Total War: Rome 2 developer Creative Assembly issued a statement on Twitter responding to complaints from some players stemming from the game’s inclusion of female generals, saying it has no plans to change the feature.
Creative Assembly’s response comes a month after complaints were lodged at a community manager in Steam forum discussions, and six months after the game’s initial update that included playable female characters went live. A reactionary portion of the game’s audience recently argued that Creative Assembly is forcing players to use female generals as playable characters, which the developer states is false. The reports gained traction thanks to one particular screenshot posted to Total War: Rome 2’s Steam community hub, seen above.
“There have been no changes to recruitable female general spawn rates,” Creative Assembly said. “But with the addition of the family tree feature and the new gameplay features it brings, playable factions may gain more female family members via marriage.”
The statement also confirms that “female characters appear throughout the game, but have between a 10 to 15 per cent chance of appearing as recruitable generals for some of the playable factions ... These percentage chances are moddable by players.
“We’ve not seen a verifiable bug where this is shown to be different or not working as intended.”
Not to leave any room for argument over “historical accuracy,” a term that has led GamerGate supporters and neo-Nazi publications like The Daily Stormer to pick up on the story in an attempt to turn it into a larger issue, Creative Assembly also explicitly addressed those complaints.
“The exceptions are the Greek States, Rome, Carthage and some Eastern factions, which have a 0 per cent chance, and Kush which has a 50 per cent chance,” the statement reads. “This is to broadly represent the cultural differences in those factions during the time the game is set.”
The developer’s response echoes what Ella, the aforementioned community manager for Creative Assembly, explained in August. Her response to player outcry quickly became the breeding ground for more dissension and bad actors spreading misinformation, which Creative Assembly has now cleared up.
“Firstly, I’ll say it again: Total War games are historically authentic, not historically accurate - if having female units upsets you that much you can either mod them out or just not play,” Ella wrote. “People saying they won’t buy the game because there are too many women in it is fine with us - if that’s their reason, we’d rather they didn’t anyway.”
Her comment, which also included a note about unacceptable language such as “words like ‘cuck,’ ‘SJW,’ and ‘feminazi,’” led to people demanding Creative Assembly fire her. Ella responded to the outcry on Steam in a follow-up post, as reported by Kotaku.
“I’m not HR, nor is it my job to push a ‘personal agenda’ — I convey the views of the company, which is where the statement regarding historical authenticity vs. historical accuracy (and the inclusion of women) originates,” she wrote.
Numerous hostile actions have followed the original brouhaha, including a review bomb of the game on Steam and multiple YouTube videos attacking the developers.
It’s a situation that the gaming industry has unfortunately seen before, most recently with ArenaNet, when two employees were fired after critics demanded their jobs following a Twitter exchange with a Guild Wars 2 YouTube creator.
Creative Assembly doesn’t seem likely to give into the mob, using its statement to reiterate that even in the wake of the spread of calculated misinformation, there are no plans to change the game. Despite the recent review bomb Total War: Rome 2 has received on Steam thanks to an organized backlash, the game has a positive overall review rating.