Creative Assembly lead designer says “60 to 70 percent [of games] are not good enough”, need to forefront design over tech


“When you look at the market, probably 20 to 30 per cent of the games are confident, and maybe 60 to 70 per cent are not good enough,” Total War Battles: Shogun lead designer Renaud Charpentier told Edge.

“Usually, they run. Most of them don’t crash – most are competent technically. Most of them look okay or even good, but they play like shit.”

Design, rather than tech or art, has to drive importantdecisions made during development, says Charpentier: “We can’t keep releasing games that anyone can tell are not interesting to play after 30 minutes when 20 or 30 people spent two years working on them. It doesn’t make any sense.”

For Creative Assembly, iteration and early prototyping is key. “It’s not about writing a 100-page document of design that is totally useless, no one will read and will be out of date by the time they do. It’s about crafting the game.

“For that you need tech that is ready. I’ve [faced this problem] in previous teams, where I would have wanted to prototype, but the engineer tells you the animation system for combat won’t be ready in four months. What do you do? You’re blocked. You can’t be absolutely sure that certain timings will work, certain controls.”

Total War Battles: Shogun launched on Steam only last week. Let us know if you’ve had a tinker – does it stand up to Charpentier’s own high standards?