Total War: Pharaoh’s enormous free Dynasties update gets a July release date and trailer


Creative Assembly and Sega have slapped a release date on Total War: Pharaoh’s free Dynasties expansion, which outfits the historical strategy colossus with new Aegean and Mesopotamian regions and maps, new factions such as Troy and Babylon, and a glittering, bellowing host of new or reworked units, new mechanics, and new quality-of-life updates. That release date is 25th July 2024. Come stamp your feet and brandish your shields vigorously at the overview trailer below.

Watch on YouTube


The triumphalism here is perhaps a bit overcompensatory. The release of Legacies follows a complicated half-year for Creative Assembly, who have had to reckon with Sega’s cost-cutting on the one hand, and the long-standing grievances of the Total War community on the other.


In December, Creative Assembly’s vice president Roger Collum apologised to players for “mistakes” ranging from the company’s patchy communication through the overpricing of Total War DLC to the prevalence of bugs in recent Total War games. Collum also detailed some more tangible corrective measures. With regard to Pharoah specifically, Creative Assembly dropped the price, issued partial refunds and announced that the game’s first major DLC would be free.

Creative Assembly have also been dogged lately by reports of mismanagement, with one former AI programmer coming forward to describe his experiences working on Rome 2 and Attila around a decade ago. It’s not clear how representative that account is of Creative Assembly today.



All the above notwithstanding, Legacies certainly looks robust. I haven’t played the base game (my last historical Twarham was Three Kingdoms), so will refrain from presuming to decipher the full expansion notes, but here are the topline features:


4 new major factions


25 new minor factions


150+ new and reworked units including cavalry


168 new settlements Expanded Campaign map (1.8x bigger)


New battle mechanics e.g. Lethality


New DYNASTIES family tree system


Fixes for Legacy bugs

OK, I’ll try to flesh it out a little more: as you’d expect, the Dynasties system is about breeding your rulers so as to ensure a solid line of succession in the event that somebody dies of old age or acute knife poisoning. Lethality, meanwhile, makes combat more realistic, with a chance of blows instantly killing targets regardless of armour, a choice of arcing, longer-ranged or flatter and more powerful missile trajectories for archers, and a more complex approach to unit visibility. You can read more here.


This will be Pharaoh’s “final content addition”, according to game director Todor Nikolov. Are you playing Pharaoh and if so, what do you make of Legacies? With no previous experience of the game, I’m immediately and predictably wondering if I can recreate the fall of Troy. I’m also interested to see what they’ve done with Babylon and Mesopotamia, a region I know a tiny bit about after researching this feature on the Iraqi developer who once set out to make an Amiga game based on the Epic of Gilgamesh.

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