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There was a British gameshow in the far-flung past of 2003 called Time Commanders, which used a game engine to simulate historical battles. Unseen programmers lurked in the back room to control an opposing army while a team of four contestants coordinated their own troops. There are two teams in particular that spring to mind: a family who decimated the challenge by falling into their natural pecking order (apparently when it comes to dealing death and destruction, mum’s in charge), and a team of gamers who butted egos and failed to cooperate until they comically lost at a computer game.

The game engine was gifted by developer Creative Assembly. It was Rome: Total War a year before its official release.

That wasn’t leading anywhere by the way; I just thought it was neat. The landscape of Triple A gaming has changed so much since then, nowadays it seems like any pre-release material has an unpleasant duality as if the bigwigs are concerned with maintaining the cosmological balance of the universe. You can’t just have a neat thing, that would destroy us all. The neat thing always has to be packaged with something bad, like a neighbor defiling your Halloween bags with fruit. Enter Warhammer: Total War’s Chaos Pack, day 1 DLC free only to those who preorder the main game. It went over really well.

Warhammer Total War trailer

I have this theory somebody told Sega thumbs down is a Western expression for excellence.

This pattern has been going on for some time. Rome 2: Total War’s day 1 DLC was called The Greek States, free to those who preordered. The DLC contained Sparta, one of the more popular factions arguably thanks to Zack Snyder’s 300 movie. So … business as usual?

Not quite. Try to imagine buying a copy of Rome 2: Total War after release and finding out that Rome isn’t a playable faction. That’s absolutely bonkers, right? Well that’s the scenario we’re looking at. I don’t claim to be a Warhammer fanatic, but I’ve dabbled enough to know Chaos is the ultimate adversary, the impending storm threatening to engulf every civilized race in the Warhammer fantasy universe. The franchise is built on it! Everyone has their factional preferences (dwarfs rule), but when we get down to the nitty-gritty, the two main forces defining that world are the human empire and the chaos hordes. Good and evil. Light and dark. Tom and Jerry.

Other notable examples of fundamental content being cordoned off are the Mass Effect 3 From Ashes DLC, offering a free companion for buyers of either the Collector’s Edition or Digital Deluxe Edition. That companion turned out to be a Prothean, ancient enemy of the Reapers and lynchpin of Mass Effect’s lore. Alien: Isolation pulled a similar trick, offering DLC with the reunited cast of 1979 film classic Alien as a preorder bonus, meaning those who purchased after release wouldn’t get Ellen Ripley in an Aliens game unless they forked over extra cash. The sheer audacity is jaw-dropping, and I think Warhammer: Total War’s DLC is especially irritating because of the poor state Rome 2: Total War came out in.

What do you think, Raptors? Is Sega responsible and will they relent? Is Jerry the ultimate evil? Am I too old to go trick or treating?


Mark Richard

As English as fish & chips and twice as greasy, Mark has wielded a keyboard from the age of five and has a green belt in Taekwondo, proving his power level is more or less equal to that of a seven year old.



  • xyzdude0

    If they make chaos available only through day one dlc and not have the option of getting it later on, then they are really crazy.

  • If the arrangement is the same as their other games Rome 2: Total War and Aliens Isolation, that means the Chaos DLC will be sold separately, and those who preorder Warhammer: Total War get it for free.

    There are conversations to be had about exclusive DLC and day 1 DLC, but what I’m mainly getting at is in the examples provided each character/faction is fundamental to their respective universes, and are bizarrely downplayed to compensate for being side content. The Prothean in Mass Effect 3 should be the most important creature in the Mass Effect universe, Ellen Ripley should be central to the Aliens franchise, the Chaos faction should be the classic villains of Warhammer fantasy. All of these things should be available to those who purchase the games.

    Chaos are not playable in the main game for those who make their purchase after release. Like I said, it’s the equivalent of purchasing Rome: Total War and not being able to play Rome. And that blows my mind.

  • Aeloth

    Well seems they learned nothing from Rome 2. No way in hell I’m trusting them with a preorder after that, and no way in hell I’m getting the game later with them doing this. Just keep burning those bridges CA.

  • xyzdude0

    I play Vampire Counts so I might be a little biased

  • eltonBorges

    Wasn’t SEGA saying they would like to be in good terms with fans? Now, I don’t want to remove the guilty from SEGA, but, I wonder if GM have nothing to do with it, because, a very similar thing happened with Blood Bowl 2…

  • Robert Grosso

    The Mass Effect stuff is a gross misnomer, namely because the Javik character was apparently cut completely mid-production when the script to the game was leaked and re-tooled as a DLC character instead of throwing him out completely, as far as rumors go at least.

    Not to mention the main missions and almost all conversations were from the DLC, and created separately from the game itself. Only the character model was in-disk. Not to mention Javik was completely innocuous to the plot of Mass Effect 3 overall, as he should have been anyway, since Shepard should have been the most important character at all times. The problem there is people expected that to not be the case because of his nature as a Prothean…people were simply wrong there, even when considering the in-game lore and what Javik was as a character.

    As far as this game, not surprised. What races have been confirmed as part of the game already? Orcs, Dwarves, Vampire Counts and Empire right?

    I wonder if they were chosen because of their popularity and diversity to be the main four…its been years since I played Warhammer though. Plus, no Skaven or Elves is very suspect…

  • Bart Van de Mieroop

    I find this hilariously funny.

    Chaos can not be denied(*)

    All of the fluff of classic warhammer and 40k portraits Chaos as a maligned massive force that corrupts everything and will get everywhere.
    It is always portraits as the big bad vs the “good” guys.
    Age Of Sigmar artwork is 95% Khorne Chaos warriors vs the Sigmarites .

    “Know that the Warp goes where the Warp wills, into man, beast and machine.” is a fit description of the Primordial Truth that is Chaos.
    It is a massive part of warhammer and should be part of the basic game.

    Now we know what stops the 37 keys of Tzeentch, silenced the wispers of She-Who-Thirsts, breaks the bronze axe of the Blood God and is immune to the love of the Grand Father: a simple single pay-wall.

    (*) Unless it is behind a day 1 dlc wall