The Creative Assembly is a Sussex, UK-based game development studio that was founded by Tim Ansell in 1987. Though The Creative Assembly has worked in other genres, the company has become predominantly known for its Total War series of strategy games.
The Creative Assembly started to make sports title for Electronic Arts back in 1993 under the EA sports banner. Franchises developed included Rugby World Cup, 1999 Cricket World Cup and Austrailain Football Leauge. In 1999, Creative Assembly had the budget and resources to develop a brand new strategy game called Shogun: Total War. Originally designed to be a knock off of the Command and Conquer games, it ended up using its own formula of gameplay, using turn based strategy in the campaign map and real time strategy for the battles. When released on June 13, 2000, the game got much praise and won numerous strategy game of the year awards in 2000. In 2001, Creative Assembly announced it would release Shogun: Total War - Mongol Invasion as an expansion pack. This would be the last Creative Assembly release under the EA banner as the Creative Assembly broke from EA and got Activision as its new publisher.
In 2001, the Creative Assembly announced a new Total War game under development, this time set in medieval Europe. This was Medieval: Total War, which was even bigger and more technically advanced than Shogun. When released in August 2002, it sold better than Shogun, garnished much praise and won many awards, including the top game of 2002 award from PC Gamer.
The third total war game to be developed was Rome: Total War, which was announced by the Creative Assembly in early 2003. The engine was much different to how previous installments were made, as for the first time in the franchise's history, troops in the battles were in 3D. This new engine was so innovative, that television shows like History Channel's Decisive Battles and BBC's TIme Commanders used this new engine to add realistic graphics as to how ancient armies fought from the Roman Era. After its release in September 2004, the game became the most well-received iteration of the Total War franchise, one of the top ten best selling PC games of 2004 and won nearly every strategy game of the year award from the press.
Sega's Buyout and Creative Assembly Today
After Rome's great success in 2004, many thought the Creative Assembly would stay with Activision. However on March 9 2005, it was announced that Sega had bought all shares in the company and acquired the British-based developer. Sega wanted to make its presence in European and North American markets greater and saw the Creative Assembly as an opportunity to help sell in the Western video game markets. In 2005, Sega had published two games developed by the Creative Assembly, Rome: Total War, Barbarian Invasion, which was the expansion pack to Rome: Total War, and Spartan: Total Warrior. Spartan was an action game that played much like God of War, which was released earlier in 2005. Despite being seen by some as a God of War clone, the game still got mostly favorable reception from the press.
The first non-expansion Total War title published by Sega would be Medieval 2: Total War. The game was a sequel to Medieval: Total War, but used the same technology of Rome Total War. While it was not as successful as Rome, Medieval 2, like its previous installments, got critical acclaim and sold well.
After Spartan: Total Warrior, the Creative Assembly had developed more multi-platform console games to see if they could have a console franchise that would be as successful as the Total War franchise. The next console game was Viking: Battle For Asgard, which was another action game that was set in Norse mythology. The game got mixed reviews, for some praised it for having brutal battles, it was also panned for having inconsistent sound design and a lackluster plot. In June 2008, the Creative Assembly announced a multi-platform strategy game called Stormrise. This game would be developed by the Creative Assembly's Australian branch, who was also behind developing Medieval 2: Total War. However, the game soon became the Creative Assembly's worst received title to date getting criticisms like having a terrible control design and flawed pathfinding. Right now the Creative Assembly is working on a tentative Alien title for the consoles, but nobody knows when it will be released.
As for the Total War franchise, the Total War series is still the flagship franchise of the Creative Assembly. In 2009, Empire: Total War was released, being set in colonial times going from the 18th century to the early 19th century. Empire also got a brand new engine to fit the combat that took place in the game's setting. The game outsold both Medieval 2: Total War and Rome: Total War and was highly praised by the media upon release. However, the game was often criticized by fans and customers for having many glitches, hinting that perhaps the game wasn't complete when released to the public. In 2010, Napoleon: Total War was released which had a similar gameplay technique and had addressed most of the problems that Empire had. Also like Empire, it got great praise from the media, but some questioned if a game playing much like Empire should of been sold as a retail game or just as an expansion pack. In 2011, the most recent Total War installment, Total War: Shogun 2, was released, serving as the sequel to the first Total War title, Shogun: Total War. The game has gotten universal praise and has won many strategy game of the year awards for 2011. Most recently The Creative Assembly has announced Total War: Rome II.
Total War Games