At E3, Tom's Hardware was treated to a behind-closed-doors session of the latest in the Total War series, Total War: Warhammer. The development team at Creative Assembly presented a pre-alpha demo of the game, which it finally revealed to the public who couldn't see it at E3.
The demo, called "The Battle of Black Fire Pass" featured a conflict between the Empire, led by the Emperor Karl Franz, and the Greenskins, led by the Orc Warboss Grimgor Ironhide. At launch, players can choose from four different races, such as the humans (the Empire), Orcs (the Greenskins), Dwarves and Vampires.
Unlike most of the other conflicts throughout the game, the Battle of Black Fire Pass is considered to be a Quest Battle, a pivotal story-based battle in the game. For the most part, Total War veterans will be familiar with the basic mechanics of the game. However, Total War: Warhammer is a big departure from its predecessors in that it's based on a fantasy setting instead of the real world.
The fantasy aspect allows developers to work with new environments, such as Black Fire Pass' wide terrain flanked on both sides by tower mountains oozing with lava. There are also new units to work with, such as giant spiders that take the place of traditional horses for cavalry, and ranged weapons that use goblin fanatics (crazy little creatures) as ammunition in lieu of the traditional cannonball.
Magic is also prevalent in the game, so in addition to physically damaging other units, you can have shamans and mages cast spells from a safe distance to either aid allies or destroy waves of foes. Both sides also have access to aerial units, such as Emperor Franz's griffin, which allows you to have aerial combat with other winged units. You can also provide additional support to soldiers from the air.
Total War: Warhammer has been in the works for quite some time, with the developers and Sega, its publisher, making a deal in 2012 with the Games Workshop, the company behind the Warhammer series. The Warhammer series is well-known in the tabletop scene, not only requiring the traditional paper, pencil and dice, but also a vast amount of figurines to play out these huge conflicts. In a way, Creative Assembly's new game is another way for fans to play out those huge battles, only this time, they can actually see it happening on the field instead of just in their imagination.