The internet has done it again: a six-month-old patch to Total War: Rome II has resulted in the game getting review bombed over on Steam. At the time of writing it’s had around a thousand additional negative reviews added to its store page in the past few days.
Ah, but why? Well, back in March Creative Assembly patched the game and brought with it the addition of female leader units – who can operate as generals for your armies. There’s more to it, but really that’s what’s happened to stir up the non-controversy.
As pointed out by Mark Brown of Game Maker’s Toolkit fame, the patch was picked up on months later by OneAngryGamer, a pro-Gamergate site, and soon after the Daily Stormer, which is literally a white supremacist site.
Moving on from that uninteresting corner of the internet, a lot of focus was placed on Creative Assembly’s community content editor Ella McConnell, who - tasked with putting out fires left and right - posted the following as part of a Steam thread back in August:
“Firstly, I'll say it again: 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. People saying they won't buy the game because there are too many women in it is fine with us - if that's their reason, we'd rather they didn't anyway.”
Safe to say, this did not lead to a good faith set of protest reviews. But rather than bow to this entirely false narrative stoked by some of the internet’s seediest hovels, Creative Assembly instead released the following statement:
And that’s about that for today’s completely fake drama.