A Total War Saga: Thrones of Britannia details post-launch revisions

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A Total War Saga: Thrones of Britannia is a twist on the usual Total War formula. There’s a dozen clans, each with their own skill sets, and each with their own populations that have to be managed while you build your empire. The new streamlined game mechanics built a title that’s easier for newcomers, but this has also resulted in a wave of negative feedback from longtime fans of the series. In an attempt to tackle this head-on, game director Jack Lusted has released a statement reflecting on the game’s release and laying the groundwork for what comes next.

You can read the full release from Lusted right here.

The major take-away is that the team stands behind their choices. For players complaining about length of campaigns or difficulty, well, that’s just some basic balancing work and that’s coming right away. There’s a public beta update in the pipeline, but Lusted wants players to know: no matter how much the devs change things up, don’t expect a return to the old-school Total War game mechanics. They were streamlined for a reason, and there’s no going back.

Nic Reuben wrote up a review on the game for RPS. Nic found a lot to love about the game, including the need to cobble together armies out of whomever wasn’t fully passed out at the local pub, by shoving a spear into their hand. While the difficulty wasn’t up to snuff, it sounds like Creative Assembly achieved a minor miracle in handling the infinite number of menus that make up a Total War game. Nic ends with this:

After the clattering of hooves and the din of hoarse war chants, it can feel odd to return to a tactical overlay that, while occasionally tense, can often feel vacant of meaningful choice. It’s all focused firmly towards evoking the period though, and here, Creative Assembly’s love for history absolutely bleeds through. Or would, I guess, if there was any blood in the game.

You can pick up the game on Steam right now.

17 Comments

  1. Someoldguy says:

    What concerns me most are the reports that the game can be won easily by occupying a crucial resource. This has always been a problem with games that simplify regions into producing only one thing. Control all of a key commodity and victory is assured, however long it takes. In this instance, people report that if you can beat the enemy and occupy their farmlands, there’s no way back for the AI. They can’t recruit new troops so they just sit passive until you can grind them down. I’d be glad to hear different from people who’ve actually played.

    • HexagonalBolts says:

      I wouldn’t say that’s really the case – pretty much every province has food production and there are other buildings (grain stores, fishing ports) that you can build that provide food production.

  2. Moose_Knuckle says:

    Well victory conditions are different depending on what faction you choose and some of them are easier than others. I recently got a fame victory as Mide that took me about 10 hours but I paced myself and built up my tech and citied before I did much expending, I’m sure its possible to do much quicker though. That victory condition needed my fame to reach a certain level through diplomacy, war and annexing other Irish factions.I’m now on with getting an ultimate victory and painting the map.

    It could use an extra layer of depth i’d say on the campaign map side but I have been enjoying it so far as a whole. Best thing so far has been the battles and the worst thing has been the AI which seems to sometimes just break. Worth a try though if you like Total war

  3. mariandavid says:

    I’ve done about 20-30 hours so far on the game and have no idea what the ‘negative feedback’ – in the case of Steam comments closer to infantile whimpering along the grounds of ‘this is not what I expected and where is Medieval III’ – is all about. Yes, as with all strategy games when not playing at the hardest level it is difficult not to beat the AI and yes because the Saga series deal with history not fantasy there is a sameness to units of all factions.

    I have now started using the Radious major mod and that seems (these things are rarely objective) to have added a touch of variety and has even improved to some degree the strategic and battle AI.

    • Archonsod says:

      The problem with picking an era and area where most of the units are similar is that you need to do something else to give the game some character. At present it feels more like Total War – Hairy Men Hitting Each Other than something with a specific time and place.
      I’d offer Shogun 2 as an example. It too had the same problem in regards to the factions being similar to the point they could probably have replaced faction selection with picking a starting region without anyone noticing, however thanks to the presentation it still has a strong sense of place and character.

  4. joer says:

    Brock,

    That title is incomprehensible. FYI.

    Sincerely,
    Me

  5. Zorgulon says:

    @joer Is it? The game’s title is an awful mess that makes everywhere it appears less legible, but that’s hardly Brock’s fault.

  6. fearandloathing says:

    It’s baffling how multiple-million $$$ strategy titles can still get away with poor AI and that people can accept this as a given. To hell with unit diversity or even game mechanics, they are worthless without a solid AI. At least you can try to be as good as some mods out there. Vox Populi for Civ5 has the best fair-playing AI I’ve seen in the last few years. It’s infuriating that Civ6+expansion is still far away from that.

    • Imperialist says:

      Depends. Are you talking battle AI or campaign AI? Because Total War has probably has the biggest uphill battle in terms of battle AI, in that the technology available to the industry as a whole just…isnt there for the complex machinations of your average total war battle to be up to “human standards”. The AI serves well enough, mirroring your tactics and formations, flanking and maneuvering units. It does so within the historical bounds placed upon it. (after all, who wants an AI that exploits like humans that play the game? Lets be real, most people saying “the ai sucks” back their whole army into a corner of the map and complain that the AI is either too aggressive, or too passive and just smartly sits back and waits for the player.) Total War’s campaign AI is ok, but the fact that the higher difficulties allow it to cheat in ways that arent really plausible kinda ruins the appeal.

      • Landiss says:

        Umm, what?

        Battle AI was simply disastrous over the years and over most of the titles in the series. There was very little development, quite the opposite actually – for a long time each new title would had worse AI. Of course not simply because it was written worse, but because newer games had more options and were more complex and AI was in no way prepared to handle it. I think that trend finally changed with Shogun 2, the AI was clearly improved there, but they also started to streamline some elements of the game so AI handles them better. Most notably the sieges.

        And AI playing within historical bounds? Have you ever defended a siege? In typical TW game the AI would cramp all of its units into one huge blob and stuck in one gate. Another thing AI typically do is change its strategy and composition of units on flanks etc. on the fly in the middle of the battle, often right when you are almost charging it.

        People are not complaining about battle AI because it is bad – they are complaining because it has some very noticeable errors. Of course it’s not easy to program an AI to not have those, but I think it’s right to push this topic and demand that the authors put more work into this. Right now it is clear to me that most of the production time for TW games is spent on completely different matters, graphics, animations etc. and not on AI itself. There was this joke years ago:
        “hey, CA has doubled the workforce in their AI department. Now the guy works fulltime”.

        And let’s not even start talking about campaign AI. It’s only barely functioning because of the bonuses it gets even on normal difficulty and because of how the game is designed around base income, meaning that economy is of almost no importance until a country is several territories big (it is not a coincidence and it is designed to help AI).

        I think the responsibility of the current state of affairs is in a big part on the side of the gaming press, which simply almost never even describe issues with AI. Look at the Battletech. The AI in the game is at best mediocre, but I haven’t seen that recognized in any review.
        The only person that gives proper attention to the issue of AI on RPS, for example, is Tim Stone.

        • mariandavid says:

          Not sure I agree with you – I am finding (admittedly with the Radious mod in play and not sure what changes they made) that the battle AI in this game is about the best there has been. Of course it only shows when playing at the very hardest level and I suspect it is partly because of the fewer exotic variations in unit type in Thrones. But regardless my impression, unlike yours, is that there have been genuine attempts to improve what is of course the most difficult form of combat AI.

  7. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    I find this to be a poor article. What specific choices do the team stand behind? What specific complaints of the community?

    There is really little substantive to this aside from the minor bits about their focus on history (although that may or may not have to do with the topic) and the things they are fixing.

  8. Auldman says:

    Well I am 12 hours in or so and I see some real good and some negative. On the negative side the CAI is really not very good. I watched one of my vassal states refuse to move a full stack army against a rebel town with a half stack for several turns. They just sat there so I finally moved a stack up and took it. To me the move was obvious but to the AI not so. It’s that bad.

    In battle things are much better and the battle AI can present some difficulty.

    I’ve seen some whines about navies, recruitment and trade that I feel are unfair as I think the developers nailed it pretty close to history. There was no such thing as “the Viking navy.” Warlords had ships or they hired them. End of story. Recruitment was interesting at that time as there were no professional armies. Kings and nobles would have armed retinues that fought for them but these could number as little as 100 men. Freemen were often raised for short periods of service.

    The state was not as heavily centralized as it had been in the Roman Empire therefore trade negotiations were rare. Whether it was war or not traders continued to cross borders and do their best to avoid armies. So that might seem like streamlining to the complainers but it does accurately reflect a poorer and less centralized Europe than Roman Europe had been.

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