Advertisement
Tech by VICE

‘Total War’ Developer Says It Won’t Yield to Demands From Sexist Culture Warriors

The outrage about female spawn rates in 'Total War: Rome II' is fake.

by Samantha Cole
Sep 25 2018, 3:53pm

When Total War: Rome II introduced female leaders as recruitable characters in March, players were outraged. Similar to the controversy around Battlefield V including more women in promotional materials and as playable characters, they’re using cries about “historical accuracy” to thinly-veil misogyny in gaming.

Now, the game’s being review-bombed on Steam by people claiming that the women are taking over, saying they’re out-spawning the men at increasing rates. One reviewer claimed that "over 50% of...generals [are] women." That review launches into a screed about Total War developer Creative Assembly’s treatment of customers, saying that “Creative Assembly doesn't care about your opinion and would rather you just not buy their product.”

This reviewer is referencing a moment in August, when the outrage over including female leadership characters in Total War: Rome II came to a head. The game’s community content editor Ella McConnell addressed the controversy to an angry reviewer on Steam. “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,” McConnell 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.”

As PCGamesN pointed out, claims that female generals are spawning at a higher rate are dubious at best: The game was patched in early September, with no mention of female generals in the update notes. In July, it got an “Ancestral Update” to overhaul the character system, but there’s no mention of increased spawn rates.

Tuesday morning, Creative Assembly addressed these claims in a statement that female generals spawn rates are the same now as they were when they were introduced in March.

Differing spawning rates "represent the cultural differences in those factions during the time the game is set,” the developer stated. “These percentage changes are moddable by characters. We’ve not seen a verifiable bug where this is show to be different or not working as intended. We have no plans to patch this out or remove this feature from the game.”

So, the outrage about women taking over Total War is entirely made up. Refusing to patch a bug that doesn’t exist to appease misogynistic criticisms of your game isn’t bad customer service, it’s common sense.