Pan Macmillan is ready to unleash the spoils of its battle for publishing rights in Creative Assembly and SEGA’s bestselling game franchise, Total War.
The publisher won world rights in four titles in a joint deal with US sister company, Thomas Dunne Books, in October last year, beating competition from eight other houses. It has since sold rights in six further territories—Brazil, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy and Spain.
Macmillan will release the first title, Total War Rome: Destroy Carthage, on 3rd September, tying into the global release of Total War: Rome II, the next title in the strategic war game series. Set in 146BC, the novel charts the rise of Fabius Petronius Secundus, a Roman legionary and centurion who eventually becomes one of the first great generals of the Roman Empire.
Historian and author David Gibbins will be writing the series, having written seven previous historical adventure novels. He has a research fellowship at the University of Cambridge, and has lectured in archaeology, ancient history and art history.
Publisher Jeremy Trevathan said the series held a double appeal: “The ancient history market is still very robust, and every publisher seems to have their authors publishing in this area and they are all doing pretty well. I think what everyone pounced on, too, was that what you had here was [a gaming team] which is very engaged with the project.”
The stimulus for creating a series of books came from CA and SEGA, which had conducted research into its community of Total War gamers. The research found that 41% of their customers spent more than 50 hours playing each game, with 25% playing for over 100 hours. Research showed the average Total War player is older than the average gamer, better educated, tended to be a book readers, and wanted to hear more of the back-story of the characters, places and eras in the games.
Trevathan said the next title would also be centered around Rome, and will likely be released to tie into the release of the expanded version of Total War: Rome II. He described the games market as “a bit of a mirror” to publishing—the first release of a game tends to be the expensive edition (just as with hardbacks) accompanied by lots of PR and marketing.
He added: “I think we can reach out to people who are similar to [the game’s] fanbase who have never played the game before, and bring them into it—and the games will bring people to the books. There is a real synergy.”