An Introduction to Immortal Empires
Immortal Empires is easily the most anticipated game mode coming to Total War: WARHAMMER III, and represents the world-encompassing vision we’ve been working towards since first partnering with Games Workshop nearly a decade ago. The combined battlefield brings everything we’ve built throughout the Total War: WARHAMMER series into WARHAMMER III: including the Races, factions, units, and Legendary Lords, all of which will find their home on a massive battlefield that spans the Warhammer world. In every respect, it’s the most ambitious project—and hands-down the most complicated one—we’ve ever attempted, and we’re thrilled to begin sharing more about the game mode now and in the weeks to come.
For all of you looking to get your hands on immortal Empires, we’re aiming to roll out the beta version of the game mode this August. Don’t worry; we’ll explain exactly what we mean by “beta” further below, but first, we want to spotlight some of what it’ll be bringing to Total War: WARHAMMER III.
WHAT’S NEW IN IMMORTAL EMPIRES?
Immortal Empires is much more than the sum of each game’s content smashed together into a larger map. Rather, the new game mode offers a variety of new features and approaches to the combined battlefield:
- Access all 86 Legendary Lords from all three Total War: WARHAMMER titles.
- Be’Lakor is now a Legendary Lord with his own faction.
- Dedicated factions for a number of the older Legendary Lords, including: Grombrindal, Helman Ghorst, and Volkmar the Grim.
- New starting locations for 29 of the older Legendary Lords.
- Improved personal faction mechanics for a selection of the older Legendary Lords (such as Volkmar the Grim).
- A new ‘Sea Lanes’ feature, which allow you to move armies between distant lands and continents—from one side of the map to the other—without leapfrogging them all the way across the map.
- New dynamic end-game scenarios: randomised mid- to late-game challenges we’re introducing to challenge the late-game steamroll—where the player is so powerful that there’s little-to-no challenge left and less of a reason to complete the campaign. Think Greenskin invasions or resurgences of the undead, as a few examples…
- Revamped victory conditions. Most players don’t end up finishing campaigns, and we want to give them better reasons—and a greater level of satisfaction—for doing so. As such, we’ve simplified the victory requirements into more meaningful objectives while avoiding any arbitrary playstyle requirements.
- Corruption rework. Players will have new tools for spreading (or reducing) corruption through more active usage of their armies. Small amounts of natural reduction will also be available to uncorrupted factions.
- 8-player multiplayer campaigns. And as a bonus, only the host of an Immortal Empires multiplayer campaign needs to own all three games. Friends who only own WARHAMMER III will still be able to join the campaign, though their Legendary Lord choices will (naturally) be limited to the ones they own.
As you can see, on top of the enormous collection of content, there are plenty of new features and improvements on the way, including a new lease on life for many of the older Legendary Lords! (We’ll be talking about each of these points in the weeks to come, so watch out for more deep dives into them in the future.)
WHY WE’RE CALLING IT A “BETA”
When Immortal Empires arrives this August, you’ll notice that it initially appears with a BETA tag until such time as we feel it no longer applies. When we first mentioned this earlier this year, we noted some of the concerns being raised within the community about the decision:
Will Immortal Empires be “finished” when it launches? Will it be implemented in smaller parts over time? How long do we have to wait until it’s *fully* playable?
These are all fair questions in the absence of the proper context, so we want to take a moment to explain why we made this choice and what you can expect from Immortal Empires when it actually arrives later this year.
To begin, we need to talk a little about how Immortal Empires is built…
In order to create the game mode, the development team had to collect and combine the content, features, mechanics, systems, and code from three different codebases into a single mega-campaign. Now, taking big chunks of content, data, and code from one game and porting them into another is always a challenge—speaking from experience in this regard—and takes a significant amount of time and tailoring to get all the pieces to play nice with each other and work properly. Even after the technical implementations are done, there are still bugs to find and fix, as well as a significant amount of playtesting to ensure that (as an example) one race isn’t ridiculously under- or over-powered or that each race’s unique features and mechanics are working as intended.
In short: Immortal Empires isn’t just a “port” of content from one game to another; it’s a mountain of phenomenally change-sensitive, technical work. Here are a few examples of what’s still being done as we speak:
- Lighting across battle maps is more advanced in WARHAMMER III, so it takes time to get all the older environments re-authored to meet the same current standards.
- Achieving parity across other details—such as the UI, character models, VFX, audio, and general game balance—will be a gradual process that continues over time.
- Corruption is also a biggie. We changed how it works quite fundamentally in WARHAMMER III, and we’re doing even more to improve it in Immortal Empires. It’s a game system that touches every playable race: regarding how they exploit, react to, or suffer from corruption, so it’s a system that will continue to evolve until it settles in a good place.
These are just a few of the more visible items that we have to contend with, and there are many, MANY more that could be a blog (or, frankly, a novel) of their own. We’re determined to get Immortal Empires into your hands, but we want to be realistic: it won’t be the “final,” finished product on day one—just as Mortal Empires wasn’t at its launch in WARHAMMER II. Ultimately, this entire three-game project won’t truly be complete for years to come, which is why we’re initially launching it under the banner of a “BETA.”
It’s worth noting that it WON’T be an opt-in beta; we’ll add it right into the main game for WARHAMMER III, which means it won’t divide the player-base across separate versions of the game or harm the multiplayer experience if you want to dive into the new mode.
IMMORTAL EMPIRES: DAY 1
So, what will Immortal Empires be like come August?
At present, our aim is for the mode to be fully “content-complete” in terms of the available Races, factions, Legendary Lords, units, and geography, as well as all the extra features and improvements noted in the “What’s New” section, above. You’ll be able to start a full sandbox campaign to play and conquer however you wish, use any Legendary Lord accessible (based on your game ownership) from any of the three games, or experiment with the older Legendary Lords benefiting from their revamp (especially Ghorst, *ho ho*).
Given the sheer scale of the project, there are bound to be some visual and technical bugs, and we’ll be providing a known issues list when Immortal Empires does go live. Nevertheless, we’re confident that game mode will be massive, packed with content, functional, and fun on day one!
THE EVOLUTION OF IMMORTAL EMPIRES
The moment the Immortal Empires beta goes live, its life truly begins! In the years to come, we’ll continue honing and improving it, adding new features and improving existing ones, and introducing new content to help it grow over time.
Throughout this process, we’ll want to hear from you about what you like and (yes) what you don’t! We want to understand your impressions on things like the balance between factions, trends you’re spotting across the campaigns you play, or anything that just rubs you the wrong way. We’ll set up dedicated feedback channels for you to provide your thoughts and will also be keeping a keen eye on the popular community hangouts like the Total War subreddit.
Major patches will still arrive alongside new content packs as they did in WARHAMMER II, but we’ll also be releasing interim patches between the content packs, as well. When we start seeing trends around certain topics and features in Immortal Empires, we’ll bring those items to the forefront of the queue and react to your feedback as quickly and efficiently as we’re able.
With all that in mind: when the Immortal Empires beta goes live, the best approach is to consider this “Phase 1.” It’ll be the most enormous and varied strategic sandbox we’ve ever created—with all the content you expect and more—and we know it’ll only get better over time.
More to come, so stay tuned for more about Immortal Empires and all the cool stuff coming to Total War: WARHAMMER III!