Attila, the Scourge of God

Total War: ATTILA

The Creative Assembly has produced a short documentary on Attila the Hun to celebrate the launch of their latest historical computer game, Total War: ATTILA (also read our interview with the game’s lead designer). This seven minute film summarizes the life of Attila, his achievements, his cruel reputation, and his legacy. The documentary mixes narrative by Dr. Paul Harrison with 3D footage and historical reenactors.



Continue reading for more videos and background information on the game Total War: ATTILA.

The marketing campaign for the game is based on the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, a story from the bible in which the end of days are heralded by four riders. These riders represent Conquest, War, Famine, and Death. The 5th and 6th centuries CE were filled with events that the people at the time interpreted as signs for the end of the world:

  • Attila the Hun (reigned 434-453 CE) conquered, sacked, and destroyed a vast part of the Roman Empire.
  • The Justinian Plague (527-565 CE) ravaged the Mediterranean, killing around 25% of the population of the Roman Empire.
  • Extreme weather events occurred in 535-536 CE, most likely caused by a dust veil from a large Volcanic eruption: “During this year a most dread portent took place. For the sun gave forth its light without brightness” (Procopius).

These are only some of the key events of the period, giving ammunition to the Church: God was punishing the world of the decadence and corruption of the Roman Empire, and the end of the world was coming. Better convert to Christianity if you want to go to heaven! The rise of Christianity ended classical antiquity and paved the way for the Middle Ages. In this sense, Attila truly heralded the end of an era.

You can watch the “Four Horsemen” trailers for the game, each of which examines the end of the Roman empire from a different perspective: the Huns, the Romans, the Persians, and the Barbarians:

The Ashen Horse


The Red Horse


The Black Horse


The White Horse


Game Reviews

The game has been very well received, with a current Metacritic score of 80% and a 84% user score. The game builds on the success of Total War: Rome II, and the game is seen as a big improvement on its predecessor. The video game website Polygon writes:

Total War: Attila is challenging, complex and often frustrating but it’s also a satisfying simulation of life in a world of unfolding chaos and constant violence.

Disclaimer: Ancient History Encyclopedia’s founder Jan van der Crabben works for The Creative Assembly (but was not involved in the creation of Total War: Attila). This article was not sponsored or paid for by The Creative Assembly. We present it to you readers because we think you’ll like it.

Filed under: Culture


CEO & Founder of Ancient History Encyclopedia. When he's not working on AHE, he loves to spend time with his family going hiking, visiting historic places, or doing all-day BBQs in the garden with good real ale or whiskey.