Total War: Three Kingdoms is the 13th installment in the Total War series, developed by The Creative Assembly. It was announced on January 10, 2018, and released on May 23, 2019. The game is set in China during Three Kingdoms era.
The game features two game modes. The first mode, "Romance", is based on the highly romanticized account of the era, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, in which generals are gifted with nearly superhuman strength. Another mode, "Classic ", based on Records of the Three Kingdoms, presents a more historically accurate version. In Classic, the generals have their powers removed and they can no longer be commanded separately.
The game begins in 190 CE, in which the once glorious Han dynasty is on the verge of collapse. The enthroned child Emperor, Xian, was manipulated by the warlord Dong Zhuo, at the age of eight. Dong Zhuo's oppressive rule leads to chaos. New warlords rise and form the coalition to start the campaign against Dong Zhuo. However, with each warlord having personal ambitions and constantly shifting allegiances, the player need to utilize strategy and tactics to unify China and write their own history.
- Character system has been revamped. Characters in the game are now unique entities with different background and traits. There are no dedicated Generals, Spies or Diplomat in Three Kingdoms, all characters can perform all roles. So all of the player's characters can be a spy one day, a general on the battlefield next, and a governor in the court after. The games features a cast of hundreds historical characters with some of them being famous figure with unique design.
- Guanxi System (Friendship and Loyalty) is modelled after Guanxi, the Chinese concept of dynamic inter-relationships, Creative Assembly claims that the game has taken an paradigm-shifting approach to character agency. Each of these characters is brought to life with their own unique personality, motivations, and likes/dislikes. They also form their own deep relationships with each other, both positive and negative, that shape how your story plays out.
- Ancillary are now items that can be equipped on characters to provide bonus for your character's attributes. Character's portrait will also change according to the ancillary equipped.
- Diplomacy is completely revamped from previous titles. To support these new aims and features, the developer rewrites the diplomacy model and AI from scratch. The new Diplomacy revolutionizes for a host of traditional features and systems from previous titles in the franchise. These include haggling deal and trade territory and ancillaries, and how AI values your offer, which affects state relationships and attitudes between different leaderships. It also add new diplomacy option such as coalition and guaranteeing vassal autonomy.
- Events and Initial dilemma are new features introduced for player to create their own war stories during game progression. After fulfilling certain prerequisite actions, Each faction will face dilemmas to choose, marking a pivotal moment in that warlord's story. One of the options available to player is a choice reflecting what happened in history, and the outcomes will follow the events of the period. The others let player forge a alternative history of what might have been.
- Court system revamped. It now features various new court positions, family tree, character relationship web. New faction council provides bonus and generate missions for player improve national industry, military and commerce. Player can give out Administrator position for your characters, ensuring their effective and satisfied employment in your court. People with low satisfaction and unpleasant guanxi within your court will automatically leave your faction to seek employment elsewhere and bring their own retinues and territories with them.
- Undercover Network returns to replace the old Agent system and plays vastly different from assassination and espionage system in previous titles.
- Extreme unit size with 240 infantry/archers or 60 horses per unit. General's bodyguard unit in Records mode can be upgraded even more horses in one unit.
- Hero mechanic returns in Total War: Three Kingdoms. heroes in the game are unique characters that act as single unit on the battlefield. Heroes are divided into different class that provide benefits in both grand campaign or on the battlefield. Some heroes are better at buffing allies while others are duelist whom are able to hunt down other heroes. Some heroes carry their own unique armors, weapons and equipment.
- Dueling returns with new improvement. Through dueling, the player could choose certain class of heroes to engage in one-on-one battle in front of their army. Victorious side will gain morale boost on the battlefield, which can often turn the tide of the battle.
- Wu Xing (Elemental Phases) is a new gameplay mechanic. The system is based on the ancient Chinese philosophy that describes the interrelationships of the five elements to view the workings of the world. Wu Xing mechanic summarize the rock-paper-scissor balance approach from previous titles, streamlining them into a closed-circuit system that affects every aspects of gameplay.
- New art style and graphics design that inspired by traditional Chinese cultures.
- Move Capital returns, a feature last seen in Medieval II: Total War.
- Campaign AI rewritten.
- Customization of user interface and unit cards.
- The game has 700 historical characters.
|Total War THREE KINGDOMS gameplay mechanics|
|Characters||Ancillary・Attributes・Background・Guanxi・Prestige (Faction Rank)・Legendary・Personality・Resilience・Satisfaction (Title Rank)・Skill・Specialisation・Traits・Unique・Wu Xing|
|Campaign||Assignment・Buildings・Court (Administrator・Council・Family Tree)・Diplomacy (Coalition・Vassal)・Event (Initial Dilemma)・Factions (Leader・Heir・Prime Minister)・Mission (Challenge)・Records・Reforms・Resources・Seasons・Treasury・Undercover Network|
|Battle||Ability (Unit Ability)・Army・Dueling・Formation・Fortification・Morale・Terrain・Siege (Siege Escalation)・Unit (Hero・Retinue)・Weather|
- Cao Cao - leading Wei
- Sun Jian - leading Wu
- Liu Bei - leading Shu-Han
- Ma Teng - leading Liang
- Liu Biao - leading Chu
- Zhang Yan - leading Heishan
- Yuan Shao - leading Song
- Zheng Jiang - leading the Tai
- Kong Rong - leading Qi
- Yuan Shu - leading Zhong
- Gongsun Zan - leading Yan
- Dong Zhuo (Unlocked after defeating his army in battle or reach the rank of Emperor) - leading Zhou
- Gong Du (Yellow Turban Rebellion Warlord Pack)
- He Yi (Yellow Turban Rebellion Warlord Pack)
- Huang Shao (Yellow Turban Rebellion Warlord Pack)
|Total War THREE KINGDOMS factions and leaders|
|Warlords||Cao Wei (Cao Cao)・Dong Zhuo (Dong Zhuo)・Gongsun Zan (Gongsun Zan)・Shu-Han (Liu Bei)・Wu (Sun Jian)・Yuan Shao (Yuan Shao)・Yuan Shu (Yuan Shu)|
|Governors||Kong Rong (Kong Rong)・Liu Biao (Liu Biao)・Ma Teng (Ma Teng)|
|Outlaws||Black Mountain bandits (Zhang Yan)・Zheng Jiang (Zheng Jiang)|
|Other factions||Han Empire・Cai Mao・Gongsun Du・Han Fu・Han Sui・Huang Zu・Jia Long・Kong Zhou・Liu Dai・Liu Yan・Liu Yao・Liu Yu・Liu Zhang・Shi Xie・Tao Qian・Wang Lang・Wang Kuang・Ze Rong・Zhang Chao・Zhang Lu・Zhang Yang|
When The Creative Assembly start to develop the next historical title for the Total War series, they're very keen about creating something around characters. Similar to role-playing Napoleon or Alexander in the previous title. After inspired by those character-centric games, Creative Assembly ended up finding the Three Kingdoms period, which has a lot of records on character development and potential larger than life characters available for each factions.
When CA did the research and found out four thousand characters were available in the time period, they stopped considering anything else and processed to look at other research materials like the epic historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms and also Records of the Three Kingdoms as well.
The Creative Assembly then created a couple of hundred characters with names and unique personality traits and 35 to 40 characters with very unique art in the game. The developer also add character development into the game, for example, Xiahou Dun gets the eyepatch after losing his eye in the battle which will trigger a specific cutscene.
The game features three version at launch.
|The Total War series|
|Shogun (The Mongol Invasion) • Medieval (Viking Invasion) • Rome (Barbarian Invasion • Alexander) • Spartan • Medieval II (Kingdoms) • Empire • Napoleon • Total War: Shogun 2 • Total War: Rome II • Total War: Attila • Total War: Warhammer • Total War: Arena • Total War: Warhammer II • Total War Saga: Thrones of Britannia • Total War: Three Kingdoms|