Paradox Interactive, the Swedish mob who've made or published games from Crusader Kings II to Cities: Skylines, have opened a new studio fronted by an old name. Paradox Tectonic in Berkley, California is lead by Rod Humble, the fella who was in charge of The Sims at EA for several years before becoming CEO of Second Life devs Linden Labs. They're working on a mysterious unannounced all-new game, which sounds like it'll continue his interest in open games where people can be expressive. I would flip if Paradox challenge EA with a Sims-y game but steady on there Alice, don't jump to any conclusions yet. Be cool.
"Our aim with Paradox Tectonic is to create open, fun, beautiful games which respect the players' intelligence and enables their creativity, freedom, emotion, and sharing," Rod Humble said in today's announcement.
It sounds like the studio head has got some of his old gang back together too. And read a business lingo phrasebook.
"Our studio structure is using best practices for modern development: a flat organisation in a low-friction environment with a team of highly experienced domain experts," Humble continued. "It's a privilege to be reunited with so many world-class colleagues from so many triple-A projects, and the team and I are delighted to join Paradox and be part of driving the company's next cycle of growth. Our shared values of quality and putting the customer first made Paradox the perfect fit for us."
The announcement did not give the slightest detail about what their first game actually is.
Yeah but what if The Sims? Half of Paradox's most-loved games are basically the Sims but drenched in blood, politics, and spreadsheets. Heck, The Sims already basically runs on the Paradox model of 'barebones and janky at launch; fixed-up later; years of expansions and updates; then finally a sequel which feels barebones cos it's missing years of expansions.' And Paradox do have experience with stealing EA's thunder, publishing Skylines after EA's bland latest SimCity. I am massively over-reaching here.
More likely Humble was a good fit for Paradox because of his experience with games that let people express themselves and play and generate weird stories, an interest deeply held by Paradox, The Sims, and Second Life. It's highly unlikely they said "Hey Rod, come do us one of these there Sims, okay?"
YEAH BUT WHAT IF?