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Sega/Sammy Holding buys Creative Assembly (developers of the Total War series.)


Romier S
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In a somewhat suprising move Sega Sammy Holdings announced their intention to buyout UK based developer The Creative Assembly. Most will know the company name as the developers behind the Total War series including the recent Rome: Total War. The estimated buyout price is in the neighborhood of 30 million dollars. You can read more here .

 

The reasons for the acquisition were listed in an official capacity within the shareholders' Acquisition sheet, and read as follows:

 

 

"The markets of the consumer business, which Sega Sammy Group regards as one of its core businesses, have expanded rapidly in North America and Europe, while the Japanese market has seen sluggish growth. Hence, for our business development in the future, the North American and European markets have been growing in importance. Under these circumstances, Sega Sammy Group is promoting the concentration of its management resources on growth areas in its consumer business, relocation of its development resources for better productivity and unification of its development and marketing strategies.

 

The Creative Assembly Ltd. has produced good results and has an established brand identity with the "Total War" PC series, whose titles have sold over a million throughout North America and Europe. By acquiring the shares of The Creative Assembly Ltd., Sega Sammy Group will be able to obtain competitive titles and a strong brand in the North American and European markets, in addition to expand product lines and increase sales volumes dramatically. Furthermore, we believe that we will be able to make good use of the development engines produced by The Creative Assembly Ltd. to expand future titles, as well as developing new ventures for next-generation platforms with the team."

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That's a curious bit of news isn't it? (the console game). Last year before Rome came out they did say they were already working on a new era to tackle in the total war series, plus they were looking to revisit an older total war game with the new engine at some point. Honestly if anything disrupts those plans or the high standards that team put out and something bad happens to my beloved Total War series I will not be a happy gamer.

 

What?s worse is I hate doubting the SEGA name these days, a name I once held so very dear to my heart. It?s a tragedy.

 

Daniel

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From what I've heard on the grapevine, this console game is in addition to the PC series, and is being developed by a different team (CA have a studio in the UK & a studio down under). Sega Europe are really trying to get a leg-up into the PC market, and this is another smart move by them after the longterm publishing deal with Sports Interactive.

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It actually doesn't sound like they're expanding into the PC market, which is the only reason my reaction when I read the story was also "CRAP!". Check out Gamespot's article here:

 

http://www.gamespot.com/news/2005/03/09/news_6120096.html

 

The news arrived at the same time the two companies made public an agreement to develop and publish the new action game Spartan: Total Warrior.

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The buyout means that the traditionally console-centric Sega is now owner of the creator of the Total War series, including GameSpot Game of the Year 2004 nominee Rome: Total War. Indeed, the revelation that Spartan: Total Warrior would be a current-generation console game shows that the Creative Assembly's energies are already being redirected away from the PC market.

 

It's obvious Sega has other plans. To use the Total War franchise as a platform for console games. Notice there was absolutely no mention of any new entries in the Total War franchise, not even talks of an expansion pack in the works. Instead, Sega announces Total Warrior for GC, Xbox, and PS2. I just hope Sega in their infinite wisdom do not destroy the Total War franchise.

 

Just the kind of news item that pisses a person off. :bh

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No, Brian is entirely correct. A SEGA Europe PR Executive is in fact writing an editorial feature about such plans for the PC and western games markets to be published this weekend on GameCentral, which is a teletext based games magazine were have on TV here.

 

I'll transcribe any of it that is of interest. GameCentral's post about the SEGA/Creative Assembly news this morning still noted SEGA will be publishing future PC Total War games, there is no threat to them being released.... a threat to the quality remains to be seen. As I say, if the team there themselves is not disrupted there shouldn't be a reason for quality to be threatened. Like Brian though, I am just dismayed by such a quality British independent developer being bought out. It?d be ironic if SEGA ended up understanding the PC market better than they do the modern console one.

 

Daniel

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It?d be ironic if SEGA ended up understanding the PC market better than they do the modern console one.

 

Sega Europe have signed longterm deals with Sports Interactive, makers of the insanely successful Championship Manager series (now Football Manager of course) and now bought out Creative Assembly, makers of the million selling Total War series. So far, they're making the right moves.

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Well as promised I transcribed the editorial from one of Sega Europe?s PR Executives that was posted at Gamecentral on TV here over the weekend. Quite typically from someone of his position, it reads as little else but marketing waffle, but at least he admits as much by the end. It?s very much ?this is who we are, this is what we have, but I can?t necessarily predict what we?re going to do with it all??

 

I?ve seen a lot of negative comments about ?Sega?s legion of commercial blunders? and an ?almost perverse inability to pick the right combination of game and format?. Others have suggested that Sega?s innovation and creativity dried up a long time ago ? surviving solely on the merits of classic titles gone by.

 

Some people feel that Sega no longer has the freedom to produce innovative titles. Although the company has gone through a lot of changes in recent years, including the much publicised merger, the same immensely talented developers are still working on great games in Japan. The commercial success of Sonic Heroes allows the company to produce more pioneering titles like Project Rub.

 

Another point is that some people feel Sega don?t have the commercial business sense to make its titles work outside of Japan. We are now a publisher with out sites set firmly forward.

 

Unlike other start up publishers, we?re lucky that we?ve got a massive head start with a successful arcade business and a huge amount of game design experience. We?re in a dream position that allows us to work closely with our own teams as well as local developers on Sega?s IPs like Outrun 2.

 

Lastly, we?re working with the cream of British and European developers and on new brands like Football Manager and it?s not going to end there.

 

It?s been a busy couple of days in the office as Sega Europe has just made its first purchase of a western developer in the form of The Creative Assembly. We?ve also recently announced a new racing studio to be base in the UK.

 

This amount of planning and investment can only mean one thing ? Sega is listening to the needs of the market and planning on sticking around for a long time to come.

 

I can only apologise if anything I?ve said may have sounded like a bit of a corporate message, but I wanted to convey that the mood in Sega is upbeat. Having been very lucky to be privy to the company?s home-grown offerings for E3 and beyond, I can say, hand on heart that there?s really no reason to keep looking back with blue-tinted glasses.

- Stefan McGarry (SEGA Europe PR executive)

 

Daniel

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