The Creative Assembly and Sega have revealed that the next game in the Total War series - the seventh full game overall - will be Shogun 2: Total War.
Shogun: Total War was the very first game in the series, released back in 2000, and won a ton of critical acclaim and a slew of awards, including a BAFTA for Best Game Soundtrack in 2001. The game was limited in scope and was seen as more of a test-bed for technologies that would be employed on a much more massive scale in its successors, Medieval: Total War and Rome: Total War. A return to Shogunate Japan seemed more likely following Creative Assembly's release of Medieval II: Total War in 2006, indicating they were prepared to develop direct sequels to their earlier games. However, it was believed that Rome 2 was a much more likely bet, due to the greater size and scope of the Roman period.
Shogun 2's announcement is therefore slightly surprising but still welcome, especially as Creative Assembly seems to be adopting the line that they are aware of significant problems that have been creeping into the franchise (culminating in the release of Empire: Total War in a broken state) and are using Shogun 2's much smaller scope and number of factions to concentrate on these other areas, although they are also indicating that the islands of Japan will be scaled so that the map will still be huge in size. Having won back some of the trust of the fanbase lost with Empire through the much more stable and enjoyable Napoleon: Total War, it will be interesting to see if CA can continue to repair the reputation of the franchise with this title.
Although not fully confirmed, Shogun 2 appears to still be using the Empire engine (the first time an engine has sustained three titles in the series) and the composer for the original game is returning. The game is slated for an early 2011 release.