It is unfortunate that Australia does not house many information technology brands sporting universal name recognition. Being a video game developer with an impressive market presence, The Creative Assembly is one of a few globally-known IT companies that choose to operate in Australia. Established by Tim Ansell in the United Kingdom in 1987, The Creative Assembly set up a branch in Fortitude Valley, Australia.
After participating in major game development projects by various IT giants including Electronic Arts, this Aussie-Brit joint venture marshaled enough resources to fund its own video game project. Many strategy game enthusiasts claim stubbornly that end product of this project, Shogun: Total War, has revolutionized the strategy game genre. Shogun has a unique game play formula that includes a turn-based strategy campaign accompanied by real-time tactical engagements. Players organize their economic, military and political resources on a large world campaign map in a turn-based fashion and, when opportunity arises, clash with their enemies in real time battlefields. In other words, players get to command hundreds and if one’s computer specs allow, thousands of military units into battle. Assembly’s new strategy formula was an instant hit. Thus, Total War brand was born.
Medieval: Total War emerged in 2002 and followed Shogun’s path of success. Medieval did not present anything new in terms of graphics technology and game play and was almost technically identical to the first game. The Creative Assembly still had tricks up its sleeve, though. In 2004, they rocked the gaming world once more with Rome: Total War. Rome sported a brand new graphics engine and game play features. Reviewers and gamers did not shy away from throwing accolades at the Creative Assembly. Needless to say, Total War formula was kept entirely intact with turn-based campaigning and real time tactical engagement portions.
This was a turning point for The Creative Assembly as Rome’s achievements attracted Japanese gaming giant Sega’s attention and an acquisition was finalized in 2005. Sega provided ample funds for the Creative Assembly to expand the Total War franchise. Medieval II: Total War, Empire: Total War, Napoleon: Total War and Total War: Shogun 2 joined the franchise in 2006, 2009, 2010 and 2011, respectively.
Although post-2005 games could not muster the hype Rome: Total War enjoyed, they were well-received by fans and critics. All games were considered to be improvements over the existing Total War formula and possessed new graphic engines and features. For example, Empire: Total War allowed gamers to engage in naval battles. The latest news from the Creative Assembly team is that a new mobile iOS and Android compatible Total War game will soon join the much celebrated franchise.
The Creative Assembly and Total War Series hold well-deserved positions in the history of strategy gaming and their fans’ laptops and now mobiles will certainly keep spare storage capacity for games to come.