Hankies at the ready, folks. Game developer The Creative Assembly, maker of the fine Total War strategy series, has paid an awesome tribute to one of its biggest, sadly departed fans.
Back in July, 24-year-old gamer and cancer patient James became the first outsider to play Total War: Rome 2 at Creative Assembly’s HQ in Horsham, UK. James’ visit to the studio was arranged by charity Willow, which organizes extraordinary days so that a terminally ill individual’s life can be temporarily brightened, creating a lasting memory for the patient and loved ones. James, who loved the Total War series, was accompanied on his visit by his brother.
On his tour of the studio – a visit that preceded any similar access for press – James was guided through the game’s creation, tried out code that was some way from alpha stage, and interviewed key development figures. He even had a chance to offer his own suggestions.
Perhaps best of all, James’ likeness will appear in the finished game. A digital James will play the role of a leading Roman soldier in Total War: Rome 2‘s depiction of the Siege of Carthage.
Sadly, James won’t be able to play as himself in the game; the keen strategy gamer lost his battle with liver cancer just weeks after his visit to Creative Assembly.
Reflecting on James’ visit, Total War community manager Craig Laycock described how the entire Creative Assembly team was “moved and humbled” to host James at the studio. He added:
“What really struck me was how my colleagues reacted to James coming in. I was inundated with emails offering help with James’ day. The tour organised itself, as the guys around me scrambled to show James what’s going into making Rome 2. James was remarkable on the day. His enthusiasm knew no bounds. He asked passionate questions and offered clear and concise suggestions on features for the game.
“When I recently learned that James had died, it was devastating. Even though I had only spent a few hours in his company, it was absolutely devastating, because he was able to show us all here in the studio how passionate he was for our games. And although he won’t get the chance to see Rome 2 released, he will live on in some small way in our game – and every time I see him I’ll be reminded of what a great guy he was.”
Those goddamn ninjas and their onions, right? Good on the guys at Willow and Creative Assembly for this, and RIP James.
Total War: Rome 2 will launch later this year for Windows PC.