When our Fraser played Total War: Rome 2 for review, he found it plodding in pace, anaemic of AI, “more Varro than Caesar”. But he was at least lucky enough not to be one of the 2% reporting in-game technical problems to Creative Assembly. Rome II, by some accounts, is running very poorly indeed.
Creative director Mike Simpson has taken to the Total War forums to make clear that 2% is “2% too many” – and that while CA’s code team works to quash every last bug, the design department are already looking to “add further options and rebalance aspects of the game”.
Simpson began by acknowledging that a section of Rome II’s would-be playerbase is having an “extremely annoying and frustrating time” of it, but assured players that his team was “working around the clock” to fix not only issues with the game, but issues with the patch that was sent in to fix them on Friday.
“There will be another next week and every week after that till the problems are gone,” wrote Simpson.
“At the moment it may seem that the changes are slight, but they aren’t the only ones we are working on currently and bigger changes are happening now for future patches. If you are having a problem, it is totally unacceptable and a big deal for us, please know that we are spending all our dev effort on fixing outstanding issues.”
CA have set up a 24-hour response team to tackle the problems raised in their support forums – which also list solutions to common hardware issues experienced by the 2%.
What’s more, Simpson promised that the developers would “look at the way in which [we] launch games in the future”.
“I know this is scant comfort to you if you have a set-up that is not performing well, but we do intend to fix your specific problem – whoever you are and whatever it is – as soon as we can,” he pledged.
“Rome II is a big and complex game and, especially on PC, we are always conscious of the wide variety of different combinations of hardware out there and, while we do test extensively before launch, it is clear that we have failed some of you.”
That still leaves the more widespread, less tangible problems with the games mechanics: the concerns about balance and AI behaviour that Simpson says CA “do want to hear about”.
“As mentioned before launch we absolutely intend to support Rome II post-release with plenty of content, further development and comprehensive balancing throughout – and no I’m not thinking of DLC you have to pay for,” he said.
“We have already planned for some very interesting stuff and we wanted to do that with advice from the community.”
A few months down the road marched by CA’s army of coders, I’m hopeful that Rome II will be everything we thought it might be. For now, though, it’s a bit of a mess. Are you one of the unfortunate 2%?