Blood Money: Rome II Gets Paid Blood And Gore DLC

By Nathan Grayson on November 1st, 2013 at 12:00 pm.

You cannot cut that which already has a NECK MADE OF BLOOD.

Blood! You and I – and all people, really – are full of it! If you cut us, we will dribble out red stuff until we are naught but pale, crumbling husks. That, more often than not, is how blood works. Total War: Rome II, however, begs to differ. First it implicitly argued that blood doesn’t exist at all, but now it’s had a change of heart and pumped its soldiers full of so much plasma that the slightest pin prick will make them pop like balloons full of cherry pie. It’s a, er, fun option, but there’s just one problem. The aptly titled “Blood and Gore” DLC? It costs money. Not a lot, but this is kind of an inconsequential feature – not so many clippity clopping steps removed from horse armor. And in light of Rome II’s list of rather glaring issues, this seems like kind of an odd time to charge for a glorified blood slider option.

It is, at least, a fairly robust blood slider. For $3/£2 you get the following:

  • New blood-spattered front end
  • Graphics option for turning on/off blood
  • Blood VFX on arrow/pilum/javelin impacts
  • Blood VFX on rock/stone impacts
  • Blood VFX on death animations
  • Blood shader on death animations and attackers
  • Decapitation on selected death animations
  • Dismemberment on selected death animations
  • Blood decals on terrain
  • Sound effects for all blood animations

The short version? Rome II now has bloody blood that bloods bloodily. Well, if you pay the mighty blood-o-mancers over at Creative Assembly and Sega, anyway.

Now, this DLC pack feels kind of like a slap in the face given the historical strategy’s rather troubled, er, history, but it’s probably not as bad as it could be. For one, I doubt the creation of these blood effects detracted from dev time on more important features like bug fixes, balances, and AI. Different teams work on different aspects of the game, and I don’t imagine artists have much to do at this point. Often, developers greenlight work on quick-and-dirty DLC as soon as the main game is out the gate in order to keep certain teams (art, for instance) from getting laid off altogether. It’s messy business, but there is at least rhyme and reason to it.

That, however, is speculation on my part, and I still don’t think a few cascading dollops of bodily fluid are worth multiple moneybucks. Blood on/off is a feature that’s included in many violence-heavy games, so paying extra for it here just feels weird. It’s available now if you want it, but I think I’ll just keep my nickels and dimes to myself for now.

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82 Comments »

Top comments

  1. Premium User Badge

    The Sombrero Kid says:

    CONJECTURE:
    Actually no, this system is pretty code intensive and will have taken time away from fixing bugs, the stated reason for it’s lack of inclusion in the main game is that it’d raise the age rating to 18, which doesn’t seem to require they charge for it.

  1. Premium User Badge

    DarkLiberator says:

    The new decapitation animations are lovely, other then that, for 3 bucks, seems way overpriced. Even Shogun 2′s was only a dollar.

    • Baines says:

      Shogun 2′s was $1.60. Rome 2 is still $3, so they pretty much doubled the price, most likely simply because they knew that they could get away with it.

      It also sounds like Creative Assembly is still trying to use the game rating as justification for selling blood as DLC, just as they did with Shogun 2. From a Eurogamer article: “As the main game is rated for a teen or 16 audience, and we don’t want to raise that requirement for a lot of our fans who are that age, Blood & Gore has always been intended to be a separate additional product and is age rated appropriately.

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  2. Premium User Badge

    The Sombrero Kid says:

    CONJECTURE:
    Actually no, this system is pretty code intensive and will have taken time away from fixing bugs, the stated reason for it’s lack of inclusion in the main game is that it’d raise the age rating to 18, which doesn’t seem to require they charge for it.

    • Leb says:

      According to their PR dude on FB, if it was free it would change the rating. Although, if it was really a “sorry we have to charge you for legal reasons!” scenario, you’d think they’d put a penny price tag on it or something.

      But whatever. I loaded up the game for a first time in a while last night, bought the blood pack, loaded up a bunch of interesting mods, and I have to say. With mods this is starting to turn out to be the game I wanted to play

      • TechnicalBen says:

        CC and Visa companies charge. £3 is about right for the min fee on a bulk processing surcharge (bigger bulk purchases can get smaller fees, hence McDs eventually going to CC, at a guess anyhow).

    • zaphod42 says:

      which doesn’t seem to require they charge for it.

      Do you remember the “Hot Coffee” fiasco? You can’t simply lock away content. Even though you had to download hacks to get “hot coffee” to work in san andreas, they still ended up getting sued and the game’s rating got changed and the games got pulled from the shelves and replaced with new ones. The whole thing was a gigantic clusterfuck and I can understand wanting to steer well clear of that and not exactly push things.

      • Leb says:

        but hot-coffee was preloaded.. this isn’t. You buy it and it downloads, hence, Downloadable Content

    • Premium User Badge

      Okami says:

      I’m pretty pissed at CA, because I’m one the people who suffers from the infamous UI freezes while loading battle screen bug which still hasn’t been fixed and makes the game effectively unplayable for me.

      That being said: This blodd DLC doesn’t in any way take up resources they need for fixing the more severe bugs people are complaining about. All you need for that are FX and technical artists. Maybe one coder for support.

  3. Premium User Badge

    Keymonk says:

    How is this surprising in any way? The same was out for Shogun 2, though it was cheaper as mentioned before. The great thing is that it’s not really a feature that’s in any way essential at all, just an optional purchase from those who like that sorta thing.

  4. richlamp says:

    I don’t think I’ll be coughing up for this.

    • Kollega says:

      And rightfully so – the practice of selling decapitations as DLC just feels parasitic.

      • zaphod42 says:

        Its actually a way to get around legal issues. If they saw this as real DLC, it’d be at least $5 or $10, but they know its just a tiny feature. Sadly law in some international areas required them to gate the content behind DLC.

        • ScubaMonster says:

          If that’s all it is then, there’s no reason to double the price from Shogun 2′s blood DLC.

        • JadedPrimate says:

          Yeah, I don’t buy that. Especially considering they managed to give away the last DLC for free for a while.

          It’s just a way to make some easy money. And I am sure no one would buy it if they priced it at 10 euro, so they go for the maximum that they think most would buy it for.

    • Syra says:

      Their pricing strategies sure are cutting.

    • Drake Sigar says:

      This free menu option in every game being peddled as DLC is awful. It costs an arm and a leg!

    • The Random One says:

      It’s bloody awful. These people belong in a cell.

  5. Johndoh says:

    If I recall the reason they charged money for it and made it a separate DLC was so it could be included in the game without

    A) Changing the rating, I think adding the gore brings it up a notch for ESRB/PEGI and
    B) Sell it in some countries with stricter laws about this stuff such as Germany and maybe one other (don’t really remember).

    Keeping it as a DLC instead of a part of the game allows them to regard it as separate content and simply not sell it in those countries.

    • Fanbuoy says:

      Yep, they’re just trying to avoid the whole Saints Row IV bum buster debacle.

      EDIT: Also, how does the whole “top comment” system work? I can’t see an up-vote button, so are they chosen by admins or what?

      • Premium User Badge

        The Sombrero Kid says:

        I’m feeling self conscious about my comment. My assertion that it requires code is conjecture & I worded it like a fact :(

        • SanguineAngel says:

          Well, either the length of time it’s take to release the pack is political or they must have taken some time to develop it/finish so your comment seems reasonable to me if that helps.

          I also wonder if it needs to be paid DLC, rather than free, in order to create a meaningful barrier to entry for their rating in some regions

      • SuicideKing says:

        I think the admins/writers choose those, yes.

    • Colej_uk says:

      They could release it as free DLC though right? Or if it’s a pricing technicality then charge a penny.

      Charging for it seems like a bit of a money grab.

      • TechnicalBen says:

        Paid for assumes a check for age, as you must be 18 to buy in the online store (AFAIK). Or perhaps they might consider free DLC as “an update of the existing game”. No idea though, would need to ask PEGI, the legal department and the tea leaves.

  6. Squirly says:

    They should be giving this as free with the next patch, seeing as it’s not actually a lot of new content and they kinda screwed the pooch with this game’s state at release. This will be remembered as one of the worse DLCs. Even with it being relatively cheap.

    • DougyM says:

      They cant do that though because releasing a freely available update that increases a games gore or violence significantly over the base product would result in the game being re-rated to a higher age rating which could see it lose sales and or face bans in other countries for its new content.

      They have to make it paid in order to protect the games rating since kids would still need to get their parents credit cards or online banking to purchase the DLC.

      If you could just add gore after a games release then every game under the sun would just release a gore free version then patch the gore back in on day 1 in order to avoid Mature ratings.

      Its actually really disappointing to see RPS neglect to mention this considering the TW community has been talking heavily about this very subject ever since the Blood DLC for Shogun 2 was released and especially so in the last few weeks with Rome 2′s being announced.

      • Premium User Badge

        FriendlyFire says:

        If that were actually the case the DLC could’ve been released at a token price, just enough not to cost them anything. It’s more expensive than the Shogun 2 DLC, instead.

        Sorry but that answer doesn’t really fly in that context. They’re obviously looking to make money with it.

        • SanguineAngel says:

          THAT presumes CA would want to circumvent the ruling. Perhaps they are complying fully. Perhaps they also think it is a good idea to ensure that blood and gore is meaningfully walled off from children rather than a token gesture to appease the legalities whilst cosying up to their fan base with knowing winks.

          • Lusketrollet says:

            Perhaps they also think it is a good idea to ensure that blood and gore is meaningfully walled off from children rather than a token gesture to appease the legalities whilst cosying up to their fan base with knowing winks.

            No, and no.

            For all CA’s numerous, numerous, unforgivable faults, they at least do not have a reputation of being the “Think of the children!” moral guardians you so sorely seem to wish they were, Sanguine.

          • SanguineAngel says:

            Hrm, was I saying that? Maybe I just meant that rather than jumping to conclusions about CA’s motivations that is it possible and reasonable to consider the idea that whoever made this decision thought the requirement was actually sensible rather than just a tiresome bit of red tape to be circumvented, or at the very least should be treated as such

        • DougyM says:

          Care to point out the part in which i said they are not doing it for money?

          I said that legally they cannot release it for free or they would have their games rating changed.

          Wanting to make a profit from it at the same time does not invalidate the original point.

  7. Kollega says:

    DUUUUUUUUDEEEEEEE! This DLC is like, the BEST THING EVAAAAAAR! I wish this game didn’t have any of those stoopid “campaigns” or “skirmishes” – it would just have a guy with a HUGE SWORD STABBING DUDES! We could call it “BLOODBLADE”! YEAH!

    • Premium User Badge

      RedViv says:

      BLOODBLADE
      SOLDIER OF DEATH’S LEGION

      ORDER NOW FOR SPECIAL FOIL HOLO TRADING CARD IN ISSUE 0 PART 2!!!

    • Low Life says:

      You sure that’s a good name? I’d like something a bit simpler, like… Ryse? That sounds good. Ryse. But Ryse alone might be a bit confusing, so we could also use a subtitle. It’s about a Roman dude stabbing people, so maybe… Man of Rome? No, that sounds silly – Son of Rome?

      Ryse: Son of Rome? I think that would be a good name for a game about a Roman soldier stabbing people with a huge sword.

      • BLACKOUT-MK2 says:

        Why stop there? In this day and age doesn’t it make more sense to have an exclusive? Hmm…How about we make it only available for the PC-nonono wait, the Xbox One?

      • Kollega says:

        “Ryse: Son of Rome” does sound pretty nineties, and also less stupid than “Bloodblade”. So yes, it would probably work for a game about a Roman soldier stabbin’ dudes with a huge sword.

  8. Syra says:

    I was skeptical about this DLC but my buddy got it and wouldn’t shut up about it so I tried it out, and blimey it adds quite a lot of feels to the battle. Things get messy and gorey real quick. That’s a good thing! Also the patch accompanying it (for everyone) has lots of unique shouts from all the units and more battle noises which is cool :D

    • razgon says:

      You *do* realize Samsung just got sued for using phoney posters, right?

      • SanguineAngel says:

        Cynic ;-)

      • Leb says:

        He enjoyed the content that is in the game, that makes him a phony poster?

        I mean I realize we got a lot of skeptics hear in RPS… but is it against the law to like something?

      • Syra says:

        Oh no you saw through me and my corporate agenda of enjoying games =(

      • Reefpirate says:

        Great… When do they start suing people from rival companies who go around being overly negative about competitor’s games?

  9. Premium User Badge

    distantlurker says:

    Neeeeeeiiiiiigggghhhhhhhhhhh!

  10. dmastri says:

    Game is garbage. I understand not wanting to be re-rated and the fact that this is paid blood doesn’t bother me… because this game is not worth playing. Definitely my final CA purchase. Hopefully their next game flounders too and they go under so the total war IP can be sold to someone capable.

    • NoseBagUK says:

      Like who? I know the AI can be a bit dodgy, but the fact remains that no other developer has come close to CA for this type of game

      • dmastri says:

        A bit dodgy? The AI is horrendous. After 12 years of reskinning the same game you’d think there’d be some modicum of progress. We can’t overlook the fact that they’ve been iterating the same game for all these years and yet somehow the AI is moving laterally at best and backwards at worst.

        But that’s not even the worst of it. This game is full of glaringly bad design decisions. Unit formations are borked. Combat is mosh pit melee. Generals are completely throwaway and forgetable. Siege equipment i useless since all units carry magic torches that burn down any gate. Family tree is out for some obtuse half baked political system that is as pointless as it is confusing. 1 turn per year means map movement of armies and navies is a joke and everything dies before you can invest in it. Navies are obsoleted by free transport ships. Even the UI is mostly ugly and not very functional. Multiplayer is a complete afterthought. And the beat goes on.

        I didn’t have any developer in mind per se. It’s a dificult game – I get it. However we re conflating programming difficulty with piss poor management. CA has gotten too big for its britches. This game reaks of design by committee and it’s a poor show all around.

        • Ernesto25 says:

          Maybe ill give Rome 2 another go but the ctf in the field killed me and i played rome 1 after the dreadful launch and it was superior in every way (yes ven the graphics) maybe the last total war game ill but which i hate becuase on paper this series could be a whole lot better than just …meh atm

      • Hypnotron says:

        I agree. The mosh pit battles for me is the deal breaker. I don’t buy and play Total War for that nonsense.

        Personally, I stopped buying Total War after Empire. I thought about getting back into it with Rome 2 but after hearing about all of the problems I lost my enthusiasm. CA is losing it’s credibility amongst hardcore simulation & strategy enthusiasts. And maybe CA doesn’t care that much so long as they make inroads with more casual gamers.

        • Hypnotron says:

          Also, not bringing back Jeff Van Dyck to compose the soundtrack was a major disappointment.

    • SuicideKing says:

      Can be fun when it lets you play…but hey, it’s still a broken game. Haven’t been able to resume my 280-turn campaign because the AI keeps breaking the game.

      So basically, yeah, first and last game i buy from CA.

  11. Shooop says:

    Is that man being decapitated wearing a bowler hat?

  12. Napoleon15 says:

    I’m a little surprised people are trying to defend this move, especially considering the state in which they chucked Rome Total War 2 out the gate. I can understand the age rating thing, but then to go and have to the… Gaul.. to charge £2 to put something back into the game after its bad release state rubs me the wrong way. I’d be more forgiving if the game hadn’t been such a buggy mess that I had to put it aside for a month or two.

    • Grygus says:

      They have already given away one DLC. They’re working on the seventh patch. Yes, the game was released in a horrid state, but I’m not sure they owe us this one.

  13. Buffer117 says:

    I had an enforced period of time, due to being sent away with work, that meant even though I pre-ordered I missed the first 6 weeks of Romes troubled release.

    Its like I’m playing a totally different game from the one so many people are so negative about, I love it!

    It runs smooth as butter, is gorgeous, I love how they have changed pretty much all the dynamics, limited armies, buildings by regions, provinces, the client state system that people seem so upset about makes perfect sense to me. Diplomacy is better but still pretty flakey and the AI doesn’t seem particularly inclined to attack me and still does some strange things in battles but overall is no worse than previous and I suspect slightly better. I also like the new battle types, although the strength of an army unit at sea is overpowered one they do need to look at.

    Having played it pretty solidly for the last couple of days I think I’m either very lucky with my hardware or a lot of people need to re-look at the game and give CA some credit for the energy they have put into fixing it, yes it shouldn’t have been released early but that sounds like it was SEGAs pushing, the good thing is hopefully it won’t happen again after the backlash (yea right!).

    Anyway on the DLC front i think it’s a bit expensive for an option that probably should have already been in (i can except the certificate change argument, but then it should be dirt cheap) and 99p would have been reasonable, I’ll wait for a steam sale as I’m feeling that tight after pre-ordering!

    • Lusketrollet says:

      I don’t think it’s the case of you having a wildly different PC than most people, as much as you having wildly different standards and taste than most sane people.

      • Buffer117 says:

        Wow great constructive well thought out criticism, you obviously used that to judge the game.

        Is my insanity due to having some sort of balanced objective view of the game rather than joining in the mass critical hysteria? The game is an improvement IMO in its CURRENT state (minus any bugs, but of which I personally have come across none) over previous editions of Total War. I’m enjoying playing it much more than Shogan 2, generally because I enjoy the setting more.

        Is it flawless? No. Is it massively different now in quality and gameplay than previous versions? No. It does have flaws, particularly as I pointed out the AI, but as the TW AI has been ropey since they started I’m not sure why everyone is hugely shocked?

        I’m sorry my personal enjoyment of a game and not a desire to see a good PC centric studio crash and burn has upset you so vehemently. Have a great day.

      • SanguineAngel says:

        jocular! but insulting

  14. Pesticide says:

    Its a bloody rip off … , also i wonder if we were to report this blood dlc to the rating companies, if they would consider changing the rating on this title. I have had it with sega and creative assembly, and their false advertizing and broken promises. Now they even stopped their weekly patches to sell us dlc for their broken game.

  15. Maxheadroom says:

    This is the first ever Total War i’ve not bought. I’m not making a stand or anything but it just seems like more of the same. and ‘meh’
    They’re not far off CoD level reiterations actually.
    I give it 2 years before they’re doing annual releases with DLC season passes.

    ..and the next one will be Napoleon 2,
    Then Shogun 3

    • Leb says:

      what’s it like in that alternate universe you live in again? Last I checked the last Rome game was what… 10+ years ago?

      • Ernesto25 says:

        You know what he means, new TW game skinned hence the name Total war they don’t call every call of duty modern warfare did they?

        • Baines says:

          Maybe CA will go the Koei Warriors franchise route instead. That could be interesting.

          Total War: Rome 2 Xtreme Legends — More units, more scenarios, more upgrades. You might consider standalone expansions like Fall of the Samurai already fit this.

          Total War: Rome 2 Empires — They already have the empire part, so the obvious direction for this is to go the opposite direction and let you play individual soldiers in beat’em-up/brawler style.

          Then they can dip into licensed properties, some sensible and some less so. Total War: Game of Thrones. Total War: Lord of the Rings. Total War: Family Guy.

          And the crossover line, pitting units from different eras against each other, with some fictional guest stars as well.

          • Lanfranc says:

            Apropos of Koei, I’d love to see a Chinese Three Kingdoms-themed (or perhaps Warring States) Total War game.

  16. Loyal_Viggo says:

    Fool me once CA, but I will never again invest any money into your software after the complete failure and total clusterfuck that is Rome 2.

    All you needed to do is provide updated graphics for Medieval 2 and you have a winner, but instead you’ve completely alienated a massive part of the loyal and existing TW fanbase and shown to new players that you could not organise a piss-up in a brewery.

    Total Fail: Rome 2 is more apt.

    • Syra says:

      Hi, I’m a new player (Shogun 1 was the last TW game I bought… medieval etc were all kinds of clunky so I didn’t bother) and I’ve actually been enjoying it. I wonder what it is that is so wrong with this game? I might have stopped immediately if it was dull but my map now looks like this… http://steamcommunity.com/id/Syratogo/screenshot/702853606495803620

      • dmastri says:

        See my previous post for a quick list of everything that sucks about this game, or have yourself a visit to the official forums or twcenter. You want the short version? We’re all pissed because it’s a huge step backwards in almost every area as compared to previous Total War titles.

        Here’s a fun video about broken unit formations and the lack of guard mode.
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_evgnzSZTvI

        Mind you guard mode has been included since the beginning and they even planned on including it here (there was an ingame encyclopedia reference to it) but they cut it. Why did they cut it? Because instead of letting the player decide they now have units automatically decide when guard mode is appropriate. Given how well total war AI works you can see what a stupid decision this was.

        Can any of you enjoying this game remember any of the generals? Do you have any epic stories about these generals? Of course you don’t. This game has no soul.

      • SuicideKing says:

        I’m a new player too, 99 hours into the game…but i’ve spent at least 40 hours waiting for the fucking AI to finish their turns.

  17. zaphod42 says:

    They did it because some countries are really picky on violence, and they just wanted to have one big happy international release. Now with that complete, they want to allow those countries that let you have gore to have it, while gating off the countries that say you’re not allowed to do it. I was upset at first, (Horse armor! Was the first thing I said) but it kinda makes sense. $3 is really pretty damn cheap.

    What you have to remember is, even if they disabled this and required certain countries to download an unlocker, does anybody remember “Hot Coffee” ? You can’t do that shit, people will go back and change your rating and make it AO or 18 or whatever even after its already on store shelves as a T rated game. So they had to gate it off and make it a seperate paid DLC. I don’t really blame them. Maybe it should be $1 instead? Whatever.

  18. Michael Fogg says:

    Next on the list: horse armour DLC.

    • Moraven says:

      That would only change the game rating if it was “sexy” horse armour.

  19. rfair5 says:

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  20. Premium User Badge

    Stellar Duck says:

    Aside from the obvious crass greed of charging for this, I just realised what made me so annoyed.

    The first picture! The romans didn’t go about lobbing off heads. That’s not how the gladius worked. It’s silly!

    Give me some gratuitous groin stabbing instead!

  21. Zenicetus says:

    Well, if nothing else, all that decapitation is the perfect in-game metaphor for the current state of the campaign and battle AI.

    I can live with whatever state the campaign ends up in, because the campaign has never been the strongest feature of TW games anyway. This one just has a bit less flavor than earlier titles, but I can stand it if the battles are good. The current major problems with the battle AI — unit mobbing, brain-dead sieges, obsession with capture flags, etc. –are theoretically solvable, if CA gets its act together. So I haven’t given up all hope yet.

    • drinniol says:

      Just wait for the inevitable DarthMod.

      • Loyal_Viggo says:

        Darthmod won’t be happening for Rome 2, the bloke said a very public ‘goodbye’ to the modding community when CA refused ti hire him (despite him knowing more about TW series than just about everyone at CA) and is now making his own game… set during the American civil war I believe.

        It’s on the interwebz somewhere… everything is… eventually…

  22. Bull0 says:

    They already gave us one helping of free conciliation DLC. How long do you want that to go on?