Developed by turn-based strategy champions The Creative Assembly, Total War: Arena was announced in 2013 as a free-to-play multiplayer-focused instalment to the enduring series. Sega has now announced a partnership with World of Tanks developer Wargaming that sees the latter—under a new and separate label, Wargaming Alliance—take the reigns as Arena's exclusive publisher.
Wargaming Alliance's head honcho, Vladimir Makarychev, notes Arena's official release is "still a while away", however The Creative Assembly's Tim Heaton tells PC Gamer a robust player pool has existed since day one.
"Total War: ARENA has had a strong, dedicated fan base from the start which we involved closely throughout the early development stages of the game," he says. "Most of the initial players we invited into the game were from the Total War community, we then started to see growth into wider communities. Now, with the Wargaming Alliance partnership we are able to expand further by reaching out to their substantial subscriber-base and beyond."
Echoing this idea of exposure, Sega Europe's president Jurgen Post tells us Wargaming's "unrivalled expertise in the [free-to-play] market," has been integral to the collaboration—and Heaton goes as far to say it's the "perfect match". He does however underscore the fact The Creative Assembly is "still very much at the development helm", and while working in close conjunction with Wargaming Alliance, he and his team will continue to operate from their Horsham UK office.
"If you put Sega, Wargaming and Creative Assembly together, you get a real dream team," says Makarychev of the partnership. "Sega adds their expertise in promoting and evolving big video game franchises into the mix. Together, we’ll work to deliver to players worldwide a AAA product with a low barrier to entry, immersive, deep gameplay, fair free-to-play monetization, the rich history (that the franchise has), and a global community of support services. On top of that, Total War: Arena will get access to the Wargaming player base (over 100M worldwide) upon its launch.
"That’s quite a kick start, don’t you think? I couldn’t think of a partnership with more potential. We’re onto something massive here!"
Total War: Arena is without a release date for now, however more information can be found via the Wargaming Alliance site. In the meantime, here's the latest trailer: