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Announced in early 1999, Shogun: Total War was The Creative Assembly's first high business risk product ; previous products had involved creating video games for the EA Sports brand.
The game was initially conceived as a real-time strategy " B-title " powered by 2D computer graphics following the popularisation of the genre through titles such as Command & Conquer.
However, proliferation of 3D video cards amongst consumers led to a transition to 3D graphics.
Through the course of development, Shogun: Total War evolved into a real-time tactics game with a focus on historical authenticity ; military historian Stephen Turnbull advised The Creative Assembly in this regard.
The turn-based campaign map was added to include context for the real-time battles.

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