Review by Paul Fiander
Most of the art of books we have covered up to this point have tended to focus on one particular property or game. There have been exceptions such as The Art of Jim Burns Hyperluminal but in this title we have something rather different. The Art of Total War covers Creative Assembly’s franchise from its start to the current day. Within the pages is not only the story of the company and its property but also the story of the evolution of gaming.
When the franchise first began the technology was not as advanced as it is today and this can be seen in the early images that are shown in the Shogun section of the book. Considering the technological limitations the character models are impressive to say the least. When we look back at older games we tend to do it with the images of today burned in to our retinas however the achievements of the early creators are still something to marvel at.
One thing that has not changed however is the concept artwork done on paper with pencil and paint here you can see the games artistic concepts take form. The images are wonderfully shown with no defined pattern to their page placement giving the reader a visual feast that will keep their eyes moving from image to image. Then there are the in game renders the 3d modelled characters and a number of other assets that all together create the rich visual content of the book.
In terms of content the art is the main drive but there are also interviews and commentary from a number of the artists involved with the Total War games. These help to shed light on the process behind the games as well as give you glimpses into the way artists look at game creation. The balance between game mechanics and artistic expression appear to be paramount in the thoughts of the developers. The fact that form is secondary to function should make most gamers happy but in terms of Art then Total War has the ability to stand up with the best games on the market.
The Art of Total War is a high-end art book based on the bestselling Total War™ franchise, including the latest game in the series Total War™: ROME II. This volume will include full colour concept and development art throughout, as well as creator and artist commentaries. Total War is known for its cinematic quality and phenomenal attention to detail, admired by gamers and critics alike.
Book and Imagery received from Publisher