Ancient Egypt is the next setting on the docket in Creative Assembly's mission to let us fight throughout history. People have been clamouring for an Egyptian Total War for a long time, and thanks to Total War: Pharaoh we'll all be able to muck around during the Bronze-Age Collapse, where the mighty Egyptian New Kingdom faces apocalyptic threats from neighbours, invaders and natural disasters.
Things aren't looking too good for Egypt. The Pharaoh has died and there's competition for the throne, both domestically and abroad, with foreign and Egyptian rivals all vying for power. Society is crumbling, the weather is looking pretty bad and war is about to become everyone's main hobby. So it'll be up to you to "save Egypt from the cusp of destruction," says game director Todor Nikolov.
Creative Assembly Sofia is at the reins for this one, but unlike the studio's last outing Pharaoh is part of the core historical series rather than a Saga game. The team is still building on Troy's foundations, though, so we'll see the return of things like environmental obstacles that will affect the performance of your troops. Your warriors will get bogged down in muddy terrain, for instance, and now fire is a properly serious threat.
The weather is going to play a more important role, too, and it can change mid-battle. In the sweltering heat everyone is going to get pretty tired quickly, and the rising temperatures will make fire an even greater risk. In the desert, meanwhile, you'll have to contend with unpleasant, vision-obscuring sandstorms. And even when you escape the heat, you'll need to watch out for torrential downpours and thunderstorms.
At launch in October you'll be able to decide the fate of Egypt and beyond as one of three cultures: Egyptian, Hittite and Canaanite. These three cultures are divided into eight playable factions with their own unique hooks and playstyles. Pharaoh also offers an extra level of campaign customisation that will hopefully make repeat playthroughs, even as the same faction, feel pretty different. Campaign options include random starting positions for all factions, natural disaster settings, resource settings and more.
As for post launch support, three DLC faction packs are also in the works, the first of which will be included in the Deluxe Edition, while all DLC will be included in the Dynasty Edition. Creative Assembly Sofia is also planning a DLC campaign pack.
It's an undeniably exciting setting, especially if you, like me, have a lifelong obsession with Ancient Egypt. Thundering chariots crushing enemies on the banks of the Nile? Yeah, I'm down.