I wonder how much they’ll lean into the Koei games for inspiration - and the expectation of fans. Koei at this point is Three Kingdoms and has been so for 25+ years, and to a large extent how people “perceive” the characters of Three Kingdoms is seen through that success/fail ability lens Koei has fashioned out of them.
For example, all three major characters in the Three Kingdoms story - Cao Cao, Liu Bei and Sun Jian all start (apparently) as roaming armies. (Or at least the last two i’m sure, I think Cao Cao does as well though). Those sort of starts, in Total War games, lead to map anarchy. Will players be disappointed if Cao Cao never forms Wu or Liu Bei never forms Shu if they’re playing as Sun Jian / Sun Quan? Will one of the random map corner factions end up being the strongest? In Koei games population directly relates to income, but in Total War corner empires have a distinct stability advantage and every faction is given a big stack of starting money for free so that they can field at least one full stack; which leads to all sorts of randomized nonsense of how the AI that is the last to attack ends up the strongest.
I’m guessing this will be the case, because they seem to be leaning into the “initial” phase of the Romance story in their narratives, defeating Dong Zhuo.
Having Zhuge Liang (or Sima Yi, most of the time) was like having a Leeroy Jenkins card in your deck to play every turn. How will that translate in a Total War game? The difference between a 3 star general and a 10 star general is a pittance compared to the huge bonuses Koei games give their characters. Will the named characters just get blurred out as yet another slightly better than average hero character, like in Warhammer? And how will the fans respond?
In other words, I feel like when they start having to balance the “Romance” game, they’re going to have to balance it to the expectations gamers will have having played Koei games for decades of ‘how things should be’.