The sequel to the critically-acclaimed Rome: Total War, Total War: Rome 2 has seen a backlash from trolls over a feature that allows female generals to command the player’s armies.
Now, see, this was always going to become an issue. Ever since Doom, Mortal Kombat and the like caused controversy way back in the day, video games have been the subject of strict scrutiny. Critics of gaming point to violence in the medium as the cause of all sorts of ills. There’s a lot more going on beyond the surface, too.
If you think that ‘playing games’ sounds like a harmless, fun pastime, you haven’t seen the average video game message board, or played in the average online session. Gamers can have some very… forthright opinions, shall we say, as the creators of Total War: Rome 2 have discovered.
Fans of much acclaimed 2004 strategy title Rome: Total War will remember how the campaign plays out. In forging your own great empire, your family members were crucial. They were the governors of your towns and cities, your generals, your diplomats and assassins. They were also, notably, male. In a recent update, the game added female playable characters, and all kinds of mixed feelings were had on that one.
As we await the first episodes from the first woman to play the title role in Doctor Who, a similar sort of situation has arisen here. As Polygon reports, the backlash has been quite severe from some players, who feel incensed that they’re being forced to use female characters.
The developers’ response was swift and logical:
The ‘spawn rate,’ as it were, of female characters is very low, and only applicable within the factions that support such, such as Egypt and Kush. Notably, no one seems too upset that Athens and Sparta are playable factions in the game, despite not being relevant in the period the game takes place in.
Some of the trolls are suggesting that the backlash is ACTUALLY over a forum user being banned, though that user was actually banned for disrupting the forums with hurtful language.
Nevertheless, these sorts of issues are rife in the industry, and it’s bold of the team not to surrender to the pressure (which has seen the game given a malicious review-panning over on Steam).
After all, even the mighty Sony were forced to do a dramatic flip-flop and allow Fortnite crossplay after the outcry that their denial caused. Man was that long overdue.