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Total Yaaar: Rome 2 gets a swashbuckling culture pack

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Total Yaaar: Rome 2 gets a swashbuckling culture pack

Total War: Rome 2 is getting smacked with some culture with the Pirates and Raiders DLC. Creative Assembly is tossing the new, Ardiaei, Odrysian Kingdom and Tylis factions, all part of the new Balkan culture group. These guys are the first playable Thracian and Dacian factions in Rome 2 and come with their own specialisations. 

They’ll crop up as mercenaries, too, so you don’t need to play as one of these factions to send their warriors into battle, though you would miss out on their cultural traits. The pack is due out soon, priced at £5.99.

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Grudge match: Rome II DLC pits Carthage against Rome in the Second Punic War

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Grudge match: Rome II DLC pits Carthage against Rome in the Second Punic War

The Second Punic War is ripe for dramatisation, so it’s odd that Hollywood hasn’t picked it apart. Maybe it’s because the “bad guys" win in the end. Rome initiates yet another war against its old adversaries, Carthage, kicking off a conflict that engulfs the Mediterranean. So the Carthaginian general, Hannibal, crosses the Alps with ferocious elephants and angry Gauls, beating up Romans up and down Italy. 

Of course, it didn’t end well for Carthage. The Romans took back their fallen cities, chucked the North African powerhouse out of Iberia and eventually turned once mighty Carthage into yet another client state. In Total War: Rome II’s new DLC, Hannibal at the Gates, you’ll have a chance to change the fortunes of Carthage. Or you can put yourself in Scipio’s shoes, trying to make the war play out just as it did historically. 

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Total War: Rome II Beasts of War DLC introduces throwing bees, snakes, scorpions

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Total War: Rome II Beasts of War DLC introduces throwing bees, snakes, scorpions

I can never quite muster the necessary enthusiasm for giant robots sometimes required for PC gaming, and for that I blame Beast Wars: Transformers - the Canadian CGI spinoff that I watched after school in the ‘90s. In that, the robots became birds and bears, and so Optimus Prime became Optimus Primal, y’see? Very clever stuff.

This is not a tie-in to that - though you can’t rule such things out while Chivalry: Deadliest Warrior exists. Rather, it’s an only marginally less ridiculous unit pack that brings ranged scorpion hurling to Total War: Rome 2; a game described as a good "romp" in Fraser's Total War: Rome 2 review.

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A new way to be trampled: Total War: Rome II updated with geographically accurate elephants

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A new way to be trampled: Total War: Rome II updated with geographically accurate elephants

As Maximus Cannus Fodderus looked up at the Saharan sun for the final time, he sighed. The ears weren’t right. They were much too small - and the animal’s reared back was convex, rather than dipped, as it should have been. The leg that came down on his chest was long and lean, not stocky and thickset. 

He was going to die - and it wasn’t even the right sort of bloody elephant.

In recognition of Rome II’s wide geographical scope and its well-educated generals, Creative Assembly have introduced a new African elephant model to the game.

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Total War: Rome 2 modding is a go with the release of the Assembly Kit

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Total War: Rome 2 modding is a go with the release of the Assembly Kit

Who would win in a fight, the Romans or the Zerg? Till now it’s only been a fight in the cinema of the mind. Now it can be in the cinema of the... can a mouse click be a cinema? I’m thoroughly confused on that front. Let’s just say if the finger were a projector and the mouse button were a screen then the distance in between is... Creative Assembly have released mod tools for Rome 2!

If you're having a hard time understanding the excitement, you ought to check out our Total War: Rome 2 review.

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Total War: Rome II patch 8.1 puts a stop to inappropriate use of flaming projectiles

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Total War: Rome II patch 8.1 puts a stop to inappropriate use of flaming projectiles

No matter how many times a teacher says not to, schoolchildren will always throw flaming projectiles when they shouldn’t. It’s a fact of life as embedded in our cultural history as salting the earth of your neighbour’s garden when they go on holiday. But not in Rome II. Creative Assembly are going back on centuries of tradition to make sure their siege artillery only use flaming projectiles when it is appropriate, “when attacking walls and towers".

The 8.1 patch “fixes" many other “bugs", too.

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Close-up combat: Rome II: Caesar in Gaul DLC out now

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Close-up combat: Rome II: Caesar in Gaul DLC out now

There’s a bit in the trailer for Rome II’s new campaign DLC where the camera swoops low above the trees, like one of Peter Jackson’s helicopters might. As it speeds along the coast, the view quickly begins to lift and - oh Christ, it’s the map. It’s the new strategic map. This game is gorgeous, and you can read more about it in our Total War: Rome 2 review.

It’s a map that takes in future France, rather than the entirety of Europe and its environs - and that narrower, deeper perspective is reflected throughout Creative Assembly’s approach to Caesar's Got Gall. Which is out, by the way.

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Leaky Xenomorphs: Alien Isolation concept art appears

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Leaky Xenomorphs: Alien Isolation concept art appears

The Alien franchise needs a win. Most recently we've had the convoluted Prometheus and Aliens: Colonial Marines, which is as bad as anything can be. There are a lot of hopes riding on Creative Assembly's enigmatic Alien: Isolation, and while we still don't know much about it, we can now gawp at some concept art. 

Posted on NeoGAF, we get a glimpse of possible protagonist Amanda Ripley, daughter of ultimate bad ass Ellen Ripley, and a grim, imposing space station that's surely riddled with foul, acid-dripping beasties. Take a look below.

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Come Caesar these screenshots of Total War: Rome II's Gallic campaign

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Come Caesar these screenshots of Total War: Rome II's Gallic campaign

The draw of Creative Assembly’s newly announced Caesar in Gaul campaign is that it’s a small-scale affair - the business of one country over less than a decade. But the veteran Total War developers know better than to extend that approach to the battlefields themselves, which are crammed full of thousands of woad warriors and men in sandals. Check them out.

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Creative Assembly field Total War: Rome II's first standalone expansion pack: Caesar in Gaul

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Creative Assembly field Total War: Rome II's first standalone expansion pack: Caesar in Gaul

When in Rome, goes the saying. That is, one should work to accept and enjoy others’ norms when in their homes. It’s espoused as a universally-applicable idea, but it turns out the Romans didn’t employ the same logic elsewhere. When in Gaul, for instance, Caesar thought it perfectly reasonable to wage war in the name of profit, the support of Rome’s public, and the ire of its senators.

I suppose we can mull over the hypocrisy of the budding dictator while we conduct his armies and raze future France to the ground. Caesar’s campaign is to be the subject of Rome II’s first expansion pack, which has come a long way since our Total War: Rome 2 review.

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Total War: Rome II coming to SteamOS "early next year", Steam Controller support to follow

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Total War: Rome II coming to SteamOS "early next year", Steam Controller support to follow

This time last month, Total War brand director Rob Bartholomew told us that he was “confident" that Creative Assembly could pull together a SteamOS port for Rome II. Last night he upgraded his studio’s readiness level to DEFCON “very confident", and issued a note to Valve’s OS team instructing them to make the news public knowledge.

There will be a version of Rome II on SteamOS - and it’ll likely be ready before most of the Steam Machines are.

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Total War: Rome II sells more than 800,000 copies in a month

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Total War: Rome II sells more than 800,000 copies in a month

Sega and Creative Assembly are sitting pretty right now. Despite its buggy launch, Total War: Rome II has gone on to sell more than 800,000 copies in its first month. It means Creative Assembly will be able to update their library to include books covering periods of history they’ve not already made into games.

Expect a Total War: Tudor announcement in the coming months.

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Rome 2 DLC spills gallons of blood and severs a legion of heads for Halloween

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Rome 2 DLC spills gallons of blood and severs a legion of heads for Halloween

Hooray for Halloween, the night where we get to be as bloodthirsty as we want without being reported to the police as a person of suspicious nature. The Creative Assembly are embracing the evening too by bringing a new DLC pack to Rome 2 that drenches it with the crimson liquid. Forget those less-than-dramatic death animations and bring on mass decapitation. 

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Total War: Rome II reinforced by three (temporarily) free new playable factions

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Total War: Rome II reinforced by three (temporarily) free new playable factions

Creative Assembly are rapidly becoming the model for post-release support. Rome II’s iffy launch version, in which the gears were all too often visible through the cracks in its elaborate conflict fantasy, recedes in the memory. Comprehensive weekly patches are already seeing to that - as well as gestures like this one.

The developers promised both free and paid-for DLC in the months before Christmas, and listed the sizeable Nomadic Tribes Culture Pack among the stuff to shell out for - but have since decreed it’ll be free on Steam for the next week after all.

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Creative Assembly's Alien: Isolation is a BioShock-inspired FPS, apparently

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Creative Assembly's Alien: Isolation is a BioShock-inspired FPS, apparently

Creative Assembly’s take on the Alien franchise may have been superseded in the public eye by Rome II and a possible Warhammer: Total War, but it never stopped being a going concern at the Sussex studio.

While the sparse, claustrophobic horror Alien is known for still reads like an ill fit for Creative Assembly’s own stock in trade - widescreen, open-air glory hunting - they’ve reportedly clocked that and built something entirely uncharacteristic: an FPS in the vein of BioShock and Dishonored.

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Rome 2: Total War patch brings new faction, a fix list as long as your spear and Steam Workshop support

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Rome 2: Total War patch brings new faction, a fix list as long as your spear and Steam Workshop support

The Creative Assembly have been busy. Not only have they produced a patch that addresses a few lingering niggles with the performance of Rome 2, they’ve also bolstered it with a whole new faction and added support for the Steam Workshop. It’s all here in one big download, which should be already dribbling down your copper cables right now if you own the game and have Steam open.

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Creative Assembly on patching Rome II: "We’re achieving in weeks what, on previous projects, took months"

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Creative Assembly on patching Rome II: "We’re achieving in weeks what, on previous projects, took months"

Total War: Rome II is getting better - and not even ‘buy in the Steam Christmas Sale’ better. If the patch notes of the recent flurry of weekly updates are anything to go by, it’s already significantly closer to being the game players had hoped it would be.

Tomorrow’s patch will bring new, free DLC to the game and Creative Assembly’s “next major step towards mod support". Beyond that, the Total War series will enjoy a path of post-release betterment it never has before, which is great when you read our Total War: Rome 2 review.

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Total War: Rome II is patched for a fourth time, starts to look like a lecturer’s jacket

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Total War: Rome II is patched for a fourth time, starts to look like a lecturer’s jacket

Like the Romans, Creative Assembly have always built roads - poker-straight paths to conquest and good times. But they looked up from bricking their latest at the start of September to find that they’d made some minor errors in their calculations which, over miles, had led them off course. They hadn’t collided with any rivers, or forests, or mountains - but the road’s would-be walkers had been waiting to march down it for years, and demanded perfection.

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Creative Assembly "confident" that Total War: Rome II SteamOS port is possible

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Creative Assembly "confident" that Total War: Rome II SteamOS port is possible

Creative Assembly visited Valve recently and were pleased to discover that Rome II and the Steam Controller got on like oddly fresh-faced old friends. A SteamOS-native version of the game seems like the next step on the developer’s march to living room conquest, and brand director Rob Bartholomew told PCGamesN that they’re “confident" they can pull one off.

“There’s absolutely no reason why not."

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Creative Assembly developers make the case for Total War: Arena

Total War: Arena

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Total War: Rome 2 eyes-on

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