PC Gamer
28186TWRII_Battle_Formations


In 61 BC, Julius Caesar levied Legio X Equestris, a legion of several thousand fighting men who fought with distinction in his campaign against Gaul. They were disbanded in 45 BC, shortly before Caesar's assassination. In the ensuing civil war, the 10th Legion was raised again and fought for Lepidus, Marc Antony, and finally Emperor Augustus.

Over that 20-year period, thousands of men died or retired as veterans with lands they had helped conquer in Gaul. Equestris' individual legionaries are not remembered by history. But as a unit, Legio X Equestris were instrumental in Caesar's conquest of Gaul. Creative Assembly wants to give every army in Rome II: Total War a similar legacy, to make them more than masses of faceless troops.

And here history and gameplay merge in a really exciting way: as an army accrues victories, it will also accrue traditions, transforming a generally skilled army into a highly specialized one.

Every upgrade system in Rome II—from the revamped military and civic tech trees down to the abilities of generals, agents and armies—encourages specialization. On the macro level, military and civic developments are now divided into three subcategories (management, tactics and siege for military, economy, philosophy, and construction for civic) you can hop between at will. Teching for naval superiority or a strong farming economy, for example, is much more direct than it was in Shogun II: Total War.



But army traditions are what have me most excited for Rome II, and not just because the historical basis behind them is really cool. Traditions have the potential to completely change how battles play out by the end of a 20 (or 30, or 40, or...) hour-long Rome II campaign, because traditions outlive the poor legionaries who die earning them.

As you might expect from Creative Assembly, Studio Communications Manager Al Bickham explained the army tradition system with a historical comparison. "Think about the 101st Airborne," Bickham said at a recent preview event for Rome II. Remember Band of Brothers? He's talking about those guys: "They're all about their small unit tactics and being in enemy territory and working, effectively, guerrilla warfare. That's what they do. They do that really well. They've done that for the last 100 years, right? That's what is all about."

In Rome II, traditions extend the upgrade system used for commanding officers to whole armies. But that system has been reworked, too. Instead of progressing a general through a tech tree as he levels up, you now assign one skill at every level (with a cap at level 10). Previously acquired skills can also be leveled up in place of acquiring new ones. If you mainly use your generals to rally and inspire troops, focusing on those abilities will make them horse-mounted masters of morale.

In Shogun II, you could specialize generals by choosing a path through the tech tree, but you'd probably be wasting a few points along the way. Rome II simplifies choosing the abilities and buffs commanders bring to the battlefield. The same system also applies to Rome II's agents.



And where armies previously just grew stronger and gained morale with experience, they'll now gain their own set of specializations in the form of traditions for siegecraft, cavalry, and infantry types. Bickham detailed an example:

"I've spent six of my possible 10 points as an army's been leveling up in siegecraft and heavy infantry. Those guys are going to be city smashers, you know? They're going to be really good shots and very damaging with their onagers and ballistas and scorpions and stuff. I'll have those on my front line doing my city bashing for me."

Rome II tracks the history of each army, listing wins and losses and years in service. Armies can be renamed, and whatever symbol you set as their standard will appear on the legionary character models. And if that army is slaughtered to the last man, the traditions they bled for aren't lost.

"Say you have the 13th Legion," Bickham said, referencing a legion he took into battle at the Rezzed game conference last month. "The 13th Legion cops it. They all die. You can go back to one of your cities, you can recruit a new general, you can give him the banner of the 13th Legion, and you can recruit a new army along with that new general under the banner of the 13th Legion. Get all those traditions back. The whole idea is it's a symbol of the traditions of a fighting unit...The standard, what that army represents, is always there."



By endgame, using the right army in the right battle will be key, as even green troops can strut onto the field with 10 traditions backing them up. Bickham's city smashers, for example, could be torn apart by a heavily trained legion of cavalry. But losing an army of seasoned troops shouldn't spell disaster, either.

"It's no longer about--putting it in the context of previous games, armies were stacks of troops, and you just kind of mashed troops together, and you'd add more, and you'd build the stack," Bickham said. "I think by the end of the game you'll have some incredibly experienced guys you'll be really attached to because you've crafted them over time. They're like macro RPG characters made of thousands of men."
PC Gamer
Empire: Total War


Because fighting AI just isn't the same as taking a sword to the face of a good friend, you know? Empire: Total War has opened its multiplayer campaign beta to testers again after a long three years—here's your chance to get back in on the action.

The multiplayer campaign was first added almost a year after release, way back in December 2009, though the doors have been barred for quite some time. A new page recently sprung up on the Empire: Total War website, though, once again welcoming beta registrants.

"Shortly after Empire: Total War was released, we added in an unsupported multiplayer campaign beta," says the sign-up page. "Not everyone was able to get hold of a key for this and the application process was eventually discontinued. In response to fan requests we are, for a limited time, offering the opportunity to apply for a key once more."

So head on over and drop your email address in the box. You'll be told that the team will "be in touch," but there's no word of when. If you receive your invite, let me know what the hell's going on in there—I want to know all about the three-year party that's been raging within Total War.
PC Gamer
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
Total War Rome 2 shocked Roman


Total War: Rome 2 soldiers are made up of between 6000 and 7000 polygons lead designer, James Russell, explained recently at the Eurogamer Expo. Artillery projectiles in Rome 2 are made up of more polygons then a Rome 1 soldier has. If you put enough polygons into these characters and layer on enough AI subroutines than there's always a danger that one of your chaps can become sentient and kick his way out of the matrix. Luckily for humanity this soldier is having his existential crisis in front of a team of rampaging war elephants, one of the top five worst situations in which to have an existential crisis. See his predicament in more detail in the screenshots below.







PC Gamer
Total War Shogun 2 Saints and Heroes musket men


Accounts of this week's Creative Assembly mod summit have been hitting Total War community forums, with word of Steam Workshop support for Total War: Shogun 2 and plans for an upgraded set of CA-developed mod tools that will let modders tweak campaign and model files.

The creator of The Great War mod, "Mitch," posted a detailed account of the meeting, in which some of the most prolific Total War modders in the world got to meet top CA talent like Shogun 2 lead designer Jamie Ferguson. According to Mitch, the presentation revealed that "there will be Steam Workshop intergration" for Shogun 2. "People will be able to create and upload their own historical battles and have others download them."

There's also mention of new model conversion software and a "campaign reprocessor" that will let tweakers "edit the most desired areas of modding, the campaign and the models."

You can read the full account of the day at the TWCenter forums. The Creative Assembly kickstarted their program to support modders earlier this year with the release of the free Shogun 2 map editor.
PC Gamer
Rome 2


Ouch! I've never seen someone get crushed with the head of a massive statue before, but this is WAR. The new Rome 2 trailer shows the first in-engine footage of the siege of Carthage. Legions of troops pour onto the beaches, wash into the streets and break against the grey, craggy fury of an elephant charge. It's a short teaser for a longer fly-through video of the siege that The Creative Assembly are keeping locked safely away in their trailer Trireme, but it offers a heady glimpse of the updated engine. Don't let me keep you. The video is right here ready to go.

PC Gamer
Darthmod Shogun 2


Nick "Darth Vader" Thomadis has announced that there won't be any more follow ups to the popular Darthmod series of mods for Total War after receiving no invite to The Creative Assembly's upcoming modders' summit. "There will be some support for older games, if needed, as all my mods are complete now but there will be not a new DarthMod for new Total War games and of course not for the upcoming RTW2," said Thomadis on Facebook.

"Do not worry about the future of the current DarthMods. They will stay and will be probably somewhat more improved. Maybe now I will have more time to play them."

The Empire, Napoleon and Shogun 2 versions of Darthmod offer some of the most comprehensive player-made updates to Total War games in recent years. They've gained a reputation for being ruthless, difficult and beautiful. Dozens of collaborators have updated each edition with layers of audio, visual and AI updates, making Darthmod a go-to choice for players looking for extra challenge from Total War. Thomadis mentions that Darthmod for Shogun 2 has amassed quarter of a million downloads since its release in March.

If you fancy trying Darthmod out, Moddb has the latest versions of the Darthmod updates for Shogun 2, Empire: Total War and Napoleon.
PC Gamer
Total War Battles Shogun


If you don't have an iOS device, you may not have heard of The Creative Assembly's mobile take on Total War. How on Earth do you fit the scale and spectacle of a Total War campaign onto a smartphone? Well, you can't, so Total War Battles tries to offer an entirely different take. It merges building and combat onto battlefields overlaid by grids of hexes. You can channel your troops down lanes drawn across the map and harvest resources with structures placed nearby. It's designed to be quick and easy to jump into, two qualities that Total War titles have traditionally lacked.

Sega's blurb boasts a ten hour campaign with bonus challenge missions. The visuals have been spruced up for the big screen and the PC version will come with bonus concept art showing off TWB's loud, colourful style.

Total War Battles is available now on Steam for $7.99 / £4.99 / EUR 9.99. Find out more on the Total War Battles site, and get a feel for how it plays in this here trailer:

PC Gamer
Rome 2 Logo


While at The Creative Assembly to see Rome 2 for the first time, I sat down with Total War lead designer James Russell to talk about the studio’s reasons for returning to the ancient world, what new features players should expect from their second expedition to Rome, and whether the game will receive the same mod support that has just been rolled out for Total War: Shogun 2. Read our first preview of Rome 2 here, and also check out our video interviews with James Russell and lead battle designer Jamie Ferguson.

PC Gamer: So why return to Rome?

James Russell: Well, I think there are two reasons. Rome is the most popular era in terms of where the fans want us to return to. It's the most asked-for sequel on the forums, from our community, and I'm really excited to be announcing Rome 2.

I think there's something uniquely evocative about the Roman era, which is why is has such traction in the popular imagination. You see lots of Rome content on TV and so on. There's something absolutely magical about the period, I think, from the ideals of the Roman Republic up to the immense power of the Roman Empire, which created the excesses of notorious Emperors like Caligula, and so on.

I mean, it was a time in history where individuals could really shape history. You've got all these legendary figures like Julius Caesar, Cleopatra and there's something very unique about the Roman war machine and the look and feel of the legions. And of course the arena in which they were fighting - the whole ancient world with barbarians in the forests and exotic empires to the east. I think it's just a very very special period and we can make a magical Total War title out of it.

PC Gamer: What are the principal things you're looking to do with Rome 2, that you couldn't do do with Rome 1?

James Russell: First of all the scope of the game world in Rome 2 is going to be bigger, we're pushing the map further out. But really what we want to do... there's something very special about Total War in terms of the scale, and the spectrum of scales, that we have. So if you look at a battle you have incredible detail close up where you can see two men fighting it out, and you zoom out and you can see thousands and thousands of them on the battlefield. We really want to push both ends of that spectrum in Rome 2.

So in terms of the detail, obviously we've got a new graphics engine, we've got new lighting system, new particle systems, we really want to increase the detail and the look and have a really gritty look and feel in terms of the man to man combat - really impactful animations. We're also bringing the cinematic skeletons fully in game, so we're going to have facial animations, we're going to have unit linked cameras. It really brings out that low level human scale drama that we want to have on the battlefield in a completely different way then we have before. Partly that's cameras, partly that's facial animation. We're having emotional interactions, we want to make the game more lifelike in terms of how behave at an individual human level.



And at the other end of the spectrum, we're wanting to make that scale - that sense of grandeur - just more epic than ever. We want it to be the most spectacular gaming experience that people have ever seen. So we're making much bigger cities, epic battlefields, varied terrain, huge armies. And of course just in terms of the period, the huge variety of fighting styles, the variety of terrain and the exotic settings that we've got in the game, it's just going to be something quite spectacular I think.

PC Gamer: Shogun was praised for tightening the Total War experience down to a few key strategic decisions and battles over a very focused landscape. How do you maintain that focus when you’re covering a huge period of history and a vast area of the world?

James Russell: I think the key there is to have a really tight design and there are certain features that we're planning that will give us the best of both worlds. So, for instance, we want to have on the campaign map a huge space but actually reduce the amount of management detail that you've got to go into. So we're going to have - instead of all regions being the same - we're going to have provinces which are made up of a number of different regions.

What that means is you don't have to manage loads and loads of regions, you manage a small number of regions relatively, but we still have that strategic depth where a province is made of up several regions which you can conquer. And what that means is that you can have the benefit of scale but you don't have the management detail. That's on the campaign map. On the battlefield really it's about making sure that the units are controllable and we're taking a whole bunch of measures to make sure that it's epically visual but also straightforward to control.

PC Gamer: So from what we saw, there's obviously a very strong narrative and character element. Is that the direction you see Total War going in? From historical simulation to telling stories from history?

James Russell: I think what's unique about Total War is that you make your own history. So we put you in this historical era, we immerse you in it, we put legendary characters from the era into the game, but the player makes their own history with those characters. But absolutely, that whole pillar, what we call the human face of Total War - we want to do that on the campaign map as well. We want to go down to that human scale and make more of characters, make more of stories and we've got various themes that we want to incorporate around betrayal ... are you saving the Republic or trying to be Emperor? That kind of thing. But absolutely the core pillar of Total War is that you're making your own history.



PC Gamer: So within that sandbox approach, how do you go about incorporating particular historical precedents, like 'this technology existed at this time' or 'this technology came from this place'?

James Russell: What we do is we create this world and the player chooses how to navigate through it. So for instance if the player chooses to focus on something that Rome didn't necessarily focus on until a lot later than the player can do that. If the player wants to go all out and become Emperor early that's what the player chooses to do.

PC Gamer: Are there any specific events or historical personalities that you're really keen to get into the game?

James Russell: Well there's all sorts of flavour of the period that we want to get in in various different ways. We really want to push more storylines into the game. You saw a little bit of that in Shogun 2 with the dilemma system and we wanted to make that a bit broader and really, really push those very unique ancient world stories into the game. But we're not putting the player on rails, they will be triggered depending on what the player is doing how how the player is behaving. So it's really our core goal to integrate the player's interaction with the rich tapestry of the ancient world.

PC Gamer: So when you're talking about themes, are you talking about things like - for example - cults of personality, and the relative power of generals in Rome and how that affected the Empire? That kind of detail?

James Russell: I mean, yeah. Effectively we've got a massive list of things we want to fold into the game in some way, and we do this with all Total War titles, and we look for all sorts of different ways to fold in those themes and flavours. But what we really want to do with Rome 2 is really emphasise the kind of human level drama that was a real part of the Roman world where, as I said, individuals could shape history.



PC Gamer: When you're got such a central and fascinating power as Rome in a game, how do you then make the other factions that surround Rome interesting to play?

James Russell: Well we're not ready to go into which factions are going to be in the game and which factions are going to be playable and that kind of thing. But you know, absolutely those kind of features will apply across the board in terms of the all the different factions that the player can enjoy. I mean it's part of what makes the Roman era so evocative is the sheer variety and exoticism of the different cultures that they encountered. And that's what's so exciting it's the setting, it's the huge scope of the world and all of the different cultures and civilisations that were part of it.

PC Gamer: And will that be reflected in political systems or unit fighting styles, things like that?

James Russell: Absolutely. There's a huge array of fighting styles and different methods of waging war, absolutely. We've got hundreds of units and that's part of what makes the combat in Rome so special and unique. There's a huge amount of variation in terms of fighting styles and just the look and feel of the different cultures.

PC Gamer: So what time period will be covered by the game?

James Russell: Well I don't want to get too specific but we are wanting to have the whole sweep of Roman history right from the early Republic all the way to the Imperial period. But we don't really want to talk about specific dates.

PC Gamer: Does it include the divided Empire? West and East?

James Russell: Well.... who knows?

PC Gamer: What are your plans for multiplayer this time around?



James Russell: Well I can't really talk about multiplayer, but I think I can say that we're planning to do something really big.

PC Gamer: Talking about Total War generally, there's a really varied amount of post launch content for Shogun, from small campaign packs to full expansions. Is that the policy going forward, to have a full range of DLC at different sizes?

James Russell: I think we're really lead by the content itself and by what fits. What we want to do is create a fantastic core release which has the huge array of variety that people expect from a Total War game, and in particular a Total War game set in ancient Rome where we include all of these other civilisations. So, yeah, we absolutely plan to delve deeper after release in terms of additional content. We're lead by the content, we don't develop and hold things back, that's not how we work. We make the best game we can and then we think "Okay what do the fans want? What do we want to do? How can we push this even further?"

PC Gamer: So with Shogun 2 did you find that a particular size of DLC or expansion worked better than anything else?

James Russell: I think they all have their place. I think there's a great place for smaller bits of DLC which add very specific content, there's a place for a new campaign and there's a place for a big expansion pack as well. I think they all have their strengths and weaknesses and we're happy with all the Shogun 2 post release content, yeah.

PC Gamer: So you've put out the map editor for Shogun 2 - should players expect similar modding support for Rome?

James Russell: Well, you know we do our best. It has become harder, in the old days we worked with very simple text files that were very easy to mod, now we have a proper authenticated database. We don't necessarily have all the editor tools that the players out there think we do. As designers we struggle as well.



PC Gamer: So do you look at the mod community, do you factor in what they're doing to your games after release and apply that to subsequent games?

James Russell: Well, you know, we keep ourselves aware of what's going on and what people want and we do our best to listen to the community.

PC Gamer: How does modding and community support work alongside DLC, where a game grows in the direction you're taking it in and the community independently does their own thing. What’s the appeal of supporting modders when you’ve got your own plan for the growth of the game?

James Russell: Well the appeal of supporting modders is that it creates engagement, it supports engagement with the game and modders can increase the lifetime of the product by creating content that they want to play with each other. But I don't think we feel threatened by that in terms of producing our own content, we're confident about what we do and I think we make great DLC content. And there are things that we can do, because, we can change the code and so on, that the modders couldn't do.

PC Gamer: You've got a very dedicated community, and Total War Centre is a good example of the kind of focused community that springs up around PC games. Is that one of the big appeals of sticking with the PC - gaining access to that committed group of players?

James Russell: In terms of the platform I think there is something unique about what PC gaming is. Total War at it's heart is an epic, deep gameplay experience and I think PC is the best platform for that. It's that kind of ‘lean in’ experience, it's not on the sofa in the living room with shorter play sessions and so on. So we do want to make Total War accessible, we do want to support the ability to play for shorter amounts of time absolutely but I think at its core PC is a perfect platform for what Rome 2 is, absolutely.

Total War: Rome 2 is due in late 2013.
PC Gamer
Rome 2 Street Fighting Feature


While seeing Rome 2 for the first time at Creative Assembly, I spoke to lead designer James Russell and lead battle designer Jamie Ferguson about the new direction that Total War is taking, their ambitions for the game, and why they're returning to Rome after all this time.

James Russell, lead designer
 

 
Jamie Ferguson, lead battle designer
 

 
Be sure to check out our Rome 2 preview for our first impressions of the game. More on Rome 2 is available in PC Gamer UK issue 242, out July 4th, and PC Gamer US issue 230, out July 17th.
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