Yesterday Creative Assembly announced that expansion and patch support for Total War: Three Kingdoms would cease, two years (and a week) since release. In its place, a new game that’s also based off the iconic Romance of the Three Kingdoms book is being created, but what form this will take is not clear.
While this isn’t as unprecedented as it seems, it certainly took us – and the Total War community at large – a bit by surprise. We’ve seen a lot of confusion and disappointment over the decision, something that hasn’t been helped by the slightly vague dev diary video released yesterday.
Looking at Reddit alone, there are several threads you can read where Total War fans have been voicing their concerns. On Steam, Total War: Three Kingdoms has received nearly 1,500 negative reviews over the past 24 hours alone. One main point of contention is the expectation that a future Three Kingdoms DLC would have expanded the northern areas of the map to include the ‘northern tribes’, in a similar way to how the Nanman were introduced into the strategy game via the Furious Wild expansion.
Creative Assembly has hinted in the past that the north is an area it would like to expand on, but now it seems this is no longer true. A request for comment from the studio specifically on this issue was declined.
Confusion over what the studio is actually saying with regards to this decision has also since been clarified by members of Total War’s community team. Creative Assembly’s lead community and social media manager Grace Carroll confirmed on the Total War subreddit that Three Kingdoms would not be following the Total War: Warhammer model.
There wasn’t much else she could say, as elsewhere Carroll stated that the new game probably wouldn’t be discussed in detail until next year. She did generally confirm though that the studio wanted to go in a “different direction” with the Romance of the Three Kingdoms subject matter, which is why a new standalone game is being developed instead.
If you look back at the history of support for Total War games across the last decade, you tend to see a concentration of expansions and patches for the two years following launch. Total War: Warhammer 1 was replaced by Warhammer 2 roughly two years later, and Total War: Atilla stopped getting support about a year after launch.
But on the flipside, you have games like Warhammer 2, which by the time it’s eventually replaced by Warhammer 3 will have enjoyed a (roughly) four-year run. Total War: Rome 2 got more DLC three years after DLC stopped originally, and was being supported five years after release.
Total War: Three Kingdoms ended up with six premium add-ons (seven if you count the blood pack), and it seems there was a plan for more. Plans change, but we can’t help but wonder if something hasn’t gone according to plan for the studio to be so willing to shut the doors this soon.
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All we can do in the meantime is wait for further news. The team’s final act with Three Kingdoms (so far) is to finally move Mount Song to its rightful location with the patch 1.7.1. general release.