Individual battles in Hegemony are never going to be on the scale of Total War and that's really not what we're aiming for. While battlefield tactics are a critical component to Hegemony, we also try to focus more on the interconnections between those battles that play out across the entire theatre of war. These include the skirmishes that lead up to the battles as well as the chases that follow. Plus, we a lot have more focus on your resources and supply lines and the importance of getting all of these into the right place at the right time.
As far as the specifics, you'll definitely be able to set up a checkerboard formation if you want (although it wasn't really used during the period we're covering), and we're adding a lot of new controls so you can set battlefield behaviours like skirmish, flank or charge. But generally, Hegemony's more about adapting your tactics to the terrain rather than using a one-size-fits-all approach for every battle. So while you will have some big field battles, we're also trying to recreate situations that led to Caesar's innovative double-wall around Alesia or his adaptive use of high ground in his battles against the Helvetti.
In terms of realism, Hegemony Rome is miles ahead of Hegemony Gold, but Creative Assembly has 20x more people then we do so we're really not looking at matching them poly-for-poly. However, while Total War's engine makes for very pretty screenshots and I have no doubt Rome II will be a lot fun, we're focused on making sure Hegemony does what it does best and we're confident players will appreciate what it brings to the genre.