I’ve been following CA pretty closely enough since Rome 2 and what is interesting to me is that, underneath the grind of gamemaking year after year you can really see the hard business decisions peeking out.
So, for example, they created a sort of two-man community outreach show on Youtube to pitch Rome 2. They even continued this into Attila. But as soon as someone broke character - talked about things outside of the game - they would mysteriously never appear again. They had a podcast about Atilla DLC, even attended by amateur historians… and when they talked about games outside of Total War the podcast was abruptly ended, even before they released the final DLC campaign. Now that format is gone and you basically have creative directors talking about new content. You see that whatever the smiling, fun community minded stuff, this is a business run by business men. There’s a reason they’re perhaps by some standards the healthiest surviving RTS developer from that genre’s golden age.
Interestingly there has developed around Total War a YouTube community of non-affilated broadcasters that CA seems to have a somewhat ambivalent relationship with. They do provide them some support and a bit of early access but at the same time seem wary of “elevating” these community personalities. So i just noticed that for the first time (as far as i can tell) CA had a sponsored video with the Yogscast goofballs, playing some random Warhammer 2 FFA. They’ve never just outright paid a Youtube channel for content that wasn’t already a Total War channel. It seems they’re always trying new things to stay on top of the PR game.
The DLC for Warhammer was interesting as well. They tried to sell two expensive DLC factions and justified the price by giving them their own mini campaign, as well as adding some not-inexpensive unit and hero DLCs. Then later they tossed in one new faction entirely for free, and made a cheaper DLC, without a mini campaign as part of a pre-order bonus, and then tossing in a bunch of “regiments of renown” (essentially heroic level normal units) which they had formerly charged for in the pot at the end. They seem to be reacting on the fly here, seeing what sticks and what does not.
So it doesn’t surprise me, although it disapoints me, War2 doesn’t have a clear idea how it wants to integrate the existing factions into the new game. You can’t even play them in skirmish, but blobs of old factions do pop up here and there. Do we charge for them? Do we charge for the Super-grand Campaign? Do we charge for special units and heroes, ect? War2 seems to have only a vague outline of a DLC/post-release plan, but lots of DLC shaped holes everywhere you look.