Geek Interview – Expanding The Tabletop RPG & Venturing Into Brand New Factions of Total War: Warhammer III

Forged by the anvils of ice, the Kislev might stand tall and mighty but how long can they survive against the chaos embers of Khorne, for the end is nigh when the Blood God lets loose its hate, anger and war across the Old World – Blood for the Blood God! Skulls for the Skull Throne!

Welcome to the world of Total War: Warhammer III, arguably the most anticipated video game title in the Warhammer trilogy. As the longest-running Total War franchise, it is a culmination of over five years of hard work and we’re finally at the end of the epic trilogy, with one that features the biggest rosters and monumental factions in the Warhammer universe.

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Total War: Warhammer III, will be the first game to feature Kislev and the Cathay, two races that have been loosely seen in its tabletop lore and books, but were never fully spec out, and this has gotten fans, and even the developers themselves thrilled.

Speaking with Lead Battle Designer, Jim Whitston and Battle Designer James Martin, the first thing they brought up was how excited they were when Games Workshop mentioned they were considering fully spec-ing out both of those races in terms of the roster of units, characters, monsters and even the spell lore.” 

“It was a privilege to look over the shoulders of the (Games Workshop) designers as they went through the process of filling both of those (Kislev & Cathay) races out,” Whitston said.

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In the new trailer, you’re able to see a short battle between Kislev and Khorne, two completely new factions that’ll take the helm on the trilogy alongside Cathay and the other Chaos factions.

The Kingdom of Kislev, known as the Realm of the Ice Queen currently ruled by Tzarina Katarin Bokha, is a powerful faction that stands in between the human civilization and Hordes of the Chaos Undivided, which includes the many Chaos Factions first-time playable in Warhammer III such as Khorne, Tzeentch, Nurgle and Slaanesh.

To withstand the Chaos hordes, Kislev is filled with strong line infantry units that are both stalwart and versatile, thanks to their missile capabilities, a unique feature to the units that adds a lot of tactical depth and playstyles to work around with. 

The Kislev will feature two new lores of magic wielded by the Frost Maidens and the Ice Witches,Tempest and Ice. One controls the power over the weather to conjure devastating blizzards and the other, harnesses the murderous power of cold to evoke deadly lances of ice from the ground. Besides magic, there are also the mighty iconic Winged Lancers and Bear Cavalry units that can shred the frontlines of their opponents apart like paper. 

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While not surprising, it was reassuring to hear that Martin and Whitston even got themselves into the tabletop game just to research these factions, units and lore. Recognizing first-hand how each faction was different not just visually but with the content they offer, has helped them add depth and authenticity to the game in line with the source material.

As each of these Chaos Gods differs very much in terms of their nature, resources, units and spells lore, they spent a long time researching them.

“We wanted to make sure we fully understand what it is that makes them tick, both on the battlefield and campaign. And it has been a real joy to go through each race to work out their individual mechanics for each God,” explained Whitston. 

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This also gave them a chance to expand on the lore. With the Khorne, they’ll have little missile units and no magic because of their scorn against magic usage. But as an advantage, they possess extremely strong magic resistance so players are forced to adjust the way they play, adding an “asymmetry feature set” that they decided to “embrace rather than gloss over.”

Sticking to its originality doesn’t come without challenges of course, as they are embracing a greater balancing burden, Whitston said. Balancing these factions and units have always been the team’s utmost priority to ensure a fair and enjoyable experience for old and new players alike.

The entire 20-years of Total War series has given them a strong foundation to help the team layout plans for new features like single entity units, flying creatures, and magical lores in the very first Total War: Warhammer.

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“Being the long-running franchise has been a real strength for us and has allowed us to perhaps embrace more ambition than we could have done otherwise,” shared Whitston.

Having a longer time frame between Warhammer II and III also proved useful as it gave the developers more time to perfect the game mechanics and features. Going into Warhammer III with open eyes, they explained that they’ve become more comfortable with the balancing process thanks to the franchise and it has allowed them to add richness and authenticity in the last title to reflect the source material.

Besides factions and gameplay, Warhammer III will also feature new battle modes such as the Survival Battle and several other multiplayer modes on top of that. The Survival Battle sees the player assault the domain of a Chaos Realm to overtake their citadel before defending waves of incoming enemies.

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Martin noted that these Survival Battle modes will also add visual and audio unique to each Chaos God so players can immersive themselves in the special realms and understand the distinctive type of battle they’re taking on. 

“We really try to take note of the fans on our communities and forums, so we brought over new updates to get the game to look more sleek and user-friendly for new players so everyone can get into the final game of the trilogy”, Whitston mentioned.

Having a unique experience with these factions was also one of the reasons to incorporate Survival Battle into the game as it takes place at a high point in the narrative of the campaign, and they want to push the normal field battles even further despite its already epic scale.

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With so many new factions, modes and features, Total War: Warhammer III is looking to be the most ambitious, biggest and epic conclusion to the entire franchise and we’re pumped for more updates on the other factions like the Cathay which we hope they’ll put out soon.

Of course, as customary, Total War: Warhammer III will be seeing continued support of content and DLCs after its initial release much like the other titles.

Total War: Warhammer III is slated to release in late 2021.