Following the release of a recent video showcasing the new mechanics for Total War: Three Kingdoms spies, Creative Assembly held a developer AMA about the new system. The full details from that AMA have now been published on the studio’s online blog. The questions and answers go into a lot of detail about the minutiae of how the new spy mechanics work.
Total War: Three Kingdoms Spies – Answers to Fan Questions
Rather than functioning as a separate agent type, as they have in previous Total War games; Three Kingdoms spies aren’t a separate thing. Instead, any named character can act as a spy. During a game, players will be able to release characters from their service. This will prompt them to wander and potentially join another faction. However, players can choose to secretly retain their services as a spy, allowing them to establish and build spy networks. The complex new system looks set to revolutionise espionage in Total War, and as a result, fans certainly have plenty of questions. The first of these establishes that spies will still function as army leaders and appear in battle.
“Spy actions don’t exist in battle,” explains Simon Mann, the game’s Senior Designer; “so your spy will do their best to maintain cover and will fight like an enemy general. You will be able to extract the spy on your turn (before the battle) so the enemy loses its general. You can also capture your spy after the battle and you may choose whether to bring him back (risk-free) or keep them in the enemy faction.”
According to Mann, it was the choice of setting which inspired Creative Assembly to so greatly expand the espionage system; “Three Kingdoms was a period where spies were prolific and vital to any budding Warlord’s faction. Loyalty was fluid in the period, with lots of officers changing allegiance, and Huang Gai faking his betrayal of Zhou Yu and becoming a spy within Cao Cao’s faction is a great example of the sort of situation we wanted players to experience.”
The AMA goes into a wealth of detail about the upcoming spy mechanics; check out the full developer interview here.