So much for secrecy -- the cat is out of the bag early, as Sega has revealed that, yes, Shogun 2: Total War is the next game in the historical war simulation series from The Creative Assembly. The game is a direct sequel to the first game in the Total War series (released 10 years ago, if you can believe that) and will have players fighting as competing warlords in 16th century Japan, working to reunite the country under one unified ruler. The game promises the "ultimate refinement of the original formula," combining a new AI and technical polish with the gameplay that made the first title so popular.
IGN has an early preview, and says that hero units will make an appearance in the series for the first time, fighting alongside about 40 units that will all be upgradeable. Siege and naval battles will mix up the gameplay and Creative Assembly hints at more features, including a set of agents that "that uses a rock-paper-scissors mechanic," and some new ideas for multiplayer, including eight-player battles and personal avatars.
Sounds strategically interesting. We're scheduled to see the game in action at E3, so we'll let you know more then.