Caesar in Gaul and this week's Beasts of War DLC 'both contain units that were cut'. Creative Assembly remark the "naming is unfortunate," but that they aren't the same.
It's not actually just that the name is the same, but also the general idea behind the unit itself. Hence why the community is accusing the studio of breaking their promise.
A Let's Play video of Rome II's multiplayer before the game launched include units virtually the same as Caesar in Gaul's Mercenary Naked Swords, and Beasts of War's Camel Cataphracts. The situation boiled over even more because those posting these complaints had their grievances moved to a section of the forum only accessible if you're registered.
"Yes there will be DLC for Rome 2. We will detail this closer to release and also talk about why we do DLC and why it is not cut content," stated unit design lead Jack Lusted pre-launch.
Now Creatively Assembly's Rob Bartholomew, brand director, has responded to the criticisms.
"It's certainly correct to point out that units called Camel Cataphracts and Merc Naked Swords were used in a Let's Play walkthrough before launch," he said.
"The naming is unfortunate, but these aren't the same units that were then released subsequently as DLC. As with all work in-progress content, it is subject to change and revision before the final game is shipped. Content might be revised for all sorts of reasons involving balancing or quality for example."
"The DLC we're looking at here are essentially a different version following increased design, artwork and balancing to match the quality of the other units available. The final selection of units supplied in the game were extensive and we felt they represented excellent value."
Despite this explanation, Bartholomew apologised to fans.
"At the time of this video's recording, these units were not finished in terms of art, gameplay or design and as a marketing team we should have double-checked the likelihood of them making it into the final game. Obviously we don't want to feature content that won't be in the game intentionally, especially when it would otherwise be pointless, as in this case where there was a huge variety of other great units to show off. That's our basic human error and I apologise for letting that through."
"When it comes to units for DLC, we occasionally go back to those that we liked but didn't turn out good enough, and see if they can be improved on for free or paid-for DLC. These were some of the prime contenders."
"In terms of what deserves to be released in the main game and what should be DLC, that's always going to be subjective and divisive. Given that Rome 2 shipped with more units than any other Total War game by a significantly huge margin, we are confident we got that balance right for the game, but we understand there will always be people who don't agree and we listen and try to make the right call."
Further data was found through game files that some DLC simply needed to be 'turned on' as it was on-disc. "A lot of placeholder content gets put into the game to fulfil various design, development or testing needs, but not all makes the cut for inclusion for one reason or another," he offered.
"I would say that we are releasing significant DLC, whether that's Culture Packs or Campaign Packs, and again given the clear popularity we have seen with unit packs in the past, 'significance' is something that is subjective and varies from player to player, We would like to cater for all tastes, and will continue to try to do so for the foreseeable future."
An acceptable defence or honeyed words? The fact remains that those units were actually designed but then cut, and a makeover and some stat polishing later doesn't make them 'new'. It's these unfortunate twisting of words and double-meanings that give downloadable content a bad impression.
costs £1.99 on Steam and includes seven units. Creative's full defence on DLC is available .
Creatively Assembly respond to 'cut content' DLC accusations, "naming is unfortunate"
19 February 2014 | By Simon Priest