Total War sets sail

Secretly in development for over a year, the next installment of the Total War franchise is set to release sometime in 2008. It%26rsquo;s our great pleasure here at GamesRadar to reveal to you now, Empire: Total War in all its full naval combat glory.

As these first screenshotssuggest, Empire: Total War is set in the maritime heyday of the 18th century and the height of the British Empire. There has been no confirmation of specific factions, but the campaign map is set to spread across the seas from the naval powerhouses of Europe to the hitherto untapped riches in India and the Americas, in what Creative Assembly are calling the biggest and best Total War ever. Series veterans will realise that's no small boast to make.

True naval combat hasn't been seen in Total Warbefore. Previous attempts have essentially beentacked-on affairs of exclusively computer calculated combat - possibly entirely random (not that we're bitter). It was a necessary faucet of trading and defence, profitable at first but little more than an unfulfilling sap on your finances once you actually started warring.