The Total War series continues to go strong after nearly 20 years, but it didn't start out as a no-brainer success story. The debut title, Shogun: Total War, was released in 2000 by Creative Assembly, a developer that was not exactly known for its experience with the strategy genre.

    Prior to Shogun's release, many of the studio's previous titles had been based on rugby and cricket. And while the past two decades have seen it try its hands at some different types of games--it developed 2014 horror game Alien: Isolation, for instance--it has almost exclusively focused on strategy games with Total War in the title.

    In the video above, we dive into the history of the Total War series, which now consists of more than a dozen games. We look primarily at the core entries in the series, which have often been based on historical settings--although recent years have also brought Warhammer-inspired entries, which we also explore. Although the games share a familiar underpinning, Creative Assembly has managed to introduce wrinkles to keep the series fresh across so many titles, thanks in part to shifting between radically different settings.

    Things aren't slowing down for Total War in the near future by any means. Following Warhammer II's release last year, Total War Saga: Thrones of Britannia is due out in April. Beyond that, there's the next big historical entry, Total War: Three Kingdoms, and the free-to-play spin-off Total War: Arena. And while it has not yet been announced, Creative Assembly has not been shy about making it clear that its Warhammer games are viewed as a trilogy.