Total War: Three Kingdoms Launch CGI Trailer Music
 

 

We have put a lot of effort into the announcement trailer sound design for the latest instalment of Creative Assembly’s renowned Total War series - Three Kingdoms. The main challenge was to create a bombastic trailer whilst staying true to the ancient Chinese history where the new strategy game is going to be set. This was communicated to us by the marketing team quite early on, they definitely didn't want to lose any of the Chinese flavours in favour of Western style trailer drums and effects. We started by doing extensive research on Chinese instruments and drums, evaluated Chinese movie trailers and took notes of what could work for our purposes and what couldn't. We also knew that a memorable theme which guides us through all the trailers would be essential for this campaign.

“The main challenge was to create a bombastic trailer whilst staying true to the ancient Chinese history where the new strategy game is going to be set.”

After some iterations on the initial theme for the launch CGI trailer (which you can watch above) we managed to create a great sounding theme which had both a great amount of energy and authentic Chinese flavour. Full credit needs to got our trusted composer Armin Haas at this stage, who tirelessly worked on the music for all the 3K trailers and managed to create this amazing sounding IP with us. The next important step was to make these trailers stand out from the rest and to achieve the Chinese authenticity which the marketing and brand team were after. We had the idea of implementing original Chinese poems into the trailer tracks which turned out to be an essential part of the 3K marketing campaign. By using poems from Cao Cao or Zhuge Liang themselves for instance and letting Chinese singers perform those melody lines was something which went down incredibly well with the Total War fanbase. Not only did it give us the right amount of Chinese flavour, in most cases it also was written originally by the main character featured in the trailer and we managed to include this in every trailer where it was possible.

“We had the idea of implementing original Chinese poems into the trailer tracks which turned out to be an essential part of the 3K marketing campaign.”

Total War: Three Kingdoms Cao Cao trailer, featuring "Cao Cao" chanting, poem and traditional instruments

We are incredibly proud and grateful to have been able to play a part in this great marketing campaign. Due to the trust we received from Creative Assembly's marketing team and the hard work of our composer Armin Haas we were able to create a powerful sonic identity which is both powerful and authentic in scale and instruments used. Additionally the fan base absolutely loves the trailer audio which makes it worth even more to go that extra mile.