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Total War: Rome 2 celebrates ancient rulers on International Women’s Day

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Cleopatra among new additions to strategy game

Tomorrow is International Women’s Day, so it’s appropriate that women rulers and warriors feature prominently in the release of Total War: Rome 2’s new culture pack Desert Kingdoms.

Cleopatra of Egypt and Teuta of Illyria are now playable as faction leaders and generals, along with custom visuals and voice-over. They follow the addition of Zenobia, queen of Palmyra in the Empire Divided campaign, released last November. Total War: Rome 2 was originally released in 2013, and has since been supported with numerous add-on packs, though this is the first “culture pack” since 2014.

Elsewhere in the game, women will feature in more prominent roles, where historically appropriate. Here’s what developer Creative Assembly offered in its notes:

Major female characters have been added to all campaigns and all factions. In some cultures, such as Roman and Greek, women occupy social/political roles, while in others, women may be generals and lead armies.

For cultures where women do not hold public offices, there is a special Cursus Honorum path that follows the increase in the influence of women in politics.

There are special events (dilemmas) which portray the trials and tribulations associated with women coming to power in ancient times. Often, tradition and prejudice stood in the way. Such events allow the player to recruit female leaders, or gain other bonuses from parties that would normally oppose such a decision. Important historical female characters will spawn via special incidents at various times throughout various campaigns.

Featured ancient leaders include Berenice Phernophorus of the Seleucids, Olympias II from Epirus and Erato from Armenia. The new pack also offers additions such as a new resource of spices, as well as the ability to merge two units of the same type into one. Total War 2: Desert Kingdoms is currently being offered on Steam for $8.09, down from its regular price of $8.99.

First observed more than a century ago, International Women’s Day takes place every March 8, commemorating the movement for women’s rights.