A small group of users are trying their hardest to “review bomb” the Steam version of Total War: Rome II over the game’s use of female generals.
Initially released in 2013, Rome II has been updated fairly often since its debut. Six months ago, the developers released an update that added female generals to the armies of certain nations. It doesn’t seem like the update generated much controversy upon its release, but a recent photo which showed an in-game boat full of female generals prompted some in the game’s community to suggest that the developers had raised the appearance rate of female generals in the game in order to force the player to use them regardless of what faction they were playing.
Developer Creative Assembly addressed these concerns in a very official way. First, they assured players that they had checked the game’s code and that the appearance rate of female generals was well within normal levels. In a statement issued to Eurogamer, the studio even confirmed what those appearance rates are. It seems that the “Greek States, Rome, Carthage, and some Eastern factions” offer a 0% chance of seeing a female general as a recruitable character, Kush offers a 50% drop rate, and every other faction works off of a standard 10-15% chance of seeing a female general within your army. According to the developers, these rates represent their desire to “broadly represent the cultural differences in those factions during the time the game is set.”
That was the formal, factual, technical response. However, others with ties to Creative Assembly have rightfully taken to the game’s forums to tell those who are upset by this matter that it’s time to grow up.
“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,” said Creative Assembly’s community content editor via Steam. “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.”
This female content editor later noted that they are not HR and that it is not their job to push a personal agenda. Instead, their statements represent the “views of the company.” Sadly, those statements have resulted in certain online groups trying to get her fired or otherwise just taking the time to send some hateful statements her way.
Such as it stands, though, it doesn’t seem that Creative Assembly has any plans in place to fire anyone or remove female generals. They also insist that anyone who is truly bothered by this can always just use mods to remove female generals from the game.
Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014.