Creative Assembly dropped a wild first trailer for Total War: Warhammer 3 overnight, revealing new details about the highly anticipated conclusion to the Total War: Warhammer saga. Amongst all the epic doom and gloom and sweeping, cinematic views was a great teaser for two of the game’s main factions: Cathay and Kislev.
While Kislev is a returning faction, Cathay isn’t. It’s never featured in the game franchise before. In fact, it might be one of the least-developed factions in the entire Warhammer universe. While there’s been tantalising pieces of lore about Cathay drip fed through the various video game and tabletop iterations of Warhammer, it hasn’t yet had a starring role in any game.
Still, we do know a lot about the faction.
Cathay occupies land in the Far East of the World and is separated from the major action of Warhammer by the Great Bastion, a wall that runs along the region’s northern borders. If that sounds familiar, it’s because Cathay is the Warhammer universe’s analogue to real-life China.
Much of the lore and mythology behind Cathay is also inspired by Chinese mythology with monkey warriors, vampires and dragons being part of the iconography and lore of the faction. It’s quite possible vampires are native to Cathay and could be introduced in Warhammer 3 but outside of brief expeditions and teases in the narrative, we don’t know much else about these strange beings or their presence in Cathay.
It’s a faction known for its silk, spice, jade and opium resources and is a big player in the global trade market. Like other factions, it certainly wears its real-life inspiration on its sleeve.
From the Warhammer: Rulebook 6th Edition, we get this description of Cathay:
“The travellers that return from Cathay tell tales of great golden pagodas and the inexhaustible armies of the eastern despots. They bring exotic spices and finest silks, gleaming gold, luxurious porcelain vases and all manner of strange and wonderful items from the Kingdom of the Dragon, glimpses of the mysterious glory of the distant and rich orient.”
While it sounds vaguely Orientalist and stereotypical in its depiction, the good news is Warhammer 3 will finally give more depth to the faction.
In the game, we’ll learn more about the great Dragon Emperor that rules the land and (presumably) its wild terracotta automatons, the strange creatures occupying its borders, and why it’s been so secluded for generations. Cathay has a fascinating lore, and being one of the core playable factions confirmed for Warhammer 3 means players will finally get the fleshed out faction they’ve been hoping to play for years.
Cathay deserves time in the spotlight, and it looks like it’ll finally get it.