A Message from Total War’s Leadership Team
Dear Total War fans,
I’m Roger Collum, Vice President at Creative Assembly, and writing on behalf of our Total War leadership team.
It has been a difficult few months, and we recognize that we have made mistakes when it comes to our relationship with you all. It’s been a constant conversation internally on how we can get back to solid ground. What’s clear is that it won’t be easy and that it will take time and effort.
We see the confusion, the frustration, and the distrust of us across the community and honestly, it breaks our hearts. We make games to bring you joy, to inspire a love of history, of fantasy, and strategy games. Total War is our everything, we care about it as deeply as you. Recently, it’s clear that we have failed to demonstrate that in our actions.
We are sorry.
We cannot fix our issues overnight, but we will work towards a more transparent, and consistent relationship with you all.
Total War is a big and complex ship to steer, built on decades of knowledge, passion and technology. The slow and steady pace we’ve taken up till now has benefited us in the past, but today we see the need to react faster to help address the challenges that are ahead of us.
So, let’s talk about those challenges, and what you can expect from both Total War: WARHAMMER III, and Total War: PHARAOH going forward.
Total War: WARHAMMER III
We have listened to your feedback on Shadows of Change and we know that we failed to meet your expectations of what a DLC should be. To address that, we are enhancing our offer for everyone who purchased Shadows of Change with more content and a commitment to ensuring that we better meet your expectations going forward.
We’re targeting a major update to Shadows of Change which will arrive free for everyone who owns it. We have the goal of releasing this update in February 2024, at which point it will become part of the package for everyone who buys it in the future.
That launch date is our ambition, but this isn’t concrete. It may move, and as soon as those plans are finalised, we’ll let you know and we’ll keep you in the know as we get closer to its release.
When we return in the new year, you’ll hear directly from Game Director Richard Aldridge and the WARHAMMER III team who will start to talk to you about what this expansion to Shadows of Change will look like.
Making this right is important to us, and to do this properly, Thrones of Decay will move out of its intended release window of Winter 2023. We’re looking to launch this DLC in April 2024.
We also have more work to do on Thrones of Decay to make sure that we don’t repeat our past mistakes, and to give you the amount of content that you rightly expect from us at these price points. Once we’ve launched our free update to Shadows of Change, we’ll talk more about what this next DLC will offer and how it will add to your experiences of WARHAMMER III. We’ll make sure that you know exactly what’s coming in Thrones of Decay before pre-orders are available, and make sure that you have full transparency around the content before you see ‘Buy Now’ buttons.
After Thrones of Decay releases, we’ll reveal what the next series of content for WARHAMMER III looks like. Our work on this beloved series isn’t finished yet.
Since 4.0 went live, we’ve changed up how we approach making updates to the game, releasing 10 hotfixes, as well as Patch 4.1, all targeting issues that we’ve seen emerging after each subsequent update, as well as introducing new features like Skill Point resets that help balance and improve the core experience of playing the game.
It’s an increase in the number of game updates that we’d usually release, and we want to keep this cadence of releases going forward. We can’t commit to a fixed number of updates each month, as we’ll ultimately release these based on the content that we’re building, and the issues we see you raising that need our attention. However, over these last few months, we’ve released a game update roughly every two weeks and where we can, we’d like to stick to that through 2024.
Total War: PHARAOH
We want to make you aware of a decision that we’ve made internally surrounding the game, and what to expect with the DLC that we’ve been working on. There’s some important information here that affects all owners of the game so please read through this part carefully.
In the next few days, all current owners of Total War: PHARAOH will see that Steam has processed a partial refund to you, and that some funds have been added to your Steam Wallet. This is happening because we have lowered the price of the game to a new RRP of $39.99/€39.99/£29.99. (Find out more about this process here)
We don’t think it’s fair that our fans, who put their trust in us on PHARAOH, should in any way feel disadvantaged for buying the game at the previous price. We’ve also removed the higher priced editions of the game, the Deluxe Edition, and Dynasty Edition. There’s now only one edition of the game available for purchase.
Our next update, and what was originally our first paid DLC will release early in 2024 as a free update for everyone who owns the game. We’ll have plenty to show you about this now free addition to PHARAOH in the new year.
We have now begun the process of reassessing what comes next for PHARAOH, and while we don’t have all the answers today, we want to make it clear to you that we’re not closing the door on other, more ambitious updates to the game in the future. We’ve still got big plans, but we want to be honest with you in saying that we need to spend more time with them before putting them out on show.
Whilst we have removed the Dynasty Edition of the game from our lineup and have internally changed up our plans for what we go on to do next, we’ll still be releasing incremental updates to the game that help to bring fixes and changes to the core experience along the way. One plan that we’ve always had since the early stages of development on PHARAOH is to expand the size of our campaign map as a free update, and to introduce even more factions and cultures to the game. We’ll have more to say, and to show, what that looks like in the new year after our next update for PHARAOH releases.
We’re very proud of our teammates, and grateful to all the players who picked up PHARAOH. To those players, the team are forever reading all your comments and feedback, with the goal of bringing you future fixes and changes that catch us up on the things that we’ve missed.
Before we sign off from today’s blog, we’re going to talk about how we can include more of your voices in what we do. We want to expose more of what we do behind the scenes.
Our goal is to invest more in our player channels moving forward, introducing more voices from the studio who can speak to you directly about their work and how that relates to what you want from our titles, and most importantly to keep listening to your feedback. This will all be a work in progress, so do bear with us, but this is our direction moving forward.
We again apologise for the missteps we’ve made. The mistakes of Total War are a shared responsibility by all the leaders of the franchise, and while it may not seem like it at times, we are listening. We really hope that the extra love we’re pouring into WARHAMMER III DLC, our several recent updates, and the changes for PHARAOH show our heartfelt commitment to these games and to you.
We know we have a lot of work to do, and that this one letter doesn’t amount to any proof of the future. You’ll need to see the change before you believe it. You will hear from us again on the changes coming to Shadows of Change, and on what to expect for PHARAOH when we return from the holidays, and you’ll continue to hear from us on the Total War leadership team once we’ve settled back into the flow of the new year and we’ll keep bringing you more news on where we’re at.
Where we make mistakes in this next part of our journey, we’ll work hard to act faster to address them, to iterate whilst we learn from those moments, and to always be taking steps in the right directions. We hope that you can find patience for us as we find our footing again, and we hope in the coming months we can prove to you with actions along with words.
We hope you all enjoy a peaceful holiday. Thank you for being with us in 2023, for sharing with us in your love of Total War. We’ll see you in 2024.
Roger, and the Total War leadership team
Rich Aldridge, Stefan Aluttis, Rob Bartholomew, Chris Budd, Roger Collum, Georgi Dinchev, Janos Gaspar, Maya Georgieva, Roberto Geroli, Mark Green, Kevin McDowell, Attila Mohacsi, Ian Roxburgh, Mark Sutherns, Pawel Wojs.