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We’ve just put up a hotfix that significantly improves campaign map frame-rate on a variety of hardware combinations that were getting frame rates less than 15 fps. It took us until Monday to get a case of this happening in the studio, but it was a very simple fix, so we’ve decided to put it out as a single issue patch. This bug was introduced very late in the process, but we absolutely should have found and fixed it before release.
This release has obviously not gone as planned for some people, and I want to apologise to everyone out there who had issues with the game, whether they were hardware issues or disappointment in the performance of game features. We obviously don’t plan to release a game with any bugs, performance and AI issues. How this has happened is something we’re beginning to post mortem in detail now.
Fortunately, the same tech that gave us the rope to work on the game right up to release lets us keep working on it after it’s out, and the flaws in the game are mostly just bugs, not structural defects. We can and will get the game to where we wanted it to be for everyone.
The top priority is stability and performance – both frame rates in battle and campaign, and end of turn times and loading times. Then gameplay spoilers – AI flaws and exploits, balancing tweaks and the level of challenge on higher difficulties. Then minor bugs, lesser features that really didn’t pan out, UI improvements, and longer term adjustments to features and systems that could be better. Because there are a lot of us working in parallel there will be a mixture of different priority fixes in each patch. Much of this work would be part of the usual planned improvements we would make to our games post-launch anyway, but we are aware that they have now taken on extra significance and importance.
We have a major improvement to end of turn times in the pipeline, along with around 100 fixes in the next patch. We have another 100 or so fixes already being tested for the patch after that. At this point the limiting factor on getting issues fixed in patches is not our ability to fix issues, it’s our ability to test them and guarantee that we don’t repeat past mistakes by putting a patch out that breaks something new. We’ll also be putting each patch up as a beta you can opt in to before releasing it. It’s our aim to continue patching more or less weekly until all the bugs are dealt with.
Then we can start the kind of dialogue we always want to be having with the community – which new features you like, which you don’t like, which deleted features from previous games you really miss and so on. That’s a good conversation to be having, and since it’s our intention not to fall in to the trap of just re-skinning the previous game each time, it’s one that hopefully you’ll be having for years to come.
Lastly, I’m hoping we can fundamentally treat our releases differently in the future. Long open betas are the way things are going, and while that model hasn’t been compatible with the way Total War has been built to date, that could be the way forward.