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The scorching deserts and lush floodplains of Total War: Pharaoh won’t be open for players to explore and conquer until later this year, but the developers from Creative Assembly Sofia have released a new video diary that goes into detail about some of the features of the strategy game – both new and returning to the series.

Outposts are one of the brand-new features in Pharaoh, though they have spiritual predecessors in the form of buildable forts and watchtowers from older Total War games Rome and Medieval 2 or the minor settlements from Empire.

Each province on the Total War: Pharaoh map seems to be able to house a number of outposts, of which there are seven types with very different uses. Military outposts help you reduce the upkeep of armies, provide valuable supplies that allow you to traverse the hot sands of the desert without losing half of your army, and contain garrisons that can support a besieged city in times of need.

Economic outposts on the other hand can boost your trade income or the production of valuable resources. You can build shrines to different gods as well, spreading their worship through your lands and netting some benefits depending on which god or goddess you’ve chosen. There are also monuments, which you need to build to increase your influence in your bid to stake your claim as the legitimate pharaoh.

Total War: Troy’s matched combat animations make a return, hopefully providing players with some spectacle as they zoom into the action.

Sieges – that old and seemingly everlasting Achilles heel of the series – get an overhaul as well: Several victory points will need to be claimed to gain points towards the win, though capturing specific areas in a city still provides you with buffs. Ladders are back as a siege engine that needs to be constructed before a battle – units won’t just pull them from thin air – and you can sap a town’s walls ahead of assaulting it as well, giving you an immediate breach to exploit. A variation of this can be found in the original Rome: Total War.

Though leaders are no longer single entities on the battlefield and have returned into the company of a bodyguard unit, they may still wear distinct equipment, some of which even gives them legitimacy in the race for the throne and changes the type of their bodyguard unit, and can level up, allowing you to invest skill points into three different competences: Presence, Fortitude, and Ardour. Having more points in these characteristics will provide buffs to your army. They are also the prerequisite for your character to claim certain titles, which in turn give you even more buffs to work with.

You can check the developer diary below:

For more information on Total War: Pharaoh, check out our faction and unit overviews.