TW3K cover pre-purchase

Game cover of the Total War: Three Kingdoms

Total War: Three Kingdoms is the next major historical title in the Total War series, developed by The Creative Assembly. It was announced on January 10, 2018, and scheduled to be released on March 7, 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 our own history.


  • 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.

Battle mechanicsEdit

  • 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.

Campaign mechanicsEdit

  • 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 army composition and management, characters – who can now build relationships and form attitudes towards one another – buildings, technologies and much more.
  • 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, with iconic, larger-than-life heroes and their relationships defining the future of ancient China. 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.
  • Spy returns and plays vastly different from agent and espionage system in previous titles.


  • Hero mechanic returns in Total War: Three Kingdoms. heroes in the game are unique characters with different personality traits, in which 40-50 heroes have their very own artwork in the game. 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.
Total War THREE KINGDOMS historical characters
Commander Cao CaoCao RenLiu BeiLiu BiaoLiu YuLiu ZhangLady WuSun QuanYuan ShaoYuan Shu
Sentinel Han SuiHuang ZhongLu ZhiSun JianTaishi CiXu HuangYue JinZhao Yun
Champion Dian WeiGuan YuWen ChouXiahou DunXu ChuZhang YanZheng Jiang
Vanguard Gan NingGongsun QiGongsun ZanLü BuMa ChaoMa TengSun CeSun RenZhang Fei
Strategist Kong RongKong ZhouTao QianSima YiXu YouZhou YuZhuge Liang

Game progressionEdit

  • National Prestige system returns as the Prestige. With Prestige, player can improve his/her Faction Rank. With a higher rank, player is able to raise additional armies, and appoint more court positions in the territory.
  • Initial dilemma is a new feature introduced for player to create their own war stories during game progression. After fulfilling certain prerequisite actions, Each faction will face two 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 other lets player forge a alternative history of what might have been.

Art designEdit


TW3K warlords

Portraits of the faction leaders in the base game

The game features 11 playable factions at launch, without counting DLC characters. Each faction is led by a warlord.



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.[1]


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


  1. Total War: Three Kingdoms Interview – Talking Total War with Attila Mohacsi and Al Bickham - WccfTech