The Total War series is finally playing around in a Chinese setting, and now that country is paying developer Creative Assembly back with success. Total War: Three Kingdoms has surpassed 1 million copies sold, according to publisher Sega. It accomplished this feat in under a week. The strategy battler went live on Steam on May 23 for $60.
Total War is a long-running series where players control small armies in real-time conflicts. The franchise has always had a significant audience, but Three Kingdoms is reaching another level. That is due in part to the positive reception from fans and critics. But it’s the Chinese audience that is really setting Three Kingdoms apart from its predecessors in terms of sales.
“We knew we had something special with Three Kingdoms, but the response from players, old and new, has exceeded all expectations,” Sega chief product officer Rob Bartholomew said. “We’re seeing a lot of ‘best Total War ever’ comments out there. We’re very proud.”
This also represents the continued return-on-investment that Sega is earning from its focus on PC gaming. The publisher is probably still best known for its consoles and retro games like Sonic The Hedgehog. In recent years, however, it is turning into a PC-first business.
The biggest PC release so far this year
When Sega launched Total War: Three Kingdoms on May 23, it instantly turned into the biggest launch of the year on Steam. At least, that’s the case in terms of the number of concurrent online players.
On May 23, Three Kingdoms hit 191,000 peak concurrent players on the Steam platform. That put it ahead of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, which launched with 124,000 concurrent players in March.
In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, Bartholomew gave the credit to China and Valve growing the platform in new regions.
“Steam is obviously a really important partner for us,” said Bartholomew. “We tend to grow when Steam grows. But China, in particular, has dramatically moved up through the market share rankings for our titles over the last four or five years.”
Three Kingdoms tells the mythologized story of warlords fighting for power as the Han dynasty collapses in China. That premise is appealing to Chinese players, and it shows.