A still from "Star Wars Battles That Changed the Galaxy"
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Total War: Star Wars and Counterintuitive Historical Accuracy

Rob Zacny

When Dualshockers reported that Creative Assembly is developing a Star Wars version of their Total War series, the most common reaction I saw was one of skepticism. At first glance, Star Wars does not seem to lend itself to the combat of massed armies and close, linear formations that has been Total War’s bread-and-butter since its inception.

At a glance, Star Wars appears to be a setting where warfare is analogous to World War 2 combat: soldiers carry automatic or semi-automatic blasters, walkers function like tanks, starfighters are basically WW2 airplanes and a lot of them are carried aboard capital ships that act like aircraft carriers. By contrast, the Total War series has always handled pre-gunpowder armies best, and its forays into the 18th and 19th centuries have been uneven. (Why that is the case is a topic for another day.)

A still frame depicting a loaded Gungan catapult.
That's just a catapult! Total War can handle a catapult. Which is more than can be said for the Droid Army.

The more Star Wars battles we have gotten to see, however, the less they fit that “World War 2 in Space” paradigm. Throughout the Clone Wars cartoon, ground combat between the Separatist Droid Army and the Grand Army of the Republic is defined by massed formations exchanging laser fire at close range. Is this in large part dictated by the limitations of the cartoon’s animation capabilities? Almost certainly, but it is also following the template Lucas established in Phantom Menance and Attack of the Clones, where the former is basically a battle of Roman legionary armies, and the latter is a point-blank melee as masses of droids try and shatter walls of clones and Jedi defenders.

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