How is it different from previous Total War games?
The focus is on the period of warring European colonial empires, and will feature a much larger world map than previous games. It is confirmed that the new map will take in Europe, America, and India at least. Naval combat will be introduced for the first time as a fully developed part of the game, and complete revamps of the campaign map are promised. Land battles are to be more focused on tactics and formations than previous games, as well.
Anything else new?
In a major departure from the past, Empire: Total War will incorporate Steamworks. This means that all copies of the game will require Steam to be installed on your gaming machine. This is a ground breaking move and we have more information on it below.
What is the timespan of the game?
The rough period covered by the game will be the 18th Century, although the start and end dates may vary slightly. This will cover numerous exciting & important times in history such as the French revolution & American war of independence, not to mention the birth of the Napoleonic era.
What are the minimum requirements?
The minimum requirements are:
- 2.4Ghz single core processor
- 256MB Gfx card (DX9 compaitble)
- 1GB RAM (For XP, 2GB if using Vista)
The game will run with DirectX 9.0, so Vista will not be a minimum requirement for the game. DX10 support is likely but not needed.
Is there a demo available?
Yes there is. Find it here. It features the battle of Lagos as a naval battle and the battle of Brandywine Creek as the land battle. There are also full tutorials for naval and land battles. It is recommended to play them in full.
About how much will it cost and when it is released?
The game is out now. It can be bought via Steam or it can be bought from retail stores. It is priced similarly to other PC games.
What is the game rated?
The game is rated 16+.
How many and what factions are available?
At present there are 12 confirmed playable factions, all playable from the start rather than unlockable. Currently confirmed factions are Britain, Prussia, France, Spain, United States of America, Austria, United Provinces (Netherlands), Marathas, Poland-Lithuania, Russia, Sweden and the Ottoman Empire. CA developers have said that the game has over 50 factions in total, but not all will be fully fleshed out. However, major factions, even non-playable ones, will be realised to a high level of detail. CA have also said that some factions will be stronger than others. There will be no artificial strengthening of weak factions in the interests of gameplay.
My absolute monarchy is causing civil unrest. How do I change government type?
If you are an absolute monarchy, the alternatives are constitutional monarchy and a republic. To get a change of government, you need to cause a revolution. Do this by “provoking” the necessary class. To go from an absolute monarchy to a republic, you need to stoke up the anger of the commoners. To get a constitutional monarchy, you need to antagonise the nobles. To get a republic, put the taxes for the commoners up as far as they will go. Then exempt every city from those taxes except your capital. Move the garrison out of the capital city and a reasonable distance away. After a number of turns, the commoners will revolt and you’ll need to join the rebels. With your new force, you’ll defeat the previous administration and the government change is complete. You’ll also get a slightly different flag. You can go from republic to constitutional monarchy by taxing the nobles and you can go from a constitutional monarchy to a republic but it does not appear to be possible to get back to an absolute monarchy.
I saved a load of battle replays but I can’t find them?
First you need to be able to view hidden files and folders. Enable this from “folder options” in the control panel. Then check “C:\Documents and Settings\Colin\Application Data\The Creative Assembly\Empire\replays”. The replays will be in there.
Where are the saved games?
See above for showing the hidden folder and files. Saved games can be found in “C:\Documents and Settings\Colin\Application Data\The Creative Assembly\Empire\save_games”.
For players new to Total War
What exactly is the Total War series?
The immensely popular series began with Shogun: Total War in 2000. After that, in 2002, Medieval: Total War was released, then Rome: Total War followed in 2004. After over eight years in development, the current iteration is Medieval II: Total War, which was released in 2006. Empire: Total War is the forthcoming instalment.
How is the game played?
The game is played on two levels, a turn-based strategic campaign map, and a real-time tactical battle map which is entered whenever combat occurs between the player’s armies and an AI force. Each level of the game is dealt with in some detail, allowing in-depth management of cities and armies both.
What is the campaign map?
The campaign map is a game in itself. It allows you to administrate settlements, armies, and conduct diplomacy between factions. There will be a great wealth of new features in Empire: Total War compared to the other games, from minor interface changes, to the addition of colonies and a much larger map than in previous titles. The systems of city management and army recruitment have both been highlighted as areas which are changing significantly.
What is the battle map?
When you attack or defend against an enemy army, you may choose to fight the battle yourself, controlling your army or fleet against the foe[s]. This is where the graphics and most of the gameplay really shines. It is another ‘plane’, and you must use tactics to overcome your opponents as opposed to old-style RTS tank rushes. The addition of naval battles will require entirely different tactics from previous Total War games. You will have to account for aspects such as wind speed & direction as well as having your ships facing the right way in order to deliver devastating broadsides. With land battles, there are also huge changes. Gone is the old ‘spears beat cavalry’ tactical thinking and in comes clever use of formations, such as infantry squares for defending from cavalry & lines to deliver deadly fire upon enemy ranks. Artillery will also be critically important.
Tell me about Steam and what it means.
Steam is a digital distribution, digital rights management, multiplayer and communications platform developed by Valve Corporation. It is used to distribute a wide range of games and related media entirely over the internet, stretching from one-man independent efforts to some of the world’s most popular games. As of December 26 2008, 990 games are available on Steam and over 16 million active user accounts. Anybody who plays Half Life or any other Valve games will be familiar with Steam.
What does this mean if I want to play Empire: Total War?
It means that you MUST have Steam installed on your computer. You can download it here. Once Empire: Total War is installed, the game will appear on your “my games” tab. Because Steam is an online service, you must be online when you activate the game. After that, you can play in “offline mode” you wish but you must go online at least once. Of course, you can stay online all the time if you wish.
If you do play while connected to Steam online all the time, then you can chat to friends while playing and also use Steam to organise games.
Can I play without using Steam?
No. You cannot.
Does that mean “no more Gamespy” for organising online games?
Any other benefits?
Yes. You have no pesky CD keys to lose either. Once you activate the game to your account, it stays on your account.
Oh yes. You know those enormous patches for Rome: Total War and especially Medieval 2: Total War that were difficult to install? Well say goodbye to those because Steam will apply any patches for you automatically. Patching for games like Team Fortress 2 has become painlessly easy thanks to Steam.
What if I need to shut down while downloading a patch?
Not a bother! Steam will stop the download and resume whenever you are online again.
And I’ll be able to talk to everybody on my friends list even while playing campaign games?
As long as you are connected to Steam online, yes. Shift-tab is the standard key combo to bring up chat windows.
I lost my discs or they got damaged. Does that mean I need to go and buy them all over again?
The brilliant news is that once you buy the game and activate it on your account, it’s yours forever, even if you lose the discs. Just like Half Life 2, you can delete the files but Steam will keep a record of the game on your “not installed” games list and to re-install the game again, all you need to do is right-click on the game and it will begin downloading the files.
It’s gone. Steam and the activation required to play the game is sufficient anti-piracy protection.
Achievements? What are they?
Many games released over Steam (but especially the Valve games) have landmarks called “achievements”. These could be as simple as completing the game or winning 10 battles online but other games also have fiendishly difficult achievements to keep players occupied. See a list of all the available achivements here.
What about mods? Modders have had problems with Steam versions of Rome: Total War and Medieval 2: Total War in the past.
The reason modders had trouble with Steam versions of earlier Total War games is that most people (and modders) were using non-Steam versions of those games. Now, everybody will be using the Steam version of Empire: Total War and this means all mods will be compatible with the Steam release of Empire: Total War.
Do Total War Heaven or Heavengames have community groups on Steam?
Yes we do. You can find the Heavengames group here. Be sure to join up so you can find all your friends online. Many gamers from Heavengames also play other games over Steam so if you want a break from Empire: Total War, there’s bound to be people playing Team Fortress 2, Left 4 Dead or similar games.
Help. I’m having problems with Steam.
There’s a helpful Steam FAQ on the developer website which you can find here.
That doesn’t help. Got anything else?
Yes. Have a look at the Sega Knowledgebase Articles as they have a lot of helpful information in solving technical problems with running the game.
I have a question, but it’s not here!
If you have a question, please email the maintainer of this FAQ, Gaius Colinius. He will try to find an answer to your question and may upload it to the FAQ. Likewise if you have information or news on Empire: Total War, email us and we’ll post it giving you credit for passing it on.
The Empire: Total War Screenshots Gallery
If you want to see some great screenshots of the game, visit the Screenshots Gallery.