Friends, gamers, countrymen, lend me your ears; I came to praise Sega, not to bury them. Why would I? Particularly after today’s announcement that Total War: Rome 2 is on its way.

Fans of the Total War series have been waiting for this announcement for a while, especially since the series made a sequel to the first TW game with Total War: Shogun 2. What improvements will the game have over the original? Well, the first is obviously graphical, as demonstrated by this screenshot:

From what I’ve been able to gather from first previews, developer Creative Assembly is pushing the word “spectrum,” mostly in the context about how they’re “pushing it on both ends.” Here’s a list of some of the improvements and new features:

- Traits for Units: While levelling specific units isn’t new to the series, they’ll now have the ability to gain traits. These traits will define a unit and the army as a whole, giving it more character in the campaign.

- Improved AI: Single-player TW has usually been a bore. Even on higher difficulties, where the AI manages to immaculately create units out of thin air, most campaigns in the series result in players steamrolling other empires in a less than grand conquest. A better AI will allegedly make the campaign more interesting, with other civilizations having stronger personalities.

- Cultural decisions: Speaking of stronger personalities, rulers will also apparently have a bigger role in the game, as will contestants that come from the Senate. Shogun 2 touched a little on this with the inclusion of daimyo screen, where generals could be married into the family to gain their loyalty and such. Broader decisions that affect the entire empire will be returning as well.

- Larger battles: The preview seen so far has included the use of naval units during the battle, with the ships landing troops on the beach while others acted as siege weapons. Major cities will also have a more specific look to them, as opposed to the generic city types found in the original Rome.

In short, Total War: Rome 2 is looking to be an exciting game. Its currently scheduled for release for holiday season, 2013. Here are some screen shots and concept art to keep you sated until then:

 

via [IGN, Rock, Paper, Shotgun]