Posts Tagged ‘Paradox Interactive’

Has Stellaris been improved by its updates?

stellaris-head

Hi! I’m an incredibly charismatic space otter, and I love you! Not just you! I love everyone, be they otter analogues, bird people, or particularly advanced fungal infections! I even love murderous robots, which I’m aware is not a great idea because they’re murderous robots!

At least that’s what StellarisScyldari would say, if they could do anything apart from bat their ears adorably on the game’s menu screens. Paradox’s Stellaris is freeform grand strategy, in the mould of the developer’s other games Europa Universalis and Crusader Kings, and as such is much more about numbers and menus than cut-scenes or narrative arcs. Read the rest of this entry »

Kings of the castle: the forty-person strategy game of Europa Universalis IV held in a Polish fortress, part 2

eu4-castle-big-2

We sent Brendan to a castle in Poland to witness a giant session of strategy game Europa Universalis IV [official site]. In this final report, he tells us of the manipulative merchant kings of India, and how blood money corrupted the world. You can read part 1 here

I’m eating soup with the ministers from Malaysia, Italy and Bavaria when the head diplomat of Mughal India comes to our table and starts talking about money again. His long black robe flows over his thin frame, a matching velvet cap on his curly dark hair.

“The Ottoman have trade locked up,” he says. The Italian minster smiles. You can always trust a Mughal to talk about markets. Soon, all the world leaders at the table are speaking in impenetrable detail about world affairs – intricacies and intrigue, money and merchants. It’s like sitting in a restaurant with the Illuminati. They smirk, they joke, they laugh. Tomorrow, they will be at war. Anywhere between 7-10 million people will die.
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Kings of the castle: the forty-person strategy game of Europa Universalis IV held in a Polish fortress, part 1

eu4-castle-big-1

We sent Brendan to a castle in Poland to witness a giant session of strategy game Europa Universalis IV [official site]. In the first of a two-part report, he tells us of war-hungry Germans, scheming Saxons and unlucky Irish – the victims and villains of an epic four-day LAN party

I wake up to the sound of muskets. Outside, the ministers of France, Japan and Hanover are shooting 17th century flintlock rifles at nothing in particular. Two helpers, holding belts of wooden jars strung together like sausages, refill the guns of the world leaders with an eardrum-shattering amount of gunpowder. I plug my ears as they fire into the air. I want to ask the ministers from Hanover about the war. One million people have died – 292,000 from starvation and freezing, the rest from bullets and sabers. But all talk of treaties, battles, deals and diplomacy has been put to one side, replaced with deafening bangs and childish giggles. I stuff my hands in my pockets and walk back to the castle. Welcome to the strangest game of Europa Universalis IV ever played. Read the rest of this entry »

40 people are playing Europa Universalis IV together in a real castle

Castling is a good tactic in chess but perhaps less so in EU4

[Update: the organisers have now set up a Twitch livestream for this, which you can see here]

Hello from Poland, where I am currently living in a castle with forty angry strategy gamers. The castle is Zamek Czocha, a 13th century fortress that has been occupied more times than an airport toilet cubicle. This week its invaders are the Grandest LAN Party, a giant multiplayer match of historical strategy game Europa Universalis IV [official site]. This is normally a game of slow and ponderous decisions on a big map of the world, but in this castle it also involves four days of clambering through secret chambers and crossing high balconies to talk to the representative of Norway about an underhanded alliance with Moldavia.
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Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization announced

I'd go for a little sleepie in a cradle right now.

Paradox’s historical strategy Europa Universalis IV [official site] will expand once more later this year with Cradle of Civilization, the next paid expansion. Its main focus is Muslim empires, expanding and reworking the Persian region and Islam. And as is the Paradox strategy way, the expansion will be accompanied by a free update bringing related changes for all players. Read the rest of this entry »

Stellaris timelapse shows 200 years passing in 5 minutes

Chaos is a lapser

One of my favourite genres of internet video is “Map of the world being rapidly warped by the rising and falling of civilisations as loud and menacing classical music plays in the background”. I like this one and this one and – ooooo – this one. So when confronted with a video suggestion of the same thing being done in interstellar strategy game Stellaris [official site], my heart was filled with a grubby, map-loving glee. Here you can see Volodymyr Valkiv’s game in which a scary red faction called “Chaos” slowly envelops the galaxy over 200 years. But with the magic of YouTube, it only takes 5 minutes. Come see. Read the rest of this entry »

Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn activated today

Whether you want to assimilate organic life, purge it from the galaxy, or coddle it like helpless spacebabies, Stellaris [official site] has your robotic fantasies covered in its Synthetic Dawn add-on. Launched today, it lets players create their own robotic empire from the start (as opposed to transcending their flesh in the late game) with their own civics, buildings, events, perks, and so on. It’ll also bring eccentric Fallen machine empires, the risk of machine uprisings creating their own empires, and more.

In the usual Paradox way, the DLC launch is accompanied by a huge patch bringing changes and new bits to all players of the space strategy game. Read the rest of this entry »

Steel Division: Normandy 44 due boatload of free content

steel division

The team behind World War II RTS Steel Division: Normandy 44 [official site] recently detailed everything that’s coming to the game before the end of the year, including its first DLC – which will arrive this month – and a boatload of free stuff.

On the free side, a new game mode, two ace units (special, historical personalities that replace units of a similar type), four regular units, and two co-op missions are in the works. These will be added in updates that might stretch into early next year, developers Eugen Systems say.

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Judge Tyranny: Bastard’s Wound today

tyranny

If finishing Tyranny [official site] has left a hole that can only be filled by subjugating peasants and acting like a magical Judge Dredd, don’t fret. Bastard’s Wound, the first — but hopefully not last — Tyranny expansion is due out today. Better dust off that gavel.

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Rise up against the meatbags in Stellaris’ Synthetic Dawn DLC this month

synthetic dawn

Paradox Interactive have, unfortunately, shed their fleshy shells and embraced the ways of the machine, and they’re now slyly spreading pro-robot propaganda through the latest DLC story pack for Stellaris [official site], Synthetic Dawn. It’ll let you make all manner of machine societies when the singularity begins on September 21.

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“If you treat them as the enemy, it’s not going to be a good relationship.” Obsidian’s Feargus Urquhart on publishers

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Since its foundation in 2003, Obsidian Entertainment has worked with seven different publishers. Commencing with LucasArts on Knights of the Old Republic II, Obsidian has since signed contracts with Atari, SEGA, Bethesda, Square Enix, Ubisoft and most recently, Paradox Interactive. In fact, up until Pillars of Eternity [official site], every single game Obsidian had made was funded and distributed by a different publisher.

This is a highly unusual state of affairs, and has proved precarious more than once in the company’s history. But it has also provided Obsidian with a unique insight into how the world of publishing works, and how the relationship between developer and publisher has changed in the last couple of decades. This topic is especially pertinent today, as new methods of funding and distributing games have seen a significant shift in the power dynamic between developers and publishers.

I spoke to CEO Feargus Urquhart about how it all works (and doesn’t).

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I’m guilty of doing very silly things to Bohemia in Europa Universalis 4

bohemia

As a wayward youth, I spent many an hour scribbling willies of all shapes and sizes on school jotters. As a respectable, responsible adult, I’ve graduated to ruining multiplayer games instead. Specifically online games of Europa Universalis 4. Bohemia is my muse, and I’ll never stop trying to make it look like a winky.

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Exploring the dark side of Cities: Skylines – Green Cities

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Green Cities might look like urban paradise, but beneath the lush vertical gardens, something sinister is percolating. Sure, the draped greenery clinging to the side of the new high density apartment blocks looks attractive, but it’s also reminiscent of post-human imagery; nature reclaiming the land. Zoom out far enough, so that the little cars and people are less apparent, and it’s not a great leap from green city to Twelve Monkeys, I Am Legend and The Last Of Us.

But forget the future for a moment because the now of Cities: Skylines [official site] upcoming expansion isn’t the paradise it initially seems to be. Your attempts to create an environmentally friendly utopia might end with the construction of a new Silicon Valley. The road to hell is paved with reclaimed wood and good intentions.

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Meteors rain on the Red Planet in Surviving Mars trailer

surviving mars

Surviving Mars [official site] looks like it’s shaping up nicely, if you ask me. Made by Tropico 3 developers Haemimont, it’s a base-building game set on the Red Planet in which you hunt for resources to power settlements housed in giant glass domes.

Judging by the new trailer, featuring the first in-game footage, it’s one to keep an eye on: there’s the snappy animations of games like Cities: Skyline (which shares a publisher – Paradox Interactive) when you place a structure down, be that a twirling generator or a solar panel. And those domes are full of colour and provide a real contrast to the red around them. But, as the trailer suggests, it’s not simply an idyllic space holiday because there will be disasters like meteor strikes to try and get through.

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Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon expansion announced

The next expansion for Crusader Kings II [official site] will introduce China as a power offering potential riches or ruin depending on how you play the cards. Paradox today announced the Jade Dragon expansion, “coming soon”. It’s not properly adding China to the world of Crusader Kings II, mind, rather as an “off-map influence” accessed through a “China screen” with the pertinent options and information. No, that’s not nearly as fun. Read the rest of this entry »

Tyranny: Bastard’s Wound starts oozing in September

Oh so it’s fine for Obsidian to name the first Tyranny [official site] expansion Bastard’s Wound but it’s “inappropriate” and “a sackable offence” for me to rename the RPS news section to Horace’s **** Shower of ****shack Bucket**** [that is correct -ed.]. Wow, what a double standard! Fine then. Bastard’s Wound, you may already know, is off to a new area for ten or so hours of questing and to better get to know several companions. Now publishers Paradox have announced that Bastard’s Wound will launch on September 7th, two weeks away. Read the rest of this entry »

Cities: Skylines erects Green Cities expansion this year

If the recent launch of the Concerts “mini-expansion” for Cities: Skylines [official site] made you wish the city-builder would get something more substantial, good news! Paradox today announced the Green Cities expansion for release later this year. As you might expect, it will let you turn your cities all hippy-dippy with everything from organic shops to plant-clad buildings. It bungs in a load of new assets for these and more, which should be nice for making cities more varied. Have a peek in the trailer: Read the rest of this entry »

Fyre it up! Cities: Skylines launches Concerts DLC

How difficult can organising a music festival be? Oh, right. Well! If you’ve got the moxie despite being woefully underqualified, you can now step up and organise concerts with the latest “mini-expansion” for city-builder Cities: Skylines [official site]. It lets players build festival grounds, host bands, and hopefully not end up with a musical mega-hell. It’s not a deep business simulation but might be a bit of fun to brighten up your city. Read the rest of this entry »

BattleTech delayed into 2018

The turn-based tactical BattleTech [official site] “is the mech game I’ve always wanted”, our Adam declared after playing a bit. “It’s likely to be one of my favourite games of 2017,” he said. Well then. Let’s blame him for flipping well jinxing it, as BattleTech is now delayed. It was due later this year but is instead now pushed into some time in “early 2018”. Why the delay? The people making BattleTech — Shadowrun Returns devs Harebrained Schemes — say it’s to make the game good, yeah? Read the rest of this entry »

Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn DLC adding proper robot civs

It’s robo a go-go with the next Stellaris [official site] DLC, Paradox announced today. Due later this year, the Synthetic Dawn Story Pack DLC will let players start as mechanical men, with new events, ships, traits, story beats, and so on. The spacefaring strategy game already lets players transcend their flesh and become synthetics deep down a tech tree but ick, who wants to have ever been meat at all? Shameful.

As is customary, a big free update will launch alongside this paid expansion. Update 1.8, nicknamed ‘Čapek’ after the Czech writer who popularised the word ‘robot’, brings changes to habitability, hive minds, and more. Read the rest of this entry »