Medieval 2 takes place during the years of 1080 through 1530, and this wide swath of history takes your empire from the Crusades to the Renaissance. You'll conquer Europe and take religion to the New World - or, the other way around. The 21 factions include the Scots, Venetians, Portuguese and Aztecs. Every faction has their own strengths and you'll need to take advantage of all of them in order to thrive economically and survive on the brutal battlefield.
If all of this sounds complex, fear not, young general. The solid "advisor" system from the last Total War game will be in place, and great improvements are planned. Creative Assembly wants players to delve deep into Total War's intricate inner-workings. They've expanded your advisor's advice and intellect to make you a master of turn-based grand strategy and an expert at real-time battlefield tactics.
This masterful balance of strategy vs tactics is the true genius of the Total War series - the one thing that we hope doesn't get "improved". We hope to have a hands-on with Medieval 2 during E3, so stay tuned next month for the latest info.