Total War: Rome 2 developer The Creative Assembly has responded to allegations it held content back from the main release game to drip feed players as paid DLC.
Some fans reacted negatively to the recent Beasts of War DLC pack after remembering that camel units were shown in pre-release promotional materials, which they took to mean these units had been part of the game before being held back for sale as an add-on.
Total War brand director Rob Bartholomew told Eurogamer this is a “misunderstanding of what’s being shown combined with a marketing error”.
“I certainly appreciate [it] doesn’t look good, but wasn’t our intent to mislead,” he said.
Bartholemew admitted that units similar to those released as DLC were shown in a pre-launch Let’s Play video, but said they’re not the same.
“The naming is unfortunate, but these aren’t the same units that were then released subsequently as DLC. As with all work in-progress content, it is subject to change and revision before the final game is shipped. Content might be revised for all sorts of reasons involving balancing or quality for example,” he said.
“The DLC we’re looking at here are essentially a different version following increased design, artwork and balancing to match the quality of the other units available. The final selection of units supplied in the game were extensive and we felt they represented excellent value.”
The developer said marketing made a mistake by showing the units at all, as they were not “finished in terms of art, gameplay or design”.
“Obviously we don’t want to feature content that won’t be in the game intentionally, especially when it would otherwise be pointless, as in this case where there was a huge variety of other great units to show off. That’s our basic human error and I apologise for letting that through,” he said.
Bartholemew said that in making DLC The Creative Assembly will sometimes return to scrapped ideas, and that’s what’s happened this time. He acknowledged that determining what content should be in the core game and what should be sold later as DLC will always be a “subjective and divisive” question, but thinks the team is getting it pretty right.
“Given that Rome 2 shipped with more units than any other Total War game by a significantly huge margin, we are confident we got that balance right for the game, but we understand there will always be people who don’t agree and we listen and try to make the right call,” he said.
The Creative Assembly has put checks in place to ensure it does not show work-in-progress assets in promotional materials in future.
The full Eurogamer article through the link above contains discussion of why moderators moved user complaints around the forums, content data mined from the core game and The Creative Assembly’s DLC approach, so do click through if you have concerns about this subject.