Speaking to NME, Total War: Pharaoh director Todor Nikolov has shared that the upcoming strategy game’s Egyptian Court feature will serve as a “game within a game” for players to scheme their way into power.
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In line with the wider Total War series, Pharaoh will task players with conquering a turn-based campaign map while maneuvering their armies in real-time battles. But the historical strategy has a new feature: the Egyptian Court, which lets Total War fans try their hand at politics.
Here, players can gain favour with the court’s most influential figures – such as its religious head or treasurer – in return for powerful rewards, or plot to blackmail rivals and even usurp their position. Discussing the feature, Nikolov revealed that developer Creative Assembly wanted to give players more ways to interact with other factions in the game.
“It’s a game within a game,” shared Nikolov. “It’s inspired by a number of board games, and it’s a new thing we’re adding to Total War because these are not characters belonging to your faction.”
“The whole thing can be used as a toolbox to get yourself out of difficult positions,” he added. “More than once I managed to defend a city just because I had good relations with [Egypt’s] High Commander and he sent me some units. It’s a fun way to customise, build and develop your faction.”
Pharaoh‘s court system isn’t the only feature that adds more depth to the campaign map. The game also marks the return of A Total War Saga: Troy‘s resource-based economy, which tasks players with managing things like stone and food on top of their currency.
Nikolov explained that Creative Assembly wanted to “further explore and develop” the system, and thought it was “relevant to the design period and story” of Pharaoh.
“The dynamics are very different from what we see in Troy,” they said. “For example, it’s very important to have stone if you want to properly develop your settlements and buildings, so you need to take into account that stones will grow sparse after a certain portion in your campaign.”
Outside of Total War: Pharaoh, the latest Total War: Warhammer 3 update has made its AI factions “smarter” and less likely to hound players.