Will Creative Assembly consider always online for Total War: Rome 2?

"It's certainly not something we're planning to do."

I've spoken to Creative Assembly and it's confirmed that Total War: Rome 2 will require Steam.

Lead designer James Russell's comments were about the venerable PC series considering taking that a step further and going always online, like Diablo 3.

"I wouldn't comment on ever," Rome 2 lead designer James Russell told me at the Eurogamer Expo, "but it's certainly not something we're planning to do for Rome 2.

"It's always upsetting to see your game being pirated," he went on to say. "Certainly we do suffer from that. We've got a lot of players who haven't necessarily activated. But at the same time it's arguable how much that harms sales.

"We don't like our game being pirated and so we take steps to try and stop that happening. We wouldn't want to take draconian steps to alienate our core player-base that are buying the game."

proof

Incontrovertible proof of crossover Total War-Football Manager brand potential.

I agree with Russell that, "In many ways, PC games are undergoing a renaissance." But I wasn't expecting his reference point to be Zynga.

"I could talk about games that some people have an attitude to like Zynga games on Facebook: FarmVille, CityVille, that kind of stuff," he said.

"Zynga games on Facebook ... the point is that you've got 100 million people playing what is essentially a strategy game on PC every day. It's incredible. It's arguably the biggest genre out there."

James Russell

"But the point is that you've got 100 million people playing what is essentially a strategy game on PC every day. It's incredible. It's arguably the biggest genre out there."

He likes to think that those games are "some kind of gateway drug" to Total War.

Their popularity also reveals new gameplay habits - habits that Russell and his team need to keep an eye on for Total War.

"Times are challenging in many ways for boxed products," he said, "and the way that people are consuming entertainment software is changing.

"We see very healthy sales on Steam. There's always going to be place for that big, lean in, epic experience that we deliver.

"But we want to be more accessible, not just to people seeking a more casual game, but to hardcore gamers who don't necessarily always want to be sitting down for hours on end. So we want the game to be playable in perhaps shorter sessions."

Russell presented Total War: Rome 2 to the Eurogamer Expo audience last weekend. He revealed a boggling amount of statistics to highlight just how complicated a game like Rome 2 is. The audience also watched a live demonstration of Rome 2 gameplay as two AI commanders relived the battle of Carthage.

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