Total War: Rome 2 has suffered a Steam review bombing run over women characters and a recent update - but it turns out the game is working as intended.
Creative Assembly's PC strategy game, which came out in 2013, saw hundreds of new negative Steam reviews this week over the frequency with which women generals show up in the game and related claims about historical accuracy.
The update that added women to the game came out six months ago, on 20th March, but the recent complaints appear to have stemmed from the emergence an image, below, which shows a raft of female generals in one person's game. A cropped version of this image was then used by some to claim the March patch forces players to use female generals in every faction of the game.
Remember Time Commanders? The BBC show that saw people command a virtual army in famous historical battles was played on Total War - but it didn't tell viewers that.
Creative Assembly has announced that Total War: Rome 2 will receive a Desert Kingdoms Culture Pack on March 8th, bringing with it four new playable factions. A free Female Leaders update will be made available to all players on the same day.
The Desert Kingdoms expansion follows on from November's Empire Divided DLC - the first major expansion for Total War: Rome 2 since 2014. Desert Kingdoms' headline feature is, of course, it's four new factions: the Kingdoms of Kush, Saba, Nabatea, and Masaesyli - all native to the deserts of Africa and Arabia.
"While culturally similar, each faction boasts unique new unit rosters which offer different military strengths", says Creative Assembly. Each faction features new building chains and technology trees, and comes with its own unique Faction Traits.
Total War: Rome 2 is set to receive a new "grand-scale" campaign pack at the end of the month, entitled Empire Divided.
A school gym in England, mid-'90s, and two local rugby players await orders. One is small and wide and called Adrian, and one is tall and weighs about 20 stone. He's Big Dave. Adrian has been getting flattened by Big Dave all day but he keeps getting back up. It's the rugby training in him: you bloody well get back up if you're knocked down. But this instinct is starting to annoy the people he's in the school gym for, the people making the sports game. They're trying to motion-capture for a rugby game and would rather Adrian lay still. They should be careful what they wish for.
Creative Assembly has announced plans for a new set of Total War games which focus on much smaller moments in history than its major titles.
The Total War Saga series of games will offer the standard turn-based campaign and real-time battles you'd expect, but with a focus on conflicts that last just a few weeks or months.
We saw something a bit like this with the release of Fall of the Samurai, the standalone expansion to Total War: Shogun 2, which spanned a much shorter period than the base game.
Time Commanders, a TV show built around the Total War series of strategy games, is back for its third series after more than a decade off the box.
We've known that Creative Assembly has been working on a new historical Total War game for a while now, but many had assumed the studio would be returning to a familiar setting. It's been 10 years since Medieval II: Total War. Just saying.
Rome: Total War, the whole thing, has been released on iPad. Can you believe it? Seems like only yesterday I was studiously sat at my computer conquering Europe and defying the Pope, and now you can do it on an iPad. What's that? It was 12 years ago? Right I see. That's... cheered me up.
Hello there! After a three-week hiatus, I'm very pleased to be writing one of these posts again and delighted to reintroduce the Eurogamer Show.
As I mentioned in the post announcing that we were putting the project on hold for a few weeks, we felt the show as it existed wasn't really doing what we wanted it to do; which is to say sparking conversation, getting some of our lovely staff writers in front of the lens and, most importantly, helping you get to know us.
Not that I'm saying sticking Ian's face into Homefront: The Revolution wasn't fun, of course, but it wasn't the best way to give you a feel for our personalities, or to help bring you into the conversations we'd otherwise be having in the kitchen while waiting for the slightly intimidating coffee machine to do its thing.
The outstanding Total War series has been around for 15 years, and to celebrate, you can play the games for free this weekend via Steam. Should be just enough time to conquer a continent.
Sega and strategy specialist Creative Assembly have accidentally revealed the game we all knew was in the works: Total War: Warhammer.
Behind the games we play there are people, and sometimes sad things happen to those people.
The Getae civilisation was nearly destroyed by two slices of toast. My lunch popped up and so I paused the pitched battle I was waging with another local tribe - a pivotal battle where I had a numerical advantage, but nevertheless had to press home my assault. When I came back, everything all browned and buttered, Total War: Rome 2 refused to unpause.
My civilisation didn't end. A journey back through the main menu allowed me to rescue my destiny courtesy of an autosave, and so this didn't become one of those stories of how a kingdom was lost for want of a snack, but I did face a compromise. None of the time controls worked until a crash to desktop had me restarting the game. It was a bit of a pain, as a number of things in Total War: Rome 2 are a bit of a pain, but it didn't really get in the way of my continental ambitions and, more importantly, it didn't stop me from enjoying myself. Not for very long, anyway.
While Rome 2 can't be given a wholly clean bill of health, it's in better shape than it was at release, when I wrote Eurogamer's original Total War: Rome 2 review. In many ways, it's changed. In many ways, it's exactly the same.
Total War: Rome 2 - Emperor Edition launches on 16th September 2014 for PC and Mac, Sega has announced.
The Emperor Edition comes with the Imperator Augustus Campaign Pack DLC, which is free to all current players of the strategy game. A new trailer for the DLC is below.
Imperator Augustus adds hundreds of hours of gameplay across a new map based on the Second Triumvirate War, which saw Octavian, Marc Antony and Lepidus vying to become the very first Emperor of Rome. You can tackle the campaign as various Roman and non-Roman factions, including Armenia for the first time.
Sega has announced Total War: Rome 2 Emperor Edition, a new version of the strategy game that adds new content and feature changes.
It collects all the free content released so far as well as a new campaign pack expansion, Imperator Augustus.
Existing Rome 2 players get all that for free when the Emperor Edition launches in September as an automatic update for PC and Mac.
UPDATE 30/05 12PM BST: It's out now. This guy's in it:
ORIGINAL STORY 22/05 3PM BST: There's a new Pirates and Raiders Culture Pack coming to Total War: Rome 2 that apparently adds the first playable Thracian and Dacian factions to the game, Creative Assembly told Eurogamer at an event today.
Those factions are clustered in the Balkan area of Europe, and they are the Ardiaei, the Odrysian Kingdom and Tylis. They've got their own new battlefield units, new naval units and new cultural traits.
Sega has released its financial results for the year ending 31st March 2014, and so we get some firm figures for its video game slate.
Developer Creative Assembly today releases the Hannibal at the Gates downloadable content for strategy game Total War: Rome 2. It costs £9.99 from Steam.
Hannibal at the Gates takes place during the Second Punic War, and sees the Republic of Rome and the trading empire of Carthage go at it. Included are three new factions: the Arevaci, the Lusitani and Syracuse. Each has unique traits, units and campaign start position.
To coincide with the release of the DLC, CA has rolled out the free Seasons & Wonders update. This includes a unit roster expansion for Carthage, Twitch streaming support, new wonders, touchscreen support and introduces seasons into the Grand Campaign.
Creative Assembly has insisted it did not intentionally mislead players of Rome 2: Total War after it was accused of holding back cut content to use as post-release paid-for DLC.
Sega's Valentine's Day promotion for Rome 2: Total War and Company of Heroes 2 has downloadable content at stake.
Rome 2's Caesar in Gaul expansion campaign has a problem with recent history. Unfortunately for Caesar, The Creative Assembly has established a pattern of releasing novel and systemically distinctive follow-ups to their major releases. Shogun 2's Fall of the Samurai campaign was a fascinating collision of Age of Rifles technology and doctrine with the fading samurai way of war. The Peninsular Campaign expansion for Napoleon: Total War likewise tried to combine traditional Napoleonic warfare with the guerrilla war and counterinsurgency campaign fought across the Spanish countryside. Both these campaigns (and arguably, Napoleon: Total War itself) tweaked the core Total War game design in exciting ways to cover more specific conflicts and challenges.
Caesar in Gaul never rises to this level. It is, instead, Rome 2 on a different map. For people who were quite happy to buy what Rome 2 was selling, then Caesar in Gaul provides a bit more of the same in a more convenient package. For those who were hoping that Caesar might find a unique Total War experience beyond the Alps, this expansion is a bit of a disappointment.
Still, Caesar in Gaul cannot help but address one major problem with Rome 2: its unwieldy scope and slow pacing. Rome 2's main campaign could be a trudge through Roman history, as Roman fleets and legions inched their way across an improbably large map of Europe (even Odysseus would find crossing the Mediterranean in Rome 2 unrealistically difficult) and often struggled to find a major battle to fight. Gaul, on the other hand, is teeming with barbarian tribes and densely-packed provinces. Even better, a single game turn takes only a few seconds to process, as opposed to the constant thumb-twiddling of Rome 2's AI turns.
UPDATE: Creative Assembly has delayed slightly the Caesar in Gaul campaign pack to Tuesday 17th December "in order to give us a bit more time to squeeze in some additions to the accompanying patch".
"The good news is that the extra changes we're squeezing in will have a knock-on benefit to the main game, so even if you don't purchase the DLC you'll still see improvements," the studio said.
Patch eight will be released at the same time as the DLC. The update makes technical and performance improvements, including crash fixes, adds a new culture system and further improves the AI.
Creative Assembly has announced a Steam Machine version of strategy game Total War: Rome 2.
The Steam Machine version will support Valve's new SteamOS and Steam Controller, set for release next year.
"We've always wanted the Total War franchise to be enjoyed by living room gamers, but the limitations of traditional hardware made our style of game play impossible," said Creative Assembly's Rob Bartholomew.
Yesterday Sega released downloadable content for Total War: Rome 2 that adds blood and gore to the game for £2.
The Creative Assembly has released the much-anticipated second patch for strategy game Total War: Rome 2.
It addresses a raft of technical and performance issues as well as AI pathfinding problems, and includes over 100 fixes.
A new "Limited" option has been added to the "Show AI Player Moves" settings in single-player and multiplayer campaign modes. This lets the player see all movement of enemy factions, all movement within the players regions and all movement within sea that the player has ports in during the AI turns.
UPDATE: Rome 2's first patch has been released, Creative Assembly has announced.
Patch two comes out next week.
"We are working flat out to fix the two per cent of Rome 2 players reporting technical problems," Creative Assembly said.
In ancient times, when cartography was more art than science, a map was a portrait of an empire. An abstraction of its authority in which complexity and diversity were swallowed in one mass of colour, it was painted with an ease that belied the incalculable efforts demanded in swallowing such territory. It was a snapshot of the glory of a realm; a chance for it to puff itself up in front of its peers and coyly ask, "Do my borders look big in this?"
And much as the grand reach of Rome wasn't won in a day, neither are the empires of Total War: Rome 2. They spread slowly, oozing across the world like ink on parchment, though that ink is not quick to dry: borders must be defended, rebellions quelled and new territories pacified. Following in the footsteps of advancing armies walk the administrators and architects whose work will sustain these gains. All the while, the rest of the world nurtures its ambitions, with dozens upon dozens of warriors, spies and dignitaries dashing about the land when their turn comes. No, Total War: Rome 2 is not quick.
It is no great departure for the series and will immediately feel familiar to those who've served in previous Total Wars. A turn-based campaign map gives an overview of Europe, west Asia and north Africa, across which journey both armies and secret agents. When a player's army (or navy) meets an opposing force, the opportunity arises to take direct command of the action in a real-time battle.
Total War: Rome 2 developer Creative Assembly has detailed its upcoming content plan for its highly-anticipated strategy sequel.
Those who purchase Sega's upcoming strategy title Total War: Rome 2 will receive early beta access to developer Creative Assembly's side project, the free-to-play MOBA Total War: Arena.
The question of "will Total War: Rome 2 run on my computer?" has been answered - the system specs have been released.
If you ever see an elephant in the wild, I really think you want to be standing behind it rather than in front of it. Standing behind it when it charges is dazzling, in fact - at least if Total War: Rome 2 is anything to go by.
Rome 2 features a new close-up unit camera, and it allows you to swoop across a vast battlefield and plonk yourself right behind any of your individual squads. Tag yourself to an elephant team in full pelt, and you get a real sense of the seismic horrors at your command. Everything's so big, so detailed! You can see the folds in the elephants' grey skin, while the chinks and dings in the armour of the enemy soldiers you're rushing towards really drives home the fact that these guys are, y'know, paid to stand in front of elephants for a living. War is terrible! the unit camera declares. And war is brilliant!
It's all part of a wider approach. The latest Total War sees you taking charge of the Roman Republic and leading it, hopefully, to some manner of glory, and it wants to make that process personal - wincingly, skull-crunchingly personal - without sacrificing any of its massive scope. Hence micro-management tweaks like getting right down on the ground with your troops (close enough to watch new animations as they freak out in combat, scatter when the line is broken, and sail through the air post-elephant-rush), and its equal and opposite addition, the ability to pull out from the battle to a brand new tactical view, where you can look over a whole arena of shifting icons, SupComm-style, and get the lay of the land before zooming back in wherever you're needed the most.
Rezzed, The PC and Indie Games Show returns for a second year this June 22nd-23rd at The NEC building in Birmingham. And now the first playable games have been confirmed.
Total War: Rome 2 will be released worldwide on Tuesday, 3rd September, Sega has announced.
You can pre-order it now and, if you do, you'll get Rome 2's first lump of DLC - the Greek States Culture Pack, which adds three extra playable factions (Epirus, Athens and Sparta) - for free.
If you want to go one better, grab the Collector's Edition, bound in a "leather-effect" presentation box. It's got a magnetic closure you know.
Creative Assembly has released an 11-minute gameplay video of Total War: Rome 2, showing the game for the first time from the user-interface-overlaid perspective of you, the commander, the player.
The scenario is the Battle of Teutoborg, where the Romans were ambushed and suffered a huge defeat.
Narrator Al Bickham from Creative Assembly takes control of the Roman forces during the fight and talks us through what he's doing as he does it, discussing the strengths and weaknesses of units and the tactics you could employ. You might recognise his name - he once contributed some reviews to this site.
Rezzed: The PC and Indie Games Show is returning to the UK this June and in my role as curator of the developer sessions I've been beavering away over the last few months organising this year's schedule. I've got enough of it together now that I can let you know exactly when the majority of this year's sessions will take place.
A bit of background for those of you who are lost: Rezzed (tickets available at Rezzed.com) is a two-day show taking place on the weekend of 22nd/23rd June at the NEC in Birmingham, UK. Now in its second year, it allows attendees to go hands-on with the latest PC and indie games before release and - like its big brother, the Eurogamer Expo - there's also a schedule of developer sessions.
Some of the highlights of this year's schedule include Chris Avellone from Obsidian Entertainment coming over to talk Project Eternity, Red Thread Games' Ragnar Tornquist bringing Dreamfall Chapters, and another couple that I can unveil today - Mode 7 Games will be introducing Frozen Endzone at 2pm on Saturday, and Creative Assembly will be showing live code of Rome 2: Total War on stage on the Sunday.
This week at the Game Developers Conference Creative Assembly announced Total War: Arena, a new free-to-play multiplayer spin-off that, on the face of it, sounds very much like a MOBA.
Every so often something stops the wheel of time and we pause, zoom out and see the world from a different perspective.
"People always bang on about PC dying", Dom Starr, the campaign designer of Total War: Rome 2, told Eurogamer.
Sit quietly for a glimpse at Total War: Rome 2 gameplay as you watch a recreation of the historical battle of Teutoburg Forest, where the Romans suffered a crushing defeat.
Although we did our best to broadcast as many of the Eurogamer Expo developer sessions as possible live during this year's event, there were a few that were just too hot for the internet to handle, at least in the eyes of their creators.
Total War has been around for longer than a decade, its numerous instalments familiar sights on shop shelves. But in recent Steam-years things have changed for PC games: most copies are distributed digitally.
I've spoken to Creative Assembly and it's confirmed that Total War: Rome 2 will require Steam.
Sega's just announced that the original Rome: Total War will be sold for £1 on Steam this weekend. The Total War: Master Collection, which contains seven TW games, will be just £26.23.
The Total War: Rome 2 gameplay footage shown to the public for the first time at Rezzed this summer has been polished up and released to the masses.
Conspiracist David Icke is up in arms because Sega won't let him use a song that belongs to Total War.
Those of you who came along to Rezzed this July were privileged to check out a small glimpse of Rome 2, The Creative Assembly's newest instalment in the all-conquering conquer-'em-up Total War series. If you're coming to the Eurogamer Expo, however, you'll witness the first public demonstration of playable code in an exclusive Creative Assembly developer session.
Total War: Rome 2, shrouded in pre-pre-alpha secrecy, has flashed a little more leg at Gamescom, via a clutch of new screenshots.
Is there a Roman Abramovich?
Eurogamer has spoken to Creative Assembly studio director Mike Simpson about the future of Total War. What new historical settings are under discussion? Will there be more remakes? What about consoles? Those questions, and more, are answered in the article below.
Total War: Rome 2 will deliver "a darker vision of war", lead designer Jamie Russell told a packed Rezzed audience this afternoon in Brighton.
Friends, readers, countrymen - Rome 2: Total War has been announced, and Eurogamer has sat down with Creative Assembly studio director Mike Simpson to find out loads more about it the studio's presentation at the Rezzed game show tomorrow.
On my signal, do your best to evoke Gladiator!
Not in-game graphics, sadly.
Sega has announced that The Creative Assembly's next Total War game will be Rome 2, a sequel to its critically acclaimed 2004 strategy classic, Rome: Total War.
The game's due for release in 2013; at a recent preview event, The Creative Assembly told Eurogamer to expect it in the "second half" of next year.
After the narrow geographical focus of Shogun 2, the Total War series is returning to empire-building on a grand scale with Rome 2, which will feature the series' "most expansive turn-based campaign and the largest, most cinematic real-time battles". According to the developer, it's working with its biggest budget yet.
Al Bickham, the studio communications manager for The Creative Assembly, is showing me the right way to go about razing Carthage. The Roman way. On the screen in front of us, a fleet of Roman ships beaches just outside the city and begins to disgorge thousands of centurions, their commanders calling out orders as the massed ranks surge up the sand. As they run to the walls of the ancient capital, arrows rain down on the soldiers and catapult stones and flaming pots soar overhead. As the men dash between siege defences on their way to the gatehouse, I realise I'm watching a classical version of Saving Private Ryan.
Carthage feels like a city, too, a Mediterranean capital bronzed by the sun. It has a harbour, it has grand boulevards that lead to the narrow, winding roads of its residential districts and it has great and glorious temples that sit atop a hill at its centre. It's from these that we take a moment to look down upon the carnage that is spilling onto those grand boulevards, filling their gutters with blood. As the walls are breached and the defenders try to slow the advancing Romans, buildings are collapsing, fires are spreading and bodies are filling the streets. It's just another day in the Roman republic.
While Scipio Aemilianus' destruction of Carthage was the climax of the third Punic War, in the broader context of Roman history it's just a paragraph or two in a book. In a game of Total War: Rome 2, it could be but one of many great and terrible battles raging across an empire that spans three continents. It's this kind of grandeur, this sheer sense of scale, that's inspiring The Creative Assembly's developers as they make their next Total War game. They want drama, they want dynasties and this time things have to be big - certainly much, much bigger than the one-nation arena of their last game, Shogun 2.