The Future of Creative Assembly: Doubling Down on Offline Real-time Strategy Games

Creative Assembly, a troubled game development studio, is making a strategic shift to focus on their strength in creating offline real-time strategy (RTS) games. This decision comes in the aftermath of their failed attempt to break into the competitive shooter market with the extraction FPS game, Hyenas. Sega, the owners of Creative Assembly, recently shared insights into their decision to cancel Hyenas after years of development, leading to layoffs within the UK studio.

Despite positive reception during the closed beta of Hyenas, Sega determined that the game would not meet the quality standards necessary for long-term success as a competitive online game. Haruki Satomi, Sega’s president and CEO, expressed concerns about the ability to sustain Hyenas as a profitable venture over time. This decision resulted in layoffs, as Creative Assembly faces the challenge of improving lost profitability caused by unexpected business changes within Sega.

Sega plans to undergo a wider “structural reform” within its consumer entertainment division, prompting a shift in focus for their studios. Rather than pursuing ambitious approaches, Sega aims to refocus on the respective strengths of each studio. Satomi emphasized the need for each studio to leverage their unique strengths and expertise to ensure success.

Creative Assembly, specifically, excels in creating offline RTS games, with their renowned Total War series being a prime example. Satomi acknowledged the studio’s proficiency in this genre, signaling a strategic decision to double-down on their strengths rather than venture into unfamiliar territories such as shooters or online titles.

The cancellation of Hyenas and the subsequent layoffs serve as valuable lessons for Creative Assembly and Sega. It highlights the importance of critically evaluating game development projects and ensuring they align with both the company’s expertise and market demand. Sega’s decision to focus on established strengths and prioritize profitability underscores the evolving nature of the gaming industry.

As Creative Assembly steers its course towards offline RTS games, fans of the studio can expect a renewed focus on delivering exceptional experiences within this genre. While the cancellation of some unannounced titles alongside Hyenas may disappoint some, the consolidation of efforts will enable Creative Assembly to allocate resources more effectively and produce high-quality games that resonate with their target audience.

The cancellation of Hyenas and the subsequent emphasis on offline RTS games mark a significant turning point for Creative Assembly. By recognizing and capitalizing on their strengths, the studio aims to regain profitability and deliver exceptional gaming experiences in their niche. As the industry continues to evolve, it is crucial for game developers to adapt their strategies and prioritize their core competencies to navigate the ever-changing landscape successfully. With Sega’s support, Creative Assembly is poised for a future that capitalizes on their expertise in offline RTS games, delighting fans and attracting new players alike.


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