Total War: Rome 2’s Ancestral update is intriguing indeed

Total War: Rome 2

The Creative Assembly are keeping a lot of plates spinning these days. Not only did they recently release Total War spinoff Thrones of Britannia, but they’re still working on Total War: Three Kingdoms and continually updating their Warhammer games, too. They’ve clearly not forgotten about Total War: Rome 2 either, as they’ve just released a massive new update adding a major new gameplay element; family trees and the intrigues they spawn.

While characters in Total War games have been able to have children, marry into families or otherwise spawn descendants, the Family Tree screen makes it much clearer. You can track exactly who is related to who, and use that to predict who’ll be on your side if your empire splits, secedes or falls into civil war. More interesting is the Intrigues system, which seem to be Crusader Kings-esque interpersonal actions that characters can perform, many requiring certain military ranks, political positions or attributes to carry out.

While the family trees and intrigues are exciting in of themselves, the patch notes are massive and include sweeping changes to the game. Notable tweaks include (but aren’t limited to) an overhaul to lighting and water rendering, general graphical improvements, a major rework to agent and general skills (to make them more culture-specific), AI improvements and general strategic balance tweaks.

All of these sweeping changes do come with one major issue: The Ancestral update breaks mod support, and mod creators will have to update their work to the newest version of the game. Creative Assembly do assure that un-modded players should be able to transfer straight into this new version without hassle, and your save games should still function as normal. Any agent who got their skills rebalanced will find their stat points refunded, ready to spend fresh.

The Ancestral update for Total War: Rome 2 is opt-in only at present, so you can find out how to get it in the FAQ here. Creative Assembly also promise that a new DLC announcement is “coming very soon”, following up on the semi-recent Empire Divided expansion.


  1. Premium User Badge

    Earl-Grey says:

    RPS, could you for the love of all that is good and holy get rid of the arsing “Could you disable your adblock” pop-ups or at least make sure that the sodding site remember us between visits?

    For crying out loud, I’m trying to support you directly, the least I ask in return is not to be hassled by cunting pop-ups with bloody tiny buttons on it!

  2. gi_ty says:

    This is awesome! Perhaps I can finally relive those halycon days of the original with a shiny new paint job.

  3. Cyrus says:

    I wonder if it’s worth it after all these years, being gravely disappointed those 5 years ago. Such an unsatisfactory sequel to a much beloved game. I though was recently positively surprised with Total Warhammer, which proved to me that at least there’s some part of Total War that still breathes.

    Kudos to CA for yet supporting old games.

    The UI is still godawful!

    • shde2e says:

      I’m still amazed it took them this long to put in a family tree.

      They had that screen for like half the series, but in the game where they made it actually important and developed they somehow left it out for five years?

    • BobbyDylan says:

      This. Total War games are the reason I bought a PC rather than a console when I moved to the UK in 2008. They were a must-buy, an instant pre-order for the most expensive SE. The series peaked with Shogun 2, sadly. Rome 2 left me disappointed, and I only bought Attila in a sale. I didn’t bother with Britannia and got no interest in 3 kingdoms. The staff at CA need to go back and spend 3 months playing Shogun 2 and Rome TW before they make any more historical games.

      But thankfully PDS have me covered with Imperator Rome.

      • Captain Narol says:

        Like you, I got quite disappointed by TW : Rome 2 and wait with impatience for Imperator : Rome.

        However, I recommend to keep an eye on “Agressors : Ancient Rome” by Slitherine, it might be even better than Imperator and maybe will be out before :

        link to

  4. Zenicetus says:

    I know one of the big things that TW diehards yelled about was the lack of family trees in Rome 2. But wasn’t that because the timescale moved too fast? You’d have people dying before they could matter or develop traits. Did they change that?

    The other big problem with that side of Rome 2 was that “politics”was basically Roman history, which is fine if you wanted to play Rome, but made no sense at all if you were playing one of the other factions with a more linear, absolute monarchy.

    • Captain Narol says:

      Monarchies at that time where rarely always linear and family rivalries where often cause for civil wars, just have a look at Seleucids succession history for example…

  5. TotallyUseless says:

    I really hope CA would do something to improve the unit details on Rome 2. I mean seriously, even to this day, Rome 2’s unit details are far inferior to the character models of Shogun 2 ( A MUCH OLDER GAME)!

  6. BaronKreight says:

    Its good news and all. How many years did it take them to actually add family tree back into the game? The feature that was present in the first game and fans have been asking for it since game launch?

  7. Captain Narol says:

    So True !

    5-10 more years and RTW2 will finally be on par with the first RTW in term of gameplay and a great game at last !

  8. jeremyalexander says:

    So Total War Rome 2 might finally be coming out of Early Access? I read the patch notes and it sounds good on paper, but it promises fixes that have been promised and not delivered in previous patches. It says that it fixes the bug where enemies sometimes (most times) wouldn’t actually attack a walled city. They’ve said that for almost every patch since the games release and after the last patch I still held cities with 2 or 3 units against full stack armies because they just wandered around my walls the whole battle, maybe sending one unit to try to take a wall when they had siege towers just wandering back and forth in front of my gates. Worst Total War game I’ve ever played and I played them all up until Attila.

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