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Total War: Warhammer 3 revealed, and the cinematic trailer is very Khorney

Creative Assembly’s real-time strategy series is sticking it out in the Old World

Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

On Wednesday the team at Creative Assembly revealed Total War: Warhammer 3, what the publisher Sega calls the “epic culmination of the Total War: Warhammer trilogy.” No release date or price was mentioned in the press release, but we do know a bit about the factions and the setting. Fans of the old-school tabletop game will be excited to hear that developers will be returning to the classic Old World setting — much like the tabletop game itself, after a five-year dalliance with the Age of Sigmar.

Total War: Warhammer is an elaborate turn-based strategy series shot through with intimate, real-time battles. It builds on Creative Assembly’s own style of pausable real-time combat, which dates back more than 20 years to the release of Shogun: Total War. And the series draws upon the rich history of Games Workshop’s wildly popular tabletop miniatures game, first released in 1983.

The first entry in the series, Total War: Warhammer, was released in 2016. The sequel, Total War: Warhammer 2, was released just one year later. The two games combined both narratively and literally to tell a sprawling tale from multiple perspectives across a massive world map. Developers say that this time around players will be fighting on truly unfamiliar territory — the nightmarish Chaos Realm.

In the lore of Warhammer, the Realm of Chaos — also known as The Aethyr — is a dimension of pure magic. The cinematic trailer shows Kislev warriors, a fictional human faction that draws from Polish and Russian military history, fighting against the demonic forces of Khorne. The battlefield itself is an impassable frozen landscape with tooth-like mountains rising in the distance. The imagery recalls some of the more fantastical battlescapes from previous entries in the series, which included massive underground caverns and other unearthly environments.

Today’s press release confirms both the Kislev and Cathay armies as playable factions alongside the agents of Chaos — Khorne, Nurgle, Slaanesh, and Tzeentch. Fans of the Warhammer 40,000 setting will recognize those gods, which are shared between both gameplay systems. Today’s news release also hints at “iconic new races from the World of Warhammer Fantasy Battles system.” Expect more information on those factions to trickle out, along with details on a release window, over the next several months.

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