Total War: Three Kingdoms


This is a major historical event, I dare say it’s not pandering at all but a most valid subject. Euro-centric history isn’t al there is, as shogun proved well. As for historical schenanigans, I double dare anyone to not tell me that the 300, or any battle Alexander the Great was involved with has serious issues with how accurate that stuff is depicted, heck Caesar vs Veringotorix, try to stack 125 000 soldiers in the same province in 1600ad in EU 4, now imagine that done in Roman Times …now there is a history lesson.




There’s plenty of straight-up magic that’s taken seriously in European history to this day, like Xerxes building a pontoon bridge across the Dardanelles. Chinese history only looks more ridiculous because we aren’t brought up to take it seriously.

There’s another Three Kingdoms game in early access right now that’s worth mentioning.

I’ve only played for a half hour, but it’s very much like ROTK except with more emphasis on developing your cities. You will immediately be familiar with the UI and even the character portraits are close enough that you might recognize them. It looks exactly like a Koei game from 10-15 years ago.

It’s made by a Chinese developer, but it’s playable in English right now and they’ve hired another company to do a professional job of translating it.


Not sure if you’re taking this out of context?

I even linked a clip of a film which seems to be played with a straight face. That is my impression of what the chinese are brought up to think of as their history.

We do ofcourse have it bad here too, but here at least people can call it out.

Braveheart, U 571 etc. There are even university degree modules about historical bending in popular films. I know because I was in one of them!

Relating back to the game, I’m still not sure if they are going to play it for fantasy uber generals, aka dress up TWWarhammer, or try and make it more realistic.

given CA’s treatment of Rome 2, I’m not filled with confidence,.

I never said it was.

It can be both pandering and a major historical event. i just query how they are going to represent it. Will it be morally ambiguous (aka realistic) or will it be spin on what the chinese govt/people like.

This a strawman be?

300 was presented as total fiction and fantasy. Hell it was a graphical novel, very loosely based on a oral tradition that everyone takes with a grain of salt. I don’t think anyone, anywhere has claimed 300 to be accurate, or anything other than a popcorn film.

2000 years of chinese whispers, obviously. But then again, there are realms of debate and analysis about this, and I don’t recall depictions of Alexander doing what i linked in the film.

Caesar’s own propaganda. Not reliable as a primary source, but good as a source of what he wanted people to think.

None of you have addressed what i raised, other than to point out that our own fictional depictions are indeed fictional.

I have a great fear this is going to be an ability heavy superhero led type of warfare.

Plus, another fear I have is that battles here supposedly involved hundreds of thousands of people. The current engine can’t even give us a satisfactory battle of Cannae.* How on earth are we going to get proper battles in this period?

*to be fair though, I imagine this would actually be challenging to do.

Good point. Sega is a Japanese company. One presumes they know what they’re doing.

Lashing together a bunch of ships, and having the entire enterprise fail twice due to storms? Sounds feasible to me. Imho a story told to illustrate Xerxes’ hubris, and let the reader see how he could be goaded at Thermopylae and salamis, into complete disaster at the latter.


Its really hard to take you seriously when you make broad generalizations like this. Its almost borderline racist. Having studied for my Masters in China and having a wife with a degree in ancient Chinese history, I can assure you that you impressions are absolutely false.

All of the Total War games have been filled with historical inaccuracies and “hollywood-style” battles. They are casual wargames and are not supposed to be accurate.


To counter this point with something anecdotal —but it is hard to resist—, I’ll say that Shogun 2 got, from the start, Japanese voice overs yelling “RETREAT!” when you order a charge, something that was never, ever addressed by them.
Well, modders are there for that, I guess.


Whatever happened to the Dynasty Tactics series? I played the heck out of DT2 on the PS2 (and later on the PS3 from the PSN). I could never get into the Dynasty Warrior fighting games, but I loved the history, artwork and turn-based goodness of the Tactics series.


A 2000m pontoon bridge across a strait with a strong current is not even feasible in 2018. Unless Xerxes had ancient aliens helping him, it didn’t happen.

Exactly. Just like the Chinese, we’ve got stories about great men doing impossible things because it fit their personality.


I think you guys missed the point where I am concerned that they are going to make the game this fantasy version of history.

Either that or y’all don’t care, and would rather almost but not quite call me a racist:

To which I am inclined to invoke a version of Godwin’s law.

Anyway, @cpugeek13, are you arguing with my impressions of Chinese history (which I don’t recall much discussing, other than to lament that the current engine won’t give us the numbers required, most likely. I know precious little of Chinese History) or with my impressions of what Chinese people are taught as their history? If the latter we could be here all day because most history as taught, even here in the “enlightened” west, is a crock of shit, and that’s with the benefit of freedom of speech, democracy, relatively easy access to good sources etc. In a country with such tight controls as China, are you seriously alleging my concerns are unfounded?

Because it’s the latter that gives me cause for concern, more specifically I

fear that CA will design this game to cater towards that fantasy version of history, where a guy can cut arrows out of the air, whilst galloping on a horse, whilst holding a baby, and then jump over a bunch of men with spears, and then fight them off, still on a horse, still holding a baby, without breaking a sweat.

Anyway, if you’re done waving your academics about, my concern here is about the game.

I want to like the game, but given the last few CA games, given the general mysticism surrounding the Romance of the 3 Kingdoms period, and given that trailer, i am not holding out hope.

It wouldn’t even be neccessary. Just ferry the men and materiel over if you have so many boats. Honestly, my hunch is that is exactly what they did as the use of the word “bridge” is metaphorical, as in “he had so many boats it was like a bridge.”

I base that hunch not so much on history, but on what i know of languages and how things get distorted over time. bear in mind Greek gave us the concept of the virgin birth, through a mistranslation, so who knows what else has been altered through the ages.


I, on the other hand, am hoping for exactly that. (Total War) x (Dynasty Warriors) = yes, please!



That’s fair enough.

There’s no one “right” way to make such a game.

hell, I actually somewhat enjoyed Total Warhammer. It’s just that, at this moment in time, that is not the game I want.

Closer to release it might be exactly what i need.


You are 100% wrong. It’s treated about as seriously as Paul Bunyan is in the US.


I don’t understand how making an over-the-top mythical version of history is any different than making a game like Age of Mythology.

I personally really enjoyed Red Cliff, but I’ve never read Romance of the Three Kingdoms. If they make a game that delivers on over the top scenes and characters that were in Red Cliff, I’d love to play that! As an aside, is there a good translation of Romance of the Three Kingdoms I should read?


It’s not.

That’s not the game I am interested in though.

I shall reply more once I google Paul Bunyan.

edit…and done.

Well, i hope you’re correct and that they don’t hold onto that as official history!


You are aware that it’s known foremost through a classic novel right? Alongside the one about the Monkey King.


I really like this two-part translation by Moss Roberts published by University of California Press. It does a really nice job translating the original Chinese to a well-written poetic English, which is just a joy to read. Unfortunately as far as I can tell, the corresponding Kindle version shown on the sample Amazon page is actually not matching the printed copy but is instead a Kindle abridged version and there is no non-abridged electronic version of this translation. (You can get other older electronic translations quite cheap, I think some of them are probably no longer copyrighted.)


The comparison I’ve heard is more King Arthur. I mean AFAIK Paul Bunyan is completely made up and everyone knows it. The events in Three Kingdoms did happen, but they’ve been “enhanced”.

King Arthur isn’t the best comparison, since while I think most scholars believe there is likely some historic basis for King Arthur, it’s really not known what happened, whereas Three Kingdoms, most of the figures are historic figures and the conflict for sure happened. But King Arthur is definitely a better analogy than Paul Bunyan.


Here’s a free version using an old public domain translation and some images cobbled together by fans. This is the one I’ve read (it’s not bad) but I’ve heard that the Moss translation is better.


Sure. My point was that it isn’t taught in China as 100% historical truth. It’s folktale and fantasy with a base of fact.


Amazing news! I’m excited. Having spent my early adult years in Japan, my main exposure were the first Koei games (especially 2 and 3) but also the outstanding manga series written and illustrated by Mitsuteru Yokoyama.

Apparently, it’s free online here!