Today is the first set of answers to questions from the Lusty-Jack-s-Hardcore-Facts-Get-your-questions-in-now!
I've paraphrased the questions, as a lot of them repeated throughout the thread. The answers will come in multiple batches, and I'm sure you can see no detail is being skipped with these answers.
So without further ado, the first set of answers, which you can discuss here
Will the Phalanx be the same as in Rome I? How does it work?
There are 2 types of phalanx, the pike phalanx and the hoplite phalanx. The latter did not appear in Rome I, and works much like a shield wall for traditional hoplite style units. Pike Phalanx works similar to how Yari Wall did in Shogun 2. The front 3 row of pikes will block any enemy soldiers that come into contact with them, allowing the pikemen to attack enemies from long range. Soldiers can eventually get past the pikes and attack close up. Pike Phalanx does not turn around instantly like in Rome I, and remains vulnerable from the sides and rear. Soldiers in the formation will try and maintain formation for as long as possible.
Has the ability to shoot artillery in first person made it into Rome II? Is there a range limitation to how far you can fire?
Yes first person artillery mode is in Rome II.
How does the AI use phalanxes in battle?
It will try and maintain a line and use them together.
Why did controls change from walk being the default move order to run?
We felt it was a better default for unit movement.
How strong will the RPS balancing be in Rome II compared to Shogun 2?
The balancing will be different for Rome II. The RPS nature of balance in Shogun 2 was emphasised a lot because of the unit roster in that game. With all factions sharing almost the same units, we pushed the RPS side of the balance to add a different dynamic to the battles. With the diverse unit rosters in Rome II the RPS balancing is still there, that's been part of every Total War game, but is reduced compared to Shogun 2.
Why was Shogun 2 so fast paced compared to other Total War games?
That was the pace we felt was right for Shogun 2. In Rome II the unit speeds are lower and combat lasts longer because that is right for this game.
How will AI generals behave on the battlefield? Will they be aggressive or prudent?
That will depend on what unit the AI general is. Only Rome and Carthage have generals units
similar to traditional Total War ones, small groups of men focused more on morale boosting. Other factions have combat orientated generals units such as Companion Cavalry for Macedon. Carthage can also have War Elephants as a generals unit. Those units are meant to get involved in combat. That does not mean the AI will be reckless with its generals, but they will be getting involved in combat.
Can all cavalry dismount and how does this work?
Yes all cavalry units can dismount and the mechanic works the same as Shogun 2, where when they dismount the horses remain behind, and the men will have to run back to the horses to remount. If enemy units get to the horses those will run away and the cavalry will not be able to remount anymore.
Can we disembark cavalry and elephants during combined battles?
In the situation where you have a transport fleet in the campaign and it takes part in a combined battle, cavalry and elephants will appear as infantry on transport ships and will disembark as infantry.
Can routing units return to the fight later on?
Yes as has been the case in all Total War games. The only units that can't are shattered units, and we show them by removing the banner from above the unit when this happens.
Do forests provide cover against missiles?
We do collision detection with missiles, so they can collide with trees and be blocked so being in a forest can help provide cover against missile fire.
Does the eye symbol above units (which shows if a unit is visible to the enemy) disappear when enemies see you, even if you can't see them?
The eye symbol will show when your units are visible or not, regardless of whether you can see the enemy. Even if you know you can be seen by a hidden unit, it does not mean you know where it is. Plenty of room for surprises to still happen.
What tactics are there in naval battles?
You can destroy enemy ships in a variety of ways. You can ram them, board them, sink them with artillery or set them on fire. Ships come in 3 main types. Melee ships for getting close and boarding, missile ships for killing crew at range or setting other ships on fire and artillery ships with their very long range but vulnerable if boarded. There are also fighting towers and small siege engines that can appear on melee ships to help give extra killing power to some ships. The strengths of ships will also vary by culture for example Eastern/Persian ships are more heavily armoured than other cultures.
How do you control reinforcing armies or fleets?
Armies and fleets can have a max of 20 units in the campaign. During battle you can directly control 40 units, or 2 full stacks. The main stack will be deployed at the start of battle, and the second stack will come on as reinforcements as blocks of 5. You control all of them directly. If you have more than 2 stacks on the campaign map, the units beyond 40 will come on as units rout or are withdrawn. The 40 units under your control is the max and can be 40 land units, 40 naval units, or 20 land and 20 naval units.
Will hidden archers reveal themselves when firing?
Yes unless the unit has the snipe attribute which allows a unit to fire hidden.
Why is the testudo depicted the way it is in-game, and what benefits does it have compared to the normal shield raising against missiles?
We have 2 testudo formations in the game. The attacking testudo is mobile and has the front and side protected, and is a documented Roman formation. The defensive testudo, used with spear units, is stationary and the front rank kneels with the ranks behind having shields over their head. This is based on the testudo as used by, for example, Mark Anthony against the Parthians.
Do cities grow on the battlemap to reflect their size on the campaign map?
There are multiple sizes of siege and minor settlement battle maps which increase in size based on the size of the settlement on the campaign map.
Will there be different types of forts?
There is one variant of fort per culture (Roman, Greek, Barbarian, Eastern)
Will Companion Cavalry be awesome?
Do all units of the same weapon type have the same animation? Will there be musicians in the game?
The answer to these two questions go together and this is going to be a fairly detailed explanation. There are no musicians on the battlefield, though there will be the sound of musical instruments, and units of the same weapon type will share animations. Why? Because we have an animation memory budget. Because we want the game to be playable on a wide variety of machines we have a set limit of how many animations we can fit into memory for the game. With that limit we have to plan very carefully in how we make use of it. With our emphasis on the human face, and getting more emotion on the battlefield we have made a lot of animations relating to that, as well as managing to get in almost double the number of animations compared to Shogun 2. If we put in different animation sets for the same weapon type, we would have to cut out most of the flavour and any variety in animations we have to make it all fit in the memory budget. Musicians also didn't make it for a similar reason, we are really cramming the animations in and unfortunately there is not the memory budget to fit them in.
Can we name fleets?
Yes they work the same as armies when it comes to customisation and traditions.
Do other factions have late game techs to allow them to compete with the Romans?
All factions have complete tech trees in the game, and all have units that can compete in the late game. We don't really need to make it up, many cultures had units and tech that they developed but did not get to use much, generally because the Romans came along and stomped all over them. The Gauls are a good example of this. They were becoming increasingly urbanised, and their armies better equipped and more professional at just the time that Caesar conquered them. Total War games are all about history playing out differently.
What role do women play in Rome II?
There are female agents in the campaign game, and generals can have wives as ancillaries.
How does diplomacy work between factions and their client states/vassals? Can they be absorbed into your faction?
Client states can be given war targets and they will try and achieve them. They can also conduct full diplomacy with other factions. Satraps can only trade with other factions or declare war on their masters. Client states/satraps cannot be absorbed.
Will Egypt have different tech branches so you can choose between going traditional or Hellenic?
This is more of a player choice. Egypt has a large and extensive roster, featuring Hellenic units along with native units and some Galatian and Nubian ones. You can decide how you play them.
Does the AI focus on taking out the player like in previous TW games or have you changed this?
On harder difficulties the AI will be more aggressive towards the player and less likely to accept your details, but on normal you are just another faction to them.
Will you still be able to see other faction icons in the end turn sequence? Doesn't this remove some of the element of discovery in the campaign?
Yes you will be able to see every faction's icon in the end turn sequence. Just because you know they are alive doesn't mean they will be in the same place they started. It's a big campaign map, who knows who the big power will be on the other side of the map when you get there?
How do the families for Rome and Carthage work? Can you declare war against them? Do other factions have anything similar?
Families are the internal politics for Rome and Carthage, alongside the Senate for each. They're part of the faction, not separate factions, so you fight against Rome as a whole, not against a family. Members from each family can be appointed to lead armies and fleets, and you can organise promotions and marriages for them, and you can also conspire against them. Other factions do have internal politics, but that is between the ruling family and the nobles instead of multiple families.
How does internal politics and civil wars work?
This answer is going to elaborate on the one above about the internal families for Rome and Carthage. Other factions appoint Generals to armies and fleets in the same way as Rome and Carthage, and same for promotions, marriages and conspiring against them. Internal politics matter because it can lead to civil wars. It is all about maintaining the balance of power between the families for Rome and Carthage, and between the ruling family and the nobles for the other factions. If they lose too much power, or the ruling family becomes too weak (for Rome and Carthage this is the one you choose to play as in the front end), a civil war can kick off. This is also influenced by the size of your faction. At small sizes individual generals will rebel, but once you get to a certain size a civil war can happen. For Rome and Carthage, if you have high power the civil war will kick off away from the capital. It can also kick off at the capital if you have low power, and this is how it works for other factions. When a civil war begins, the characters from other families will join it (if they lead your armies/fleets they will be automatically replaced) and have armies with new units, and your armies will lose men. You won't lose any units, but your armies will need time to replenish up to full strength. The opposing faction in the civil war can conduct full diplomacy with other factions but will not listen to you. If a civil war drags on for a long time there is a conciliation event. Once a civil war has happened another cannot for that faction, but individual generals can still rebel.
How do confederations work and how are they formed?
Confederations can be formed by barbarian factions between factions of the same sub-culture. You can ask another faction of the same sub-culture to join a confederation in diplomacy, but whether they accept will depend on how strong you are and how they feel about you. If a faction does join, they become merged with yours and then you are a single faction going forward. You have to start the confederation and can only be done through diplomacy. Factions that have been absorbed into a confederation can only reappear if there is a rebellion in their home region or if it is taken and the faction that captured it chooses to liberate/make them a vassal.
Can Greek factions form leagues?
No, confederations can only be formed by barbarian factions.
Do armies treat sea like land on the campaign map?
Armies can embark and cross seas, but are vulnerable to actual navies. They can also do the same to cross major rivers, and can cross minor rivers at any point but with a movement point penalty if it is not at a bridge.
Are there different seasons on the campaign map and how are they implemented? Is there attrition on the campaign map?
I'm answering these two together as they are linked. Seasons do not make an appearance on the campaign map but are in battles. What we do have on the campaign map is a wide variety of different terrain from snow, deserts, deep sea to mountain passes. This is a good opportunity to talk about how this has changed for Rome II. Environmental attrition is taken for standing in a terrain type but also when moving through it otherwise you might be able to bypass some of it by using forced march. Siege attackers also take attrition. Siege defenders take attrition when besieged, unless they are in a settlement with a port that isn't blockaded. They will also hold out for twice as long.
Can you exchange regions in diplomacy?
No this option has not returned as we have focused our efforts with diplomacy on war co-ordination and other new options such as non-aggression pacts and defensive alliances.
Can you retrain units to get new bonuses from better buildings?
Will Carthage look awesome on the campaign map?
All settlements look awesome on the campaign map. Carthage will not have a specialised model on the campaign, unlike on the battlefield.
Does the culture of a province effect what mercenaries can be recruited there?
Mercenaries are set for a province, and the pool of available mercs is shared by all. There is a second set of factional mercs that can be recruited in a province you own a region in, and only you have access to that pool. So Carthage for example can recruit Numidian mercs wherever it has a region.
Can you convert a province to your culture to force rebellions?
Yes. This can be done via the buildings you have in your regions in a province or via agents.
Do experienced units evolve into higher level units?
How do unit reforms like the Marian reforms work? Will pre-Marian units automatically convert to later troop types?
The reforms happen via technologies in the tech tree. You can then convert old units to the new types.
How do sea regions work?
See this thread for answers.
Can you 'free' people, like the liberate option in Shogun 2?
Yes but this will vary from culture to culture. Much like in Shogun 2 this decision will be made on capturing a settlement. For Romans, Greek and Easterns you can choose to make the faction a client state or satrap (if it is this last region). For barbarians you can choose to liberate, which will have the faction come back but with no diplomatic ties to you.
Will grass be flattened by troops moving over it?
Will Rome II support multi-monitor display?
How many soldiers will a high-end machine be able to handle before performance drops?
That will depend on the machine but on a top range machine you'll be able to get a lot of soldiers on screen.
What are your DLC plans?
You'll have to wait and see….
What is the next game going to be?
That would be telling.
Are some devs intergrated into the game?
There are a few easter eggs.
Why were the Seleucids left out of the playable faction list?
We had a lot of tough choices with the playable faction list, there are easily 20 factions we had to choose from. Each and every one could have had a place, but with the time and effort we put into each playable faction we could not have all of them. The Seleucids were one of the factions that didn't make the cut.
Was the siege of Salernum a representation of a minor settlement battle?
Yes, some minor settlement battles take place in the settlement, others with the settlement in the distance.
Do you take ideas from the forum and integrate them into future games?
The forums are a fantastic resource for us with so many passionate and dedicated fans throwing around ideas and it is interesting to see what people think. But remember that the design team here has a huge amount of collective experience in the games industry. We are paid to think of new ideas.
Will there be a legendary difficulty?
Will there be an Arabic translation of the game?
There’s no current plans for one I am afraid.
What cultures are there in the game? What effect do these have?
The meta-cultures are Roman, Greek, Eastern and Barbarian. These are then broken down into different sub-cultures which are important mostly for confederation with Barbarian factions. The cultures affect the options factions have when they capture settlements, and have different effects in diplomacy and what agent types there are. For example Greek factions have a diplomacy penalty with each other but have no positive/negative factor with other cultures. Barbarians by contrast have a cultural aversion to other cultures but only a small bonus towards each other.
Will there be special units in the game like Rome I? (Druids, berserkers and so on)
Druidic Nobles, Berserkers, Royal Spartans, Falxmen, War Dogs, Indian Armoured Elephants, Scythed Chariots and more. There are no shortage of special units in the game.
Why does Rome II include a black-transparent UI background instead of something like marble?
It helps integrate it into the game world and makes the game feel more of a whole instead of the UI being separate from it.
Is there a more friendly UI in development? I don't like the look of the existing one
The UI is very good to use, just wait until you get your hands on it.
Will Rome II be moddable and will you support modding?
Yes and yes though we are working on getting the game out just now, we hope eventually it will be as moddable as Shogun 2, which remains the most moddable game we’ve ever released. There will be a modding summit (although we are very busy at the moment but Craig keeps nagging everyone about dates).
Discuss the answers in this linked thread.