Posts Tagged ‘Paradox Interactive’

Harder, better, faster, smoother: BattleTech’s big update does almost everything you want

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BattleTech might have stomped its way straight onto the turn-based mech combat throne, but while its central torso was strong and mighty, its outer armour sported a few noticeable holes. We’d been promised a patch that would introduce speed-up options for those who crave ’em (hello!), along with tackling its weirdly greedy GPU needs and adding new difficulty toggles for battle-scarred veterans who can blow through the campaign with their battle-scarred eyes closed.

Well, it’s here now. BattleTech v1.1 does a lot more than that, and the game feels and runs so much better for it, as well as providing me with a bunch of strong reasons to start a brand new campaign. That said, I’m not totally enamoured by exactly how they’ve implemented the speed toggles.
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What’s next for Crusader Kings 2, EUIV and Hearts of Iron IV DLC

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The Paradox DLC factory continues to diligently extend the lives of its myriad grand strategy romps, with all but Stellaris getting new DLC announcements at PDXCON last month. We’re getting restless pagan warriors, war elephants and even some sharks. If you can match the feature to the game, you get a polite nod of respect.

Rather than tiring you out, making you click on three articles like a thoughtless task master, I’ve gathered all the sizzling deets in one place. Rest those fingers and direct your eyes below to find out what’s changing in Hearts of Iron 4, Europa Universalis 4 and Crusader Kings 2.

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Surviving Mars’ new, free DLC tries harder to stop you surviving

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You can go a whole game of Surviving Mars without triggering one of its ‘Mysteries’, though that’s as much to do with a slightly dodgy interface as it is personal choice. But when you do the flip the switch and welcome uncertainty into your citizens’ delicate lives, everything gets upended. I won’t soon forget the legion of floating orbs that sucked all the heat out of my colony, killing hundreds. They’re one giant leap into the fantastical from a game that is otherwise fairly sedate about its sci-fi, but I dig the option to wilfully remix things once your base-building turns staid – it reminds me of triggering a disaster in SimCity 2000, just to sadistically mix things up.

So I’m glad to hear that the latest round of free DLC for Haemimont’s mostly great red planet management sim introduces three more ‘Mysteries’ with which to optionally traumatise your off-world colonists. As well as meaning you won’t just run into the same few scenarios in a new playthrough, they give you new things to deal with in your current one.
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Paradox buying BattleTech studio Harebrained Schemes

Paradox Interactive have announced they are buying Harebrained Schemes, expanding their power as the heavyweight champ of traditional PC gaming. Y’know, Paradox, the Swedish mob who make games including Crusader Kings II and Stellaris as well as publishing loads more. And y’know, Harebrained Schemes, the American studio behind Shadowrun and BattleTech – and which was co-founded by a fella who helped create those tabletop worlds, Jordan Weisman. Paradox published BattleTech and evidently they got on so well they want to tie the knot. It sounds like the plan is for Harebrained to continue as before, including making more BattleTech, only now with more security. Read the rest of this entry »

Being a bad dad in Crusader Kings The Board Game

Crusader Kings

It didn’t take long for the deals to start flying across the table. We hovered over the weathered map of medieval Europe, shouting out offers and threats between excursions to the Holy Land. There were marriage proposals, bribes and even an assassination plot or two. Like its PC progenitor, Crusader Kings The Board Game has a knack for generating stories, but it does it in a couple of hours, not a couple of days.

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Europa Universalis IV waging war in another real castle when Grandest LAN Party returns

Power-hungry Europa Universalis IV players in capes and funny hats will stalk the halls of a Polish castle when the historical grand strategy game’s four-day LAN-o-LARP event ‘The Grandest LAN Party’ returns in November. We sent our boy Brendy to last year’s forty-person rumble, and his twopart report on the intrigue and drama of diplomats skulking around a castle and holding secret talks while their teammates played the video game still delights me. What a strange and wonderful event. EU4 devs Paradox and event organisers Dziobak LARP Studios today opened ticket sales, and if you’re crafty and loaded you might fancy a look. Read the rest of this entry »

Surviving Mars ‘Curiosity’ update teaches old domes new tricks

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Red planet colonisation sim Surviving Mars did a mostly stand-up job of transplanting Sim City tropes to a hostile new world, but a slightly iffy interface and an inflexible aesthetic perhaps meant that its high-stakes potato-farming wasn’t always as epic as hoped. As is increasingly tradition for Paradox-published games – hey-o, Stellaris and Cities: Skylines – it seems long-term refinement is very much plan. We’ve had two major updates since its March launch, adding features and tweaking annoyances, and this week sees the third, ‘Curiosity.’

This performs some pretty signficant user interface-reworking, but clearly the first thing we’ll all be cooing at is the different dome designs it’s adding to the hitherto ‘any shape you want, so long as it’s an upside-down pudding bowl’ options. In other words, Surviving Mars is now even better suited to taking screenshots that look like prog-rock LP covers.
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Age of Wonders: Planetfall makes a great case for leaving fantasy behind

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For nearly two decades, the Age of Wonders series has been firmly entrenched in a fantasy realm, with all the tropes that accompany it: Orcs, Halflings, meddling wizards and flying lizards. Triumph Studios’ latest 4X outing, Age of Wonders: Planetfall, does away with all of that. It swaps magic for mechs, pitting alien races against each other in a galaxy reeling from the collapse of the last great space empire, the Star Union.

“We’ve been working on fantasy games all our lives, but we also had the fantasy of making a sci-fi game,” says Lennart Sas, Triumph Studios’ CEO. “It gives us more opportunities than a direct sequel would ever give us. It’s a good middle-ground between doing something that’s close to our hearts, but also something that allows us to experiment.”

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Oi! Cities: Skylines launches DLC known as Parklife

Now that summer is near, Cities: Skylines developers Colossal Order are taking a break from disasters and management to kick back with the Parklife expansion. Released today, it lets builders fancy up their cities with amusement parks, nature reserves, zoos, sightseeing bus tours, and other sources of summertime fun.

As with all the Paradox expansions, so many Paradox expansions, this goes hand-in-hand with a free update adding new features for all players. Expect new props for parks, new models for tourists, and loads of tweaks and fixes. Read the rest of this entry »

Imperator: Rome has a world ripe for conquest

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When Paradox unveiled the map for its latest grand strategy romp, Imperator: Rome, I don’t mind admitting that I made an involuntary noise that normally only comes out of me when I’m biting into something delicious and unhealthy. It is excellent map porn. Zoomed out, it’s clean and no-nonsense, but when you narrow your focus, it explodes with colour and detail, particularly on the coast, where golden beaches hit seas gorgeous enough that you’ll want to lap them up. Europa Universalis looks drab in comparison.

It makes an excellent first impression, but it doesn’t have many opportunities to make a second one. While Imperator is due out in 2019, the build I got to see is still so early on that, were I to get a glimpse of any other corner of the map, I’d only see barren wastelands waiting for the touch of an artist.

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Stellaris blasts off to Distant Stars in new DLC

Travel beyond the limits of known space to a mysterious cut-off cluster in the new Stellaris DLC, the ‘Distant Stars Story Pack’, which could open up powerful shortcuts across space but miiight have been closed off for a good reason. But obviously you’re going to stick your spaceoar in and see what’s up. What are you, spacechicken? Distant Stars also includes new anomalies to investigate and new Leviathans to meet.

As is often the way with Paradox strategy game expansions, it’s accompanied by a free update which reworks parts of the base game. Expect new binary and trinary star systems, anomaly studies no longer having a chance to fail, and other tweakies. Read the rest of this entry »

Hearts of Iron IV dips a toe in the ocean with Man the Guns

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First launched in 2016, Hearts of Iron IV is yet another of the grand strategy games to come from the great grand strategy Santa’s Workshop known as Paradox Interactive. Mixing sandbox style play and real-time war simulation, the title allows you to start in 1936 or 1939 and take one control of one great power — leading them to victory over the rest of the, you know, World War. Today, the third major expansion for the game was announced. Man the Guns develops the naval side of war, including the addition of modular design for warships.

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Holy Fury will expand Crusader Kings II

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As part of this avalanche of Paradox Interactive material today, you’ll be excited to hear that the hyper-specific bread and butter of their strategy games, Crusader Kings II, is getting an expansion born of pure hellfire. The Holy Fury add-on will be changing the way crusades are waged, from starting in a randomly generated map to raiding something called “Pagan Warrior Lodges” to using special powers to antagonize or control your neighbors. Exactly as Jesus would have wanted.

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Paradox announce new grand strategy Imperator: Rome

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I think we’ve all been there. You’ve centralized power by taking over most of the known world. You’re feeling pretty chill about your choices and how you’ve bent the continent to your iron will. That’s when some of your buddies are like “nah brah” and you get super-stabbed to death. Not chill. Not chill at all. Well, now you can bring home all the fun of this highly relatable situation, via Paradox Interactive’s upcoming grand strategy title Imperator: Rome.

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Age of Wonders: Planetfall takes the wonder to the stars

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From the creators of Age of Wonders and Overlord, today we got the announcement of the new tactical-turn based combat strategy title Age of Wonders: Planetfall. The 4X empire building adventure will take the familiar gameplay elements and immersive tactical combat of previous titles, but into the stars this time! Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait until 2019 to do so. Look, can living in the super-future wait a year? I don’t think so either. I desire to leave this planet now. Paradox, I know that Sweden is more fun and accepting than where I’m trapped. Please. Please just send this my way.

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Old World Blues translates Fallout to grand strategy

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Democracy is on the brink of collapse. Caesar’s Legion, the authoritarian slave state across the Colorado River, has launched a massive assault on the last, best chance for freedom in the post-apocalyptic world of Fallout. It’s a grim certainty in Old World Blues that the New California Republic will fight Caesar’s Legion: they’re the wasteland’s two superpowers, diametrically opposed ideologically, each expanding towards the other. I just thought I was better prepared. While Caesar was annihilating every ill-defended tribe to the west, I was rearming, inviting new states into the republic, and admittedly annexing a few tribes myself. With the game paused, I assess my options, reorganise my armies and ask, finally, does democracy die in 2279?

Old World Blues is a mod for Hearts of Iron IV which transports the World War II grand strategy game hundreds of years forward into the post-apocalyptic American west coast of the Fallout series. Players select a faction in the year 2275 and attempt to survive and thrive in the west coast wasteland. Structurally, it’s similar to Hearts of Iron IV, but the content and style has been transformed. Old World Blues is tremendously fun, comparable in quality to the standard Hearts of Iron IV game, and it does a terrific job of translating Fallout to grand strategy. Read the rest of this entry »

BattleTech update 1 will bring speed-up options, more customisation and UI improvement

Bad news for people who love it when I bang on about BattleTech‘s speed/delay problems every single time I post about it: the devs are planning to offer “accelerated combat options” in a month or two. More unit customisation, difficulty settings and UI improvements are also due in the first major update, though ahead of that, they’ll be breaking out their welding torches and fixing up this thing’s slightly unstable legs.
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Stellaris’ next expansion tells tales of new horizons

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One of the best things about Paradox’s increasingly feature-studded and DLC-expanded 4X strategy sandbox Stellaris is its focus on storytelling. In the vein of Crusader Kings 2, you’ll find yourself frequently confronted with decisions to make as the ever-living Emperor Of Space, which can often spiral into lengthy story arcs with sometimes spectacular end results. The next expansion for the game, Distant Stars, will be adding a good chunk more interactive prose to flesh out exploring the far fringes of the galaxy, adding a multitude of story arcs short and long to the mix.

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Stellaris update 2.1 will rework anomalies and nudge space monsters out of your hyperlanes

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I really want to get into Stellaris. I find myself buying every major expansion close to its release, convincing myself that late-game megastructures, role-playing as a robot or blowing up planets will be the hook that reels me in. Every time, I merrily launch into a fresh game – only to find my fun dissolving into work once I’m a few hours in.

“But that’s the best bit!”, you say. “Roaming the galaxy and discovering strange worlds with stranger stories is the most alluring step towards a fantastic sci-fi experience!”. Paradox are making that step even easier to take with update 2.1 by removing failure risk from anomaly research, and rejigging hyperlanes so space-nasties don’t get placed on chokepoints. I’m glad to see changes are still arriving that shake up the early game – perhaps they’ll be enough for me to stick with a galaxy long enough to actually build a goddamn Dyson Sphere.

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Cities: Skylines aims to please all the people in Parklife

So many people

It feels rare for a week to go by where Paradox don’t announce another expansion for their growing stable of strategy and simulation sandboxes, but it’s also hard to complain when they look as nice as Parklife, the next expansion for Cities: Skylines. Adding yet another direction for your perfect city to grow in, Parklife – unsurprisingly – spans parks of all kinds, from national forests full of hiking trails right up to cash-guzzling corporate theme parks, and it’s due out next month.

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