Total War: Rome II has been the target of a review-bombing campaign on Steam, due to players believing that women are appearing as generals more often than is historically accurate.

As PC Gamer reports, although a thread regarding the presence of female generals was posted in march, the problem began when a user in that thread posted in an image in mid-August wherein five of the eight generals at their disposal in a battle were women. Some believed the July Ancestral Update for the game increased the chances of women becoming generals, which they believed made the game less historically accurate. As the thread devolved into bitter arguments about the presence of female generals and the roles they play in combat in general, a community manager for developer Creative Assembly eventually intervened. “This thread is a mess so I’m locking it,” the manager said. “As has been said previously: 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.”

Since then, users who believe a recent update has increased the likelihood of women taking on the role of generals, and that this is an attempt by developer Creative Assembly to inject the game with a feminist ideology antithetical to historical accuracy have begun to leave negative reviews of the game en masse, causing the game’s current “Recent Reviews” section to be downgraded to “Mostly Negative” – something you typically see when a recent update breaks or ruins a game.

Although the thread was locked as early as a month ago, the controversy has only picked up steam until now, and Creative Assembly today issued a statement regarding the matter. “There have been no changes to the recruitable female general spawn rates,” the statement reads. “But with the addition of the family tree feature and the new gameplay options it brings, playable factions may gain more female family members via marriage… Female characters appear throughout the game, but have between a 10 and 15 percent chance of appearing as recruitable generals for some of the playable factions.”

“We have no plans to patch this out or remove this feature from the game.”

[Source: Steam Forums via PC Gamer]


Review-bombing can be a scary tactic for developers to see happen to their games, but I’m happy to see Creative Assembly stick to their guns on this and stand by their personnel, since it doesn’t look like the complaints players had were all that valid in the face of raw data. I could easily see a company choosing to unjustly fire an employee in an effort to placate their audience. Long-term, I’m also curious to see if Valve ever takes notice of how its user-review feature tends to lends itself to activist campaigns like this. Is this an exploit or the feature working as intended?

Creative Assembly Issues Statement On Total War: Rome II’s Recent Controversy Over Female Generals