Medieval II: Total War – Kingdoms: Britannia Campaign Dev Diary

Sega has released a developer diary for Medieval II: Total War – Kingdoms in which Taamati Hanson-Pou, Game Designer at Creative Assembly Australia, goes over the game’s Britannia Campaign. Read the two-part diary below, then check out a video preview of the Britannia Campaign and some new screenshots at the end.

Part One:

G’day my name is Taamati Hanson-Pou, I am one of the designers working on Medieval II: Kingdoms, the expansion pack for Medieval II: Total War. My work primarily involves campaign design and construction, typing in spreadsheets and drinking coffee. In this diary I’m going to be taking you through the Britannia campaign, one of four new campaigns in the Kingdoms expansion. In this first part, I’ll examine our reasons for choosing Britannia as one of our campaigns and discuss what the setting brings to the expansion. I’ll also examine the campaign features and how these tie in historically, with the setting and period.

One of the main reasons behind selecting Britannia for the Kingdoms expansion was the history of conflict in the area. There was so much documented history of famous battles and rebellions, it was almost impossible to ignore the setting. Many of the old medieval tales have a very Celtic flavour and, certainly when I think of medieval history, I think of this kind of imagery. We wanted to capture that part of history, where folklore became legend and allow the player to steer the direction of these mighty kingdoms. We also wanted to give the player the chance to take his or her chosen faction and achieve that which no one in history has ever been able to do – completely conquer Britannia.

The Britannia campaign is set at the starting year of 1258 AD. During this period, King Henry III was on the English throne and England occupied parts of Ireland and Wales. As a result, tensions between these parties are tense to say the least. In contrast, the Scots, ruled by King Alexander III, are on good terms with the English at the time. They are more concerned with dealing with Norway as they both vie for control over the isles scattered island settlements.

The reason for choosing this particular starting point is that this period sets the scene for a number of rebellions that occur historically. This gave us the ultimate “what if” scenario – what could have happened if Llywelyn ap Gruffydd had won the rebellion in reclaiming independence of Wales? What if Norway turned their back on signing the Treaty of Perth? These kind of potential events set the scene for our campaign.

Throughout the campaign we have included a number of emergent rebellions and rebel forces, one of which is the Baron’s Alliance led by Simon De Montfort. In this instance, depending on how England is governed, there is a chance that Simon de Montfort and his followers may rebel against England. With the emergence of the Baron’s Alliance, England’s generals and governors will start to question their own position. Loyalty therefore, becomes an extremely important factor in this conflict and a disloyal general at the right place at the wrong time can turn the tide of the power struggle.

The Baron’s Alliance can also actively work with a player that is not playing as the English. The Alliance can give missions to other factions to help the rebellion to get established. The player will be able to choose whether to help them or not, though not without consequence.

Another key gameplay element of the campaign are the permanent forts located on the map. A permanent fort is like a mini castle. Although they don’t allow the construction of units, they often guard key strategic locations. The forts also allow free upkeep for a certain number of troops garrisoned. A number of these have moats, which make them even stronger defensively. If you capture an enemy fort in an enemy region, when occupied, there is an increased rate of devastation on the land, effectively reducing the income of the enemy settlement. Permanent forts also act as good staging grounds for regrouping and attacking. Our artists have created a variety of forts that the player can fight over on the battlefield.

Throughout the campaign we also have a few surprises’ that may or may not occur depending on the players actions. One them being the emergence of William Wallace and his horde of highlanders to fight for Scotland’s freedom. There are various other “Notable figures” throughout the game, but we’ll keep those under wraps for now.

That concludes the first part of this diary on the Britannia campaign. In the second part I’ll examine the factions included in the campaign and the different play styles they present.

Part Two:

G’day my name is Taamati Hanson-Pou, I am one of the designers working on Medieval II: Kingdoms, the expansion pack for Medieval II. In this second part of my diary I’m going to be focusing once again, on the Britannia campaign, one of four new campaigns available in Kingdoms. Specifically, I’m going to be giving you a guide to the factions that are available in the campaign and describing some of the play styles they present.

When the player starts the campaign they can choose to play as one of five factions – England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and Norway. Each of these factions has been given their own distinct flavour.

England starts off strong and fields a well-rounded army with heavy infantry and heavy cavalry their key strengths. They begin with the balance of power well in their favour, although their forces are spread thinly across their provinces. This exposes them to attack early on from any rival factions intent on reclaiming territory. There are a good few of those.

Wales starts off comparatively weak to most of the other factions. However, Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, ruler of Wales at the time, has rallied support from almost his entire lands to aid his ambitions to reclaim territory from the English. The Welsh armies field the best missile troops in the early game; they also field a lot of light infantry and multi-skilled skirmishing units. Wales also has access to a lot of cheap units which will help them in the fight against England. Wales may feel like the “underdog” in their struggle with the English but certainly have the armies to hurt them significantly early on, particularly as the English will be stretched to concentrate their military efforts initially.

Ireland’s mix of units is quite different; they have a fast, lightly armoured army that makes good use of their swift native horses. They also utilise a good mix of missile cavalry units, later being able to build the Mounted Calivermen, a late unit rifleman on horse back. As well as fielding the Deisi Javelinmen who are native tribesmen (who became extinct around the period of our campaign) that wield the traditional shaieelagh. Ireland starts off quite small and must quickly remove England from their soil if they are to survive and conquer the isles.

Scotland starts off in a decent, consolidated position and expansion, at least at first, will be possible for the Scots and their ferocious Highland warriors, whether they choose to invade England or Ireland. Scotland’s units are more than capable of stopping any force in their track with superior pike technology and vicious Highlanders. However, should Scotland have the unfortunate task or receiving the brunt of the Norwegian invasion force, their expansion efforts will probably need to be withdrawn to concentrate on the defence of their home territory.

Norway’s unit make-up focuses on shock tactics and brute force. They should be able to do a lot of damage quickly, however their attack-focused strategy does not favour sustained combat. Norway starts off quite small controlling a number of islands around the mainland. They begin by receiving naval re-enforcements and generally play as a faction that raids and sacks cities as they progress, as funds will be hard to come by. Norway also has the best fleets on the map at the beginning so they pretty much own the water making them the “Wild Card” in this conflict. They are however, very important to the campaign as a whole, as the timing and location of their invasion troops will have a significant influence on the way the campaign is shaped for all factions involved.

That concludes my diary on the Britannia campaign. I hope this has given you an insight into the factions and units you’ll get to play and some of the gameplay you’ll get to explore. Very soon we’ll bring you a detailed look at the 3 remaining campaigns that make up the Kingdoms expansion, so stayed tuned for those diaries.

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