Following last week's leaks, the Creative Assembly have confirmed that their next game will be Total War: Rome II.
Details on the game are still somewhat sparse, but we know that the game will feature some serious graphical improvements over the previous titles in the series and, after the tight focus of Shogun 2, will be again opting for a sprawling, epic scale. This time around the game will cover all of Europe, extending further east than the original Rome: Total War map, although it will again feature many of the same factions. Whether the Roman faction will be split between three families as before has not yet been confirmed. Creative Assembly have said that the game is their biggest project to date, requiring a budget 40% larger than their biggest previous game.
The battle engine, although based on the same Warscape technology that every Total War title since Empire has employed, has received some serious upgrades. Combined-arms land-and-sea battles have been retained, but now expanded in scope for assaults on harbour cities. The above screenshot depicts the Roman fleet assaulting Carthage's harbour, whilst below shows ground forces attacking the city centre. Cities are now absolutely massive, with numerous 'points of control' that have to be secured to ensure the city's surrender. The old trick of racing to the city square and holding it for a couple of minutes is no longer possible, in a sop to both realism and the computer's AI (which used to either make the city square near-impregnable or simply abandon it for no good reason).
The Creative Assembly are also expanding the game's graphics and animation, with soldiers in units whose morale is slipping now reacting more noticeably, perhaps panicking or showing fear on their faces. Another major change is the addition of characters, people like Scipio or Cicero whose presence will affect the way affairs unfold (and perhaps make assassinations more necessary to proceed).
Total War: Rome II will be released for the PC in the latter half of 2013, er, sorry, MMXIII.