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Total War: Three Kingdoms dev explains Mandate of Heaven mechanics

Published: 16:07, 10 January 2020
Creative Assembly
Total War: Three Kingdoms character Cao Cao
Total War: Three Kingdoms, Mandate of Heaven

Players and fans of Total War: Three Kingdoms have a lot to look forward to in the upcoming DLC called Mandate of Heaven. Now, they explained some of the design decisions and the new mechanics that come with the prequel campaign.

Speaking for Total War: Three Kingdoms' Behind the Design video feature, senior designer Simon Mann and design director Attila Mohacsi reminded that the goal was to go back to where the Three Kingdoms saga originally started, which is 184 CE.

You probably know that when it comes to Mandate of Heaven DLC - the Zhang brothers are front and centre, albeit a bit further back in time compared to their other representations in popular culture. 

Long before they formed the Yellow Turbans, the Zhang brothers - Zhang Jue, Zhang Liang, and Zhang Bao - started an uprising in Northern China. Their pivotal role in sparking and shaping the rebellion was reason enough for Creative Assembly to get to creating something new that they haven't done before. 

"This is kind of a really cool period. This is where all the heroes of the age kind of make their names and become protagonists", Mann said. "Without [the Zhang brothers] there, you don't have that catalyst - that important moment for the history."

Not only do the Mandate of Heaven protagonists come with their own tech trees, they also feature unique mechanics like fervour and zeal. Interestingly, zeal is shared among the three brothers as a sort of a joint pool that and hinges on your expansion. 

However, as the rebellion subsides, so does fervour, so it's a proper tug of war. "You have to keep going and expand. If you don't expand, you are done", Mohacsi said.

CA artwork showing factions from total war three kingdoms mandate of heaven dlc Mandate of Heaven DLC is coming soon

With the Mandate of Heaven DLC, Total War: Three Kingdoms is getting new timeline features, which is a result of the dev's aspirations for an interwoven narrative that covers all the bases, and even feeds back onto itself. 

"This isn't just one period of history - this is an entire narrative that you can play through. We always wanted to tell every single story in the Three Kingdoms period because there's so many stories to tell", Mann said. 

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