Total War: Rome II developers explain why they added more female characters

The developers behind video game Total War: Rome II tweeted out a press release early Tuesday morning addressing the sudden surge of negative comments from players who were concerned that the number of women who spawn in-game has increased.

Created by Creative Assembly and published by Sega, Total War: Rome II allows players to use military, strategic and political force to conquer enemies and the republic. But some gamers felt that a recent patch, which added the “family tree feature,” changed the game for the sake of political correctness. A slew of negative comments on the game’s Steam page shows gamers who feel jipped by the patch, which they felt traded historical accuracy for the sake of gender equality.

Players felt that the patch allowing family trees, and therefore expanding the number of women in the game, was a result of the surge of attention paid to female representation and empowerment caused in part by the #MeToo movement. A developer from the Creative Assembly team addressed concerns, saying, “as has been said previously: 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.”

In its statement, @totalwar said, “There have been no changes to recruitable female general spawn rates, but with the addition of the family tree feature and the new gameplay options it brings, playable factions may gain more female family members via marriage.”

“Female characters appear throughout the game, but have between a 10 and 15% chance of appearing as recruitable generals for some of the playable factions,” the statement continues. “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.”

Last month, user Chaos Puppy wrote a lengthy post on Steam, saying in part “when some fans voiced concerns that there were elements to Rome II that were grossely [sic] historically inaccurate, like over 50% of your generals women, Creative Assembly told their fans that their games were NOT hisotically [sic] accurate, and if they didn’t like it, not to buy it.”

Comments from players following the exchange varied between supportive and condemning, though the negative quickly overtook the positive.

comments on steam Screengrab via Steam steam comments Screengrab via Steam

Total War: Rome II comments Screenshot via Steam

The statement on Tuesday from @totalwar garnered a mixed response, with many people grateful for the clarification and others criticizing the spawn percentages. The conversation spread from Steam to Twitter, where opinions were similarly split.

“If you want to be more genuine and accurate with the percentage you should have it at 2% at maximum,” Twitter user @willoffahnat said. Another user, @Lord_Denton, said, “Is there a mod to turn it up to 200%, where you get two female generals each time you recruit one?”

Hopefully, the statement released by Creative Assembly will help ease the ire of offended gamers, but happy or not, @totalwar said it has no plans to patch the feature out or remove it from the game. The ladies are here for good.

READ MORE:

Nahila Bonfiglio

Nahila Bonfiglio

Nahila Bonfiglio reports on geek culture and gaming. Her work has also appeared on KUT's Texas Standard (Austin), KPAC-FM (San Antonio), and the Daily Texan.