Looks like there will be a new competition for Dota 2 and League of Legends. Strategy game veteran Creative Assembly has announced a new multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game, dubbed Total War: Arena. The game has you play history's greatest commanders and their armies against each other in big team-based battles. It is set to be the first game by Creative Assembly that would follow a free-to-play model and is otherwise a strange take on the Total War formula. You can sign up for the closed beta on the official website.

MOBA games revolve around two teams, usually consisting of five players each, battling it out in an arena that is usually composed of two bases—one for each team—and three lanes to get to them. The aim of the game for both teams is the destroy an important structure in the other team's base. Notable games in the genre include Dota 2, League of Legends and some lesser-known titles such as Awesomenauts. It will be interesting to see how Creative Assembly adapts Total War: Arena to fit into the genre.

Total War: Arena is going to be a fresh new take on the Total War forumla

Total War: Arena is going to be a fresh new take on the Total War forumla

The other game that Creative Assembly is working on—Total War: Rome 2—is set to be a more traditional Total War grand-strategy game. Back in July, Lead Designer Jamie Russell had said during Rezzed that the game would deliver “a darker vision of war”. He said some interesting things about how the game will be. “Close-up, we want the men to feel more human. We've got facial animations, emotional interactions between men; so that if the guy next to me gets hit by an arrow, I'll react to that. It's all about a darker vision of war. We want the combat to feel more brutal, more visceral. And we want the form-combat to really get a sense of that Roman war machine, that unique fighting style of the Roman meat grinder legions,” he said.

One of the bigger changes announced was that the land and sea battles won’t be separate things; they can be part of the same giant battle. You could have your soldiers jump out of their boats to help support your cavalry. Russell stated that their aim for Rome 2 was to “deliver some of the most spectacular sights you've ever seen in a video game.”

Revealing other details about Rome 2, Russell said the campaign map is to be “much larger” than in Rome 1. The northern forests will have barbarian tribes and there will be the “exotic” Eastern kingdoms in the desert, not to mention Rome will also be there. That will amount to a “huge variety of fighting styles, cultures and environments”.

There will also be political intrigue and rivalries in the Senate and within families. “We want the player to be thinking things like, do I save the Republic or do I play to become Emperor,” said Russell. “This was a time when the personal decisions of Julius Caesar and Cleopatra shaped empires, they forged history with their personal decisions.” However, he added that the code on show was “super, super early” and was “way, way, pre-alpha”.

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