The Next Total War Game Is Having A Very Weird, Epic-Exclusive Launch

The Next Total War Game Is Having A Very Weird, Epic-Exclusive Launch

Having previously been a series that we first associated with DVD drives and then Steam, the next release in the Total War series””is going to be a 12-month Epic Games Store exclusive. And it’ll be…free?

At least initially. Anyone downloading the game within the first 24 hours of it appearing on Epic’s store will be able to keep it without paying a cent. Which is certainly a unique way to try and “sell” a game.

Developers Creative Assembly, knowing that anything to do with Epic exclusivity is an invitation for certain parts of the internet to get very upset, have attempted to explain the decision in a blog post, saying “we have no plans for future games [in the series] to be Epic exclusives”, and that this deal was made because “we want to reach new audiences and have as many people as possible experiencing the thrill of Total War for themselves”.

And because Epic is paying them a boatload of cash to cover those free downloads.

Epic approached us and asked if TROY could be an Epic exclusive, as part of a commercial deal. That’s not to say that we immediately signed on the dotted line, or that money was the only reason that we did this (it’s not!). It was a difficult decision, and you can be assured that there were a lot of differing opinions in the studio, and a lot of discussions about it ” which largely focussed on what it would mean for you, the players.

However, ultimately we considered two things. First we’re at a time when we’re looking to invest more into the ongoing development of Total War this felt like an opportunity to really move the franchise forward by getting it in front of more people. Secondly, Epic were paying for our players to have our latest release free on day one. For Total War’s 20th birthday, that felt like an opportunity too good to pass up.

They’re right about one thing: Saga games are indeed “titles [that] allow us to experiment”. The first one, Thrones of Britannia, sucked, but it had a few cool ideas that ended up making it into the very good Three Kingdoms. Maybe this one’s legacy will be that Sega and Creative Assembly get some feedback on whether a weird, staggered launch for a game is worth the up-front cash.


  • 12 months isn’t that terrible, I personally see timed exclusive as a “thanks for beta testing the game”

    also I guess it depends what they release, I mean there’s nothing stopping Sega / CA to be a jerk and just release part 1 of 12 of the campaign heh

    • 12 months is absolutely terrible. 3 months isnt so bad, but who cares about a year old game? If you have an issue with EGS (general ‘you’ not you specifically) then by the time a game comes out on other platforms you use, you wont care about it. There will be other games catching your eye.

      That HAS to leave sales behind, it cant possibly create MORE sales. Which for the developer makes it terrible as they’re leaving profit behind. I understand exclusives, but when they are exclusive for so long its a negative on the industry. The games people want to play make the advance from Epic meaningless, while reducing the market size considerably for the most important time of a games shelf life.

      • Considering Total War : Warhammer 2 came out in 2017 and still rises to the top 10 list for steam, I imagine the answer to ‘who cares about a year old game?’ is lots of people.

        • yep. and consider the fact GTA games are always exclusive to a paid hardware platform for 12+ months after launch, let alone just a piece of free software, and it never hurts their sales. sure there are people out there, mostly 12yr olds that have to be playing only the newest most relevant games for social cred in the playground, but for everyone else the age of a game does not matter.

        • @lawlorz as well – There are always exceptions to a generic comment. GTA 5 was something I had commented on, but deleted because the response was way too long. Hardware exclusivity is not what I’m talking about, and a different argument completely. I’m talking release exclusivity on a platform, specifically the CHOICE between a platform like Steam or EGS.

          The reality is that for the vast majority of games, the 3 months after release are when they get the majority of sales. Thats fact. Tieing a game to a release platform, namely EGS or Steam to be specific, is a negative for a game, and the industry as a whole. You cannot prove to me that sales arent lost because of it.

          I dont really care if you disagree with that or not. Specifically here, Total War games do not need to tie themselves to a single release process unless its their own. Which is a different argument. They havent done that, they’ve chosen to use a third party, and by tieing to one over all, have done nothing but limit their market. Which can do nothing but limit their sales. The advance they get from Epic becomes meaningless because their popularity all but guarantees it being a success. I’m saying that if they went through Steam as well they’d be MORE successful. Again, really dont give a flying fract if you disagree or not.

          BTW @lawlorz, where was GTA an exclusive on PC? If you mean console, where was it exclusive for 12 months there? Some bonus content has been exclusive to Xbox or PS systems, but I cant find any that were 12 months even with those. Are you bending the truth a little to make a point?

          • so you want to exclude a point because it doesnt fit your view? but then you later question my point cause you didnt understand it? one may cancel out the other. ill give the benefit of the doubt. Hardware exclusivity is not what I’m talking about, and a different argument completely. so software exclusivity where anyone on the platform is free to use the other software and only their own ego is in the way is wrong? but constraining a game to hardware that someone needs to pay hundreds of dollars for to gain access to it is fine? im sorry youre not making much sense.
            as for your last point. not sure where i said GTA was exclusive on PC. unless you quoted the wrong person?

          • This took 4 days to come through…

            OK, let me make this simple. I dont like exclusivity when its a bought exclusivity. If there are reasons for it, fine, I dont have an issue. But when someone gives a developer money to be solely on their platform for any length of time, I see it as being a negative on the industry.

            Nobody can prove to me that Epic’s exclusivity doesnt leave profit behind. By its very nature you cannot possibly maximise your sales in the important 3 months after launch. It might be ego, it might be people not knowing of the platform, it really doesnt matter.

            What benefits do Epic give? Their advance is meaningless for the successful games, their 12% v 30% ignores other factors, and there are less users on EGS. So how is it better? Developers end up selling at the biggest money making time to 70m accounts rather than 170m. Why is that hard to understand?

            A year later, when they go to Steam, the games arent selling at launch prices, so are making less profit per sale. Anybody that didnt get the game through Epic at launch is giving them less money. And therefore, less profit. If they get the game at all.

            So yes, software exclusivity is wrong. It reduces the profits to the developer, which can only cause problems later on. If you choose not to see that, go right ahead. Nobodys shown me anything to show I’m wrong though.

            Hardware exclusives arent much different – I didnt say it was fine. I dont buy Xbox exclusives, because I dont own an Xbox. I do own a PS4 though, so a game released on both (or all 3) I have a chance of buying. So by being exclusive to Xbox, its operating to a limited market and also reducing sales.

            If I had an Xbox instead of a PS4 the reverse argument would be true as well. There are some developers that have stayed solely with one platform though, just like there are PC developers that dont make console games. Hence it being a different argument.

            My argument was about the state of PC gaming, not PS4 v Xbox v Nintendo v PC. So was trying to keep it specific to what I was talking about, not deviating into a different argument.

            For what its worth, I have an Epic account and I use it. Its not specifically THEM, its the issue they’re pushing. They’re just the face of it right now. If Steam starts doing the same in retaliation, I’ll disagree with that as well.

            On GTA, I really wasnt sure what exclusivity you were refering to, hence asking. Two sides to it – the digital store exclusivity on PC, or console exclusivity for a set time. I dont remember GTA 5 being exclusive anywhere, except through Rockstar only on PC. Yet another argument.

            Was it exclusive on Xbox before PS4? Or vice versa? I really dont remember if it was or not. I do vaguely remember some DLC, but thats about it. And cant even be certain with that.

  • Well… maybe it’ll be good. Free things are always nice. For the 20th I’d have loved to see a remaster of the original Shogun: Total War, before the franchise swapped its subtitle to the main title and replaced the very, very cool paper map with wood figures.

    I’m sure there’s folks looking for more historic periods, but I’d love to see one that branches out to a different IP. I appreciated the visuals around Three Kingdoms, but the relative limits of its gameplay saw me bouncing off it pretty hard, and eventually refunding.

    Total Warhammer is a stand-out, amazing development that’s probably the best the franchise has ever done. Could we go to another IP and give it that treatment, next?

    • I miss the Paper map, I like that it gives you an impression of a leadership role.
      looking over a map in a throne room(or war room)
      instead of an overly gamey 3d landscape

      personally I wished that they make both versions. a dynamic paper map and a 3d world.

      • Also, the sounds were especially soothing. The clip-clop of lifting and placing figures, the sound of them being dragged between provinces, the ambiance of the nearby garden… just really great.

  • For the Steam lovers, a 12 month exclusivity on EGS means it can’t be released on Steam in a year btw due to recent Steam ToS updates.

    • Got a link with details on that? I’m kind of interested to know how they’d achieve that without also excluding all the ports, updates, and remasters that started on different distribution platforms.

      • ““Delivery. Company shall submit the Applications to Steam for release no later than the first commercial release of each Application or Localized Version, or, if already commercially released as of the Effective Date, within (30) days of the Effective Date. Thereafter, Company shall submit to Steam any Localized Versions and Application Updates (in beta and final form) when available, but in no event later than they are provided to any other third party for commercial release. Company shall provide these copies in object code form, in whatever format Valve reasonably requests.””

        Being honest, I think I may have misread this, I think it just stops developers from putting their game up on Steam listed as ‘coming soon’ whilst its exclusive on EGS.

        • It’s hard to tell what the scope of that clause is without knowing how “Applications” is defined by the agreement. It seems unlikely it would be defined as a publisher’s entire catalogue though, since they might not even have a right to distribute some of them if they rely on licensed third party IP.

          It seems more likely that it would be defined as “the games the publisher has agreed to distribute on Steam”. In that case it is just saying that the version available on Steam must always be the most up to date version, which is a reasonable requirement.

        • Honestly, even if it was how you originally thought there’s basically no chance Steam would pass up these guys no matter what their own ToS said.

          It’s a studio owned by SEGA, it’s most definitely not some small operation Steam is going to dismiss… That’s a good way to get even more of their future titles to suddenly become Epic exclusive.

  • I hate the whole exclusive thing, regardless of whether I already use the platform.

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