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Announcement - Valve
Today's Deal: Save 75% on Empire: Total War™!

Look for the deals each day on the front page of Steam. Or follow us on twitter or Facebook for instant notifications wherever you are!

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Cara Ellison)

I like a man with a pike that can cause a severe injury or deathHey, oh

Let me hear you say it

(Cleopatra)

Come on

(Cleopatra, comin’ atcha)(Cleopatra, comin’ atcha)(Cleopatra, comin’ atcha)(Cleopatra, comin’ atcha) (more…)

PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Total War: Rome 2′s latest faction cries wolf">Total War Rome 2 Suebi







Creative Assembly continue to announce Rome 2's playable factions. Today's reveal heralds the Suebi as the sixth of the game's eight factions, meaning we're only a few weeks away from the full roster. "The Suebi are an indomitable Germanic culture dwelling to the north east of Gaul. Not a single people, but rather numerous tribes sharing a common language and similar religious beliefs," says the wiki page. From the look of the above screenshot, they also make passing wolves rather nervous.



"Heavily reliant on infantry and ambush tactics, raiding is their predominant form of conflict. Lightly equipped, most Suebi warriors make use of the framea, a javelin-like spear, as swords are a rarity. Often unarmoured they carried their rounded, oval or long, hexagonal shields into battle and wore little more than simple cloaks or other garments at times."



From the sounds of things, their Berserker units will prove powerful fighters, and the Night Hunters will camouflage well in forests. "Like other Germanic factions, the Suebi are masters of forest warfare and plunder. Stemming from a confederation of smaller Germanic tribes, they have a diplomatic edge when dealing with other barbarians and excel at fighting lesser tribes who dare to stand in their way." Despite this, their isolationist stance will likely hamper trade with outside factions.



The Suebi join Arverni, Iceni, Macedon, Carthage, and, of course, Rome. But which civilisations will make up the final two factions? Place you bets... Now!



Rome II is out in October.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Face Off: Is the RTS genre dying?">is rts genre dying?







Last week, Ironclad Games’ director and co-owner Blair Fraser called the RTS genre “a dying market.” The genre convention of base building is “done,” Fraser says, and while a handful of games like Company of Heroes “may be profitable,” it’s his belief that RTSes are “very niche.”



Hearing these comments from a strategy studio we respect sparked our own discussion: what’s the state of real-time strategy? In this Face Off debate, T.J. and Evan talk about the health of the genre, and debate whether its popularity has waned to never return, or if it’s actually seeing a resurgence.



Jump over to the next page for more opinions from the PC Gamer community, and make your own arguments in the comments. Debate team captains: construct additional arguments.



Evan: Let’s be clear: this isn’t something that I or we are rooting for. We love RTSes. Command & Conquer was one of my formative games. But the decline of real-time strategy as a popular experience is indisputable. RTS has shrank from the smorgasbord of experiences it offered in the ‘90s and early ‘00s—the era of Warcraft, Age of Empires, Ground Control, Homeworld, and Total Annihilation. I don’t think there’s any hope for a comeback.



TJ: Oh ye of little faith. Well, I’m sure you expected I’d play the eSports card. So... bam! There it is, on the table. All of the most popular eSports are either traditional RTSes, or spins on traditional RTSes. Competitive strategy gaming is drawing millions of viewers in hundreds of countries. How can you say a genre that’s driving that kind of revolution is dying? It looks vibrant and energetic from where I’m sitting.



Evan: The eSports “revolution” you’re describing can be attributed to the increased access to fast, high-quality internet video. eSports is in a better state than it was in the age of DSL and dial-up, sure, but StarCraft is the only conventional RTS with any success as an eSport.



TJ: So far. We’re only two and a half years in. That’s like saying sports were dead back when all they had was Throw the Rock Through the Hoop.



Evan: I’m glad to see eSports doing as well as it is. But really, this is about what we play and pay for, not about what we spectate. It’s about how few games are being made in a genre we used to count as a pillar of PC gaming. Most RTS studios are either closing or scrambling to change their core competency. Relic released a shooter in 2011. Petroglyph laid off 19 people in December and saw its game, End of Nations, brought in-house by its publisher. Sins of a Dark Age, which was initially pitched as an RTS-meets-MOBA, just ditched a “Commander Mode” RTS component that seemed promising. And Gas Powered Games, after declaring that it’d stop adding new content to Age of Empires Online, and after laying off most of its employees, is clinging to a Kickstarter campaign that seems doomed.



I don’t want to see any of these studios shuttered. We need independent, creative groups like Gas Powered in the industry. But this is simply not a healthy genre. Real-time strategy doesn’t have enough fans to support it.



TJ: I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but I would be really, genuinely surprised if there were actually fewer total people playing RTS than in the days of WarCraft III. Gaming, and even PC gaming specifically, have only gained traction since then. Huge traction. I think the fans are definitely there. If anything is dying, it’s the idea that RTSes should be given the same treatment, as shooters or action games, whose audiences have grown faster.



If anything, not enough devs have caught on to how you make and market an RTS in the modern market. You don’t spend Call of Duty money on an these things. And that’s hardly a stubborn enough problem that it would leave us without “any hope for a comeback.”



Evan: Not enough devs have “caught on” because it’s such a challenge for an RTS to make the money of a modern budget back. Again, look at Age of Empires Online. Its parent games were beloved and immensely popular. It reinvented itself as a free game. Gas Powered abandoned it just eight months after release. Very few people are playing it.



Should base-building be retired as a game mechanic? Will Kickstarter allow more studios to market RTS games directly to the people that want them?



TJ: I pin the failure of AOEO on a weak launch. There just wasn’t enough content—and only two factions? Really? If it had launched as the fleshed-out experience it became, I think it would have had a lot more success. Once the gaming masses have decided your game is lackluster, there’s not a lot you can do to bring them back.



Evan: I don’t know... if a free Age of Empires can’t make it, what chance do lesser-knowns like End of Nations have of surviving? I expect a similar fate for the next Command & Conquer, which will also be free to play. Face it: all the recent experiments with RTS have failed.



TJ: So did all the experimentations with human flight for hundreds of years. And they’ve only failed if your definition is pretty narrow.



Evan: This isn’t science—it’s business, and consumers continue to leave the genre. I think a lot of those people are flocking to a genre that was originally a spin-off of Warcraft III. Dota 2 and League of Legends are more popular and successful than StarCraft because designers realized that most people are intimidated by base building and managing a whole army.



TJ: Most people don’t play PC games (in the core audience sense) in the first place. What I’m saying is that RTS is a niche, but it’s no smaller of a niche, in terms of number of players, than it was in the glory days when it represented a higher percentage, because there just weren’t as many gamers. And if you want to talk about consumers expressing themselves, look no further than the 2.2-million-dollar Planetary Annihilation Kickstarter. That’s about as RTS as RTS gets, and it shows that there’s still plenty of vitality in the space beyond the traditional model of publishers bent on spending more than they can make back on these types of games.



Evan: Planetary Annihilation looks terrific! Like any rational human, I’m looking forward to weaponizing asteroids. But Planetary’s “success” is still just 44,000 people. Compare that to another recent spiritual successor made by another small studio—MechWarrior Online, which made 5 million dollars through its pre-order program. Mech games aren’t exactly mainstream—publishers have been afraid to back them for a decade.



Calling RTS a niche is accurate, I guess. But compared to the “glory days,” as you’ve labeled them, I think the genre as it exists now is a clump of lifeboats that’ve escaped from the capsized Titanic.



TJ: You’re comparing apples to robots here. Pre-orders and Kickstarter aren’t necessarily the same thing. I’m not arguing that RTS is as lucrative a genre as, say, shooters or action games. But there are plenty of people on those lifeboats to start a thriving island society. Which is arguably what PC gaming is: a series of thriving, passionate communities.



Evan: Perhaps that island society of yours can gather enough resources to build a second base, tech up, then construct air units. I hope they won’t have to resort to cannibalism.



For more opinions on PC gaming, follow Evan, T.J., and PC Gamer on Twitter. On the next page: more opinions from the community.







Here’s what folks on Twitter wrote back when we asked the following:



@pcgamer no way its dead. It's the best genre by far and the crowning area of pc dominance.— Hilander (@Canisrah) February 4, 2013



@pcgamer We may never see another Age of Empires, but we have Planetary Annihilation, CoH, DoW, SC, and MOBAs. Gimme Homeworld 3!— Josh B (@Branstetter87) February 4, 2013





@pcgamer not dead, but shrinking. By listening too intently to the hardcore crowd, fun simplicity has become overwhelming complexity.— Ryan Aleson (@TacticalGenius) February 5, 2013





@pcgamer RTS genre is alive more than in past, just look at Planetary Annihilation – one of the most funded games on Kickstarter!— Adam Wayland (@AdamWayland86) February 6, 2013





@pcgamer It is a genre in decline in terms of IPs and also game scale. Dying not necessarily but more like small and established.— Alexander Lai(@Lex_Lai) February 4, 2013





@pcgamer It's dying because of the repetitive formulas that every new game has. It's like the state of MMOs, no MMORPG can compete with WoW.— Jesús Jiménez-Lara (@MrVariaZ) February 4, 2013





@pcgamer RTS is not a dying market. It is, was and always will be a niche market. Some people them but most people hate them— Chris Thieblot (@christhieblot) February 5, 2013



@pcgamer Single player games are dying, RTSes are dying, adventure games are dying... nobody tell Valve, Uber, or Telltale!— Jacob Dieffenbach (@dieffenbachj) February 4, 2013





@pcgamer Traditional RTS games translate poorly to consoles, and few devs making PC exclusives outside major franchises.— Eric Watson (@RogueWatson) February 5, 2013



@pcgamer I love my rts games. There the first games I ever played and I don't plan on stopping any time soon.— Scott Ratter (@napatakking) February 5, 2013
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Total War: Shogun 2 releases Gold Edition in March">Total War Shogun 2







Total War: Shogun 2's add-on release schedule has shown a remarkable dedication to historical accuracy. First there was the Rise of the Samurai, then, inevitably, the Fall of the Samurai. Now comes the Bundle of the Samurai, giving you the chance to get a 2-for-1 deal on Samurai with Total War: Shogun 2 Gold Edition.



Gold Edition contains Shogun 2, both Samurai-centric add-ons, along with almost all of the game's DLC packs. The exception is the Blood Pack, presumably for rating reasons. No pricing details as of yet, but the Gold Edition is due for release March 8th in Europe and Australia, and March 5th in the US.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Total War: Rome 2 video interview: inside Creative Assembly’s motion capture studio">Total War Rome 2







I visited Creative Assembly late last year for a look around their brand new motion capture studio. While I was there I spoke to CA mocap manager Pete Clapperton about what it took for the Total War developer to set up their own facility and the way it fits into the development of Total War: Rome II. I also got suited up, covered in pingpong balls, and told to attack a bag of wood chips with an sword. As you do.







Fun fact: I once trained as a mime and was paid to hang around parties pretending to be trapped in a glass box. I say this now to establish that, no, CGI Disco Centurion is not the stupidest thing I have done in my professional life.



Find out more about Rome 2 in our most recent preview - and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more videos in which I humiliate myself. Most of the time, they also feature PC games.



Edit: At the end, I am the orange Roman. For better or worse.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Total War: Rome 2 reveals Carthaginian faction">Rome 2 Carthage thumb







Creative Assembly continue to slowly reveal info on Total War: Rome 2. Following last week's shock announcement that the game will feature Rome as a playable faction, today they announce Carthage will also be making it into the game. It's not quite as blindingly obvious a reveal, but Rome: Total War fans won't be surprised to see the return of the North African state.



The Total War Wiki has a rundown of what traits and benefits the Carthaginians will offer. "Carthage is an expansionist trading state with a small indigenous population. As such, the bulk of its armies consist of mercenary units."



"The core of its land forces, however, are elite Carthaginian citizens known as the Sacred Band and mighty war elephants from the forests of North Africa. Accomplished seamen, their ships are fast and manoeuvrable, with good ramming and missile capabilities." Elephants! The stompiest of land mammals.



For players this means they'll serve as a great trading nation and, thanks to being a democracy, will grant a bonus to happiness. You'll also have a choice between three political powers within the state, each offering military, economic or cultural benefits.
Product Release - Valve
Total War: SHOGUN 2 – Otomo Clan Pack DLC is Now Available on Steam!

The Otomo Clan Pack adds a new playable faction to Total War: SHOGUN 2 for use in single or multiplayer Campaign modes and Custom and Multiplayer Battles.

Having forged an early alliance with Portuguese traders, The Otomo Clan reaps great economic and military benefits from its wealthy, gun-toting ally and in doing so, the clan has allowed Catholicism to flourish among the people of its domain.

Announcement - Valve
Total War: SHOGUN 2 – Otomo Clan Pack DLC is Now Available for Pre-Purchase on Steam and is 10% off!

The Otomo Clan Pack adds a new playable faction to Total War: SHOGUN 2 for use in single or multiplayer Campaign modes and Custom and Multiplayer Battles.

Having forged an early alliance with Portuguese traders, The Otomo Clan reaps great economic and military benefits from its wealthy, gun-toting ally and in doing so, the clan has allowed Catholicism to flourish among the people of its domain.

PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Creative Assembly unveil giant Total War: Rome II panorama">total war panoramic







Creative Assembly have revealed an enormous battle scene from their upcoming historical strategy epic Total War: Rome II (or possibly Rome: Total War II, or even Total Rome: War II - it's hard to keep track). Well whatever it's called, the game will boast what the developers are describing as "the biggest city – indeed the biggest battle – we've ever created in a Total War game". History fans, they're talking about the Siege of Carthage.



That image up there is just a slice of the full panorama, which is a lovely thing to behold, zoom in and explore. You can see cannons mid-fling, and soldiers mid-fall, as the city of Carthage is sacked and obliterated before your eyes. Frustratingly, we won't get to enact this battle ourselves until 2013, so in the meantime I'm going to photoshop in a mouse cursor and pretend I'm playing it right now. Don't judge me. War: Total Rome: No Place Like Rome II is due out in October next year.
...

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