The controversy started after a recent update, when some users complained that the rate at which the game was generating too many female generals for their armies.
The response from developer Creative Assembly was firm: “We have no plans to patch this out or remove this feature from the game.”
Creative Assembly also clarified on Tuesday that the actual spawn rate for female generals is 10% to 15% for some of the factions. The exceptions being “the Greek states, Rome, Carthage, and some eastern factions, which have a 0% chance.”
The factions which are an exception to the 10% to 15% rate are due to “cultural differences during the time the game is set.”
The developer also noted that spawn rates can be affected by marriage options due to the Family Tree feature.
This response from the developer is despite the game getting review-bombed on Steam, meaning it has received a sudden insurgence of negative reviews, despite the fact that the game’s release date was in 2013.
On the Steam page for “Total War: Rome II,” negative reviews spiked starting on Monday. Angry users gave the game negative reviews with comments like “Rome SJW Edition,” and “I play a game to escape from radical political agenda’s [sic], not embrace them. Bad move. Make it optional.”
Community content editor Ella McConnell responded to some of the backlash via the Steam forums in August.
“‘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,” McConnell wrote. “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.”
This comment, among others, brought McConnell under fire from some users unhappy with her response. Some negative Steam reviews even mention McConnell by name.
On the historical authenticity, McConnell wrote that “there are many aspects of the games that aren’t as they were in history, and for a variety of different reasons,” in a Sept. 6 post. “Whether you get female generals or not is the luck of the draw, but if it bothers you (and as previous posters have pointed out) mods exist to reduce the likelihood of you getting female generals, or indeed remove them entirely.”
This isn’t the first time female characters in games have riled up some in the gaming community. Back in May, women featured in a “Battlefield V” trailer had some crying historical inaccuracy at EA. DICE general manager Oskar Gabrielson fired back with a firm statement that “Player choice and female playable characters are here to stay.”