun to play than ever before.

    What other areas of the game might see major changes with Shogun 2?

    When we begin development, as a team we immerse ourselves in the period and the setting that we are trying to bring to life in the game. We develop features that reflect the battles and the military & economic dilemmas of the time (as well as making for great gameplay).

    On the campaign map this means we fold in the importance of honour, treachery, clan & family, and many other aspects of being a warlord in feudal Japan. Of course, we need a completely new set of agents and agent abilities too.

    On the battle side, special, historically accurate, hero characters can help turn the tide of battle. We’re also giving siege mechanics a complete overhaul: Japanese castles are very different from European castles, and we’re working hard to make the layouts look convincingly Japanese as well as playing well.

    We’re also planning some very exciting things for the multiplayer part of the game, so watch this space!

    What do you want to achieve overall with Shogun 2: Total War?

    We really want to make Shogun 2 a thing of beauty, and the most immersive Total War game ever. We are focusing on pushing gameplay depth and polish rather than raw ‘size’ or scope: doing more with less.

    Internally, we are calling these things together (beauty, depth, polish and immersion) the Zen of Total War. We are absolutely committed to making Shogun 2 the most breathtaking Total War experience ever.

    Thank you for your time!

    Stay tuned to www.TotalWar.com for all the latest Shogun 2: Total War information, and be sure to become a fan on Facebook and Twitter.

    Best regards,

    Mark O’Connell
    The Creative Assembly


    It is great sign of things that Stephen Turnbull is working with CA, so they wont go completely unhistorical in this game.
    Last edited by Kagemusha; 06-11-2010 at 12:22.
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    Ja mata, TosaInu Forum Administrator edyzmedieval's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interview of Shogun 2 lead designer James Russell, from Totalwar.com

    Nothing too new under the sun, but still, it shows that they are committed.
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    Moderator Moderator Gregoshi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interview of Shogun 2 lead designer James Russell, from Totalwar.com

    Agreed edyz. I also like the repeated emphasis on immersion. And Stephen Turnbull's involvement is a good thing.
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    Clan Clan InsaneApache's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interview of Shogun 2 lead designer James Russell, from Totalwar.com

    I'm getting excited.
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    pardon my klatchian Member al Roumi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interview of Shogun 2 lead designer James Russell, from Totalwar.com

    What other areas of the game might see major changes with Shogun 2?

    When we begin development, as a team we immerse ourselves in the period and the setting that we are trying to bring to life in the game. We develop features that reflect the battles and the military & economic dilemmas of the time (as well as making for great gameplay).

    On the campaign map this means we fold in the importance of honour, treachery, clan & family, and many other aspects of being a warlord in feudal Japan. Of course, we need a completely new set of agents and agent abilities too.

    On the battle side, special, historically accurate, hero characters can help turn the tide of battle. We’re also giving siege mechanics a complete overhaul: Japanese castles are very different from European castles, and we’re working hard to make the layouts look convincingly Japanese as well as playing well.
    As with Empire, if they can't deliver this as they intend, it'll be hard to tell what their ambition was.

  6. #6
    Pleasing the Fates Senior Member A Nerd's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interview of Shogun 2 lead designer James Russell, from Totalwar.com

    Sound promising! A perfect video game is hard to make, let's hope they get as close as possible!
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    Default Re: Interview of Shogun 2 lead designer James Russell, from Totalwar.com

    This is the pre-release (pre preview) marketing spiel - it doesn't really make any claims. It's best taken with a pinch of salt. The proof of this game will be in the playing.

    I remember before M2TW was released and we had these ahistorical screengrabs and elephants with cannons which had the pious up in arms. It'll be the same again. After a few years of it you tend to let it wash over. We won't get many of the "omg why isn't my country in the game!!??" threads this time around though.
    Last edited by caravel; 06-11-2010 at 15:53.

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    pardon my klatchian Member al Roumi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interview of Shogun 2 lead designer James Russell, from Totalwar.com

    Quote Originally Posted by Asai Nagamasa View Post
    We won't get many of the "omg why isn't my country in the game!!??" threads this time around though.
    Those are especially bad wrt Europa Universalis...

  9. #9
    Stranger in a strange land Moderator Hooahguy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interview of Shogun 2 lead designer James Russell, from Totalwar.com

    im getting hopeful, but i keep remembering all the things they promised with ETW and they failed to deliver then...
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    Default Re: Interview of Shogun 2 lead designer James Russell, from Totalwar.com

    Quote Originally Posted by Asai Nagamasa View Post
    We won't get many of the "omg why isn't my country in the game!!??" threads this time around though.
    Thank god. Though it's not as bad here as in CivFanatics. That place is just a terrible mess with those.

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    Villiage Idiot Member antisocialmunky's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interview of Shogun 2 lead designer James Russell, from Totalwar.com

    I hope there is a Heike Mini-Campaign that's not DLC:).
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    Default Re: Interview of Shogun 2 lead designer James Russell, from Totalwar.com

    I'm keen! Going back to a melee heavy setting sounds great! Great for the MOD community too.
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    the G-Diffuser Senior Member pevergreen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interview of Shogun 2 lead designer James Russell, from Totalwar.com

    Quote Originally Posted by Jarvgrimr View Post
    I'm keen! Going back to a melee heavy setting sounds great! Great for the MOD community too.
    Melee: Yes, I love it.

    Mod support: Unlikely...
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    Member Member Phog_of_War's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interview of Shogun 2 lead designer James Russell, from Totalwar.com

    The Marketing Machine Cometh!

    Still, sounds nice, and I have been craving some melee heavy battles.

    And as much as I hate to say it, the modding community will get the shaft.....again. It's a shame too, to see talent that used to be here and at TW Center just kind of throw their hands in the air and give up on proper support on Activisions part. IMO CA would have given a modding kit at least, if not an outright Dev kit if they had their way. CA knows what we, as a community, want.
    Activision knows as well, they just dont give a

    Sorry, that is a rant for another time and thread. I am looking forward to Shogun II and wish CA and *ahem* Activison the best.
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    Villiage Idiot Member antisocialmunky's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interview of Shogun 2 lead designer James Russell, from Totalwar.com

    SEGA. Despite the fact that tis fun blaming activision because they are kinda jerks.
    Fighting isn't about winning, it's about depriving your enemy of all options except to lose.



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    Member Member Phog_of_War's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interview of Shogun 2 lead designer James Russell, from Totalwar.com

    Genius by birth, slacker by choice.
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    I have all the morality of a drunk eight-year-old and the self-awareness of a cold bag of ham, but in my occasional windows of clarity, even I'm cognizant of the fact that I am the last person on the planet who should have access to unstoppable mental powers. -Dan O' Brian @ Cracked.com

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    Member Member Tera's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interview of Shogun 2 lead designer James Russell, from Totalwar.com

    The comment I liked most in the interview is that this time around, instead on focusing on the scope/size of the game, they intend to do more with less and deliver a more immersive atmosphere. One could argue that they cannot due otherwise given it's only one country and a limited time period (maximum of 70 years or so). Still, it's good to see they have a clear aim.

    Total War games have become bigger and bigger ...only with NTW they are now starting to deliver a more focused experience.


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    Senior Member Senior Member Barkhorn1x's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interview of Shogun 2 lead designer James Russell, from Totalwar.com

    Quote Originally Posted by Tera View Post
    The comment I liked most in the interview is that this time around, instead on focusing on the scope/size of the game, they intend to do more with less and deliver a more immersive atmosphere. One could argue that they cannot due otherwise given it's only one country and a limited time period (maximum of 70 years or so). Still, it's good to see they have a clear aim.

    Total War games have become bigger and bigger ...only with NTW they are now starting to deliver a more focused experience.
    Agree wholeheartedly.
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