“I think the Napoleonic period is one that fascinates many people”: an interview with the Napoleonic Total War 3 team
It’s time to delve into what the Total War modding community has come up with once more! Last time, we took a look at the Medieval Kingdoms 1212 AD mod for Total War: ATTILA. This time, we’re jumping forward to a completely different time period to take a look at Napoleonic Total War 3, a mod that may have maintained its focus on the Napoleonic era but has technically spanned multiple Total War titles. Check out what the team had to say below!
CA: What is NTW3?
Lordz Modding Collective: Napoleonic Total War 3 (NTW3 for short) is the third instalment in a series of mods developed by a group called the Lordz Modding Collective. NTW1 was created for MEDIEVAL: Total War back in 2003 and NTW2 for ROME: Total War. When Creative Assembly released Total War: NAPOLEON, the team immediately began working on it – a project that would become NTW3, and has been available since 2011.
NTW3 is a deep overhaul of the base game, ranging from carefully calibrated and realistic battle mechanics to new modes of gameplay (Army Corps), over 10,000 unique and historically documented units, 35 playable nations, over 2,000 commanders, more than 150 maps including famous battles like Austerlitz, Borodino, and Waterloo, and a customised user interface (UI) to make this level of complexity more user friendly. While we have reworked the main European campaign of 1805 and the Peninsular Campaign, the mod remains mostly focused on multiplayer games of up to four versus four players and has a remarkably active community, especially when we consider that the game is 10 years old!
CA: How many people work on NTW3?
Lordz Modding Collective: With such a long history, many people have contributed to NTW3 over the years such as Lordz Avon, Fullin, Desaix, Lancier, Lepic, JC, and many others who have given their time and skills. The current modding team includes Cosak, who is our team leader and works on overall gameplay development and balancing, the custom UI, and is responsible for putting everything together. We also have two brilliant unit model makers in Uxbridge and Bogdan, and our latest addition to the team, Metjuhaumer, is the map-making specialist. Davn is responsible for campaign development and does much of our social media work alongside Liberalis. CommodoreWesley is our naval specialist and works on the campaign too, and I (MightyOwl) work on historical research, faction development, and 2D art.
CA: How is NTW3 different from other Napoleon mods?
Lordz Modding Collective: The central aim of this mod is to try to emulate as best as possible the warfare of the period in all its aspects – and so, unlike most other mods that are devoted to the campaign element, NTW3 focuses on relatively large multiplayer battles where you must coordinate with your team and use actual historical tactics to overcome your opponents. For example, we use a fog of war system on the battlefield, so to gain the initiative you must send scouts ahead to find the enemy.
I think the scale of NTW3 is much greater than any other Napoleon mod. We are trying to create rosters that can contain almost every regiment that fought for each nation, accurately represent their uniforms, the regiment’s historical combat performance, and give a historical description of what that regiment did in the Napoleonic Wars. It’s a huge task but very rewarding at the same time and gives NTW3 a unique attention to detail.
CA: How does NTW3 use historical sources?
Lordz Modding Collective: We make use of a wide variety of historical material and try to use primary sources when we can. This is a lot easier in 2021 because many original books have been digitised. I would say that our in-game regimental descriptions are one of the most complete resources out there. Another motivation is to tell the stories of soldiers and generals who fought in over 20 years of war and have been forgotten in many cases.
CA: What is the future of the mod?
Lordz Modding Collective: During the last few patches, we’ve been focusing on a unique game mode called Theatres of War. In this mode, the focus is on a certain Napoleonic campaign (for example 1806 to 1807, but there are many others) and the available factions you can select are not full nations but the different Army Corps of the armies involved in that campaign. So, for example, you could choose to play Marshal Davout’s III Corps, or the Imperial Guard, or Marshal Murat’s cavalry reserve corps in Napoleon’s army of that campaign. We want to give players as close an experience to being a Napoleonic general as is possible in a game. We’ve also been working on the Egyptian Campaign and hope to do a version of the Italian Campaign in the future.
CA: Why NTW3?
Lordz Modding Collective: I think the Napoleonic period is one that fascinates many people and has some of the most striking and flamboyant uniforms in history. It’s a time of sweeping changes in warfare and socially with the French Revolution. We are all big fans of the period, and try to provide through our mod a place where people can immerse themselves in the age and its characters – and, most importantly, where they can put their strategic skills to the test in a mod designed to represent Napoleonic warfare as closely as possible.
CA: Can you tell us a bit about the reception your mod received from the Total War community?
Lordz Modding Collective: NTW3 started with a small, tightly knit community of Napoleonic enthusiasts, many inherited from NTW2. The mod played to a niche audience of players who directly sought it out because players they knew and respected were talking about it. As the mod evolved and got increasingly expanded and perfected, our community grew immensely from those humble beginnings to a sizeable and very active player base. We often get feedback from the community as well – with so many units and factions we sometimes get things wrong, so we try to correct them when we can.
CA: Knowing what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently during the mod’s development?
Lordz Modding Collective: Sometimes the scale of the mod is a bit daunting, and it might have been easier not to have quite so many units! I think it’s worth it, though.
CA: Where can people get their hands on your mod?
Lordz Modding Collective: Our mod is available via ModDB and we also have our own Discord server. If you’re passionate about historical gaming and love the Napoleonic period, come and give our mod a try.