Posts Tagged ‘Paradox Development Studio’

Civ V designer Jon Shafer parts with Paradox, “creative differences” blamed

Jon Shafer, the lead designer of Firaxis’s Civilization V and his own strategy game At the Gates, is gone from strategy specialists Paradox only six months after joining. Paradox say neither that he ditched the company nor that they fired him, rather that they have all “decided to part ways due to creative differences.” How enigmatic! We didn’t even know what he was working on. Read the rest of this entry »

It’s grand strat-a-day: Crusader Kings II and EU IV both expand today

ck2-jade-dragon

With this week’s release of Star Wars: Battlecrate 2 marking the end of big, noisy shooter silly season, there’s a whole lot more breathing space for a wider variety of games. Case in point, a double-whammy of DLC for Paradox’s grand strategy heaviest-hitters, Crusader Kings II and Europa Universalis IV.

Big add-ons for both have landed today, with CK2: Jade Dragon putting China front’n’centre, and EUIV: Cradle of Civilization looking at the state of the Middle East and Asia during the early modern era.

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Hearts of Iron IV prods China in Waking The Tiger

The next expansion for WW2 grand strategy game Hearts of Iron IV will focus on China, developers Paradox have announced. Waking the Tiger is its name and making China more unique is its game. They’ll get new artwork for units as well as National Focus trees to play as either the Chinese Republic or Communist China. The expansion will also bring new alternate history options for Japan and Germany, including ways to topple Hitler and take Germany in a different direction. In a funny little twist, the announcement of this China-centric expansion comes just weeks after Hearts of Iron IV was removed from sale on Steam in China “due to a claim that the game does not comply with local law.” It’s like rain on your wedding day.

As ever with Paradox strategy expansions, a free new patch bringing game changes for everyone will accompany the launch. Read the rest of this entry »

Stellaris FTL changes are in the warp pipes

Chaos is a lapser

Paradox is packing everyone onto the space-highway, and reworking how FTL travel works in their galactic 4X game, Stellaris. While you can currently choose either Warp, Hyperdrive or Wormholes as your space empire’s means of travel, Paradox have decided that having asymmetrical movement methods – while “an interesting idea on paper” – creates too many problems for features they’d like to implement. Once the Cherryh update hits, every player will start with Hyperdrive technology only. That means every player will (with a few exceptions) be limited to travelling via pre-determined space lanes, which constitutes a major change to the game’s core systems. One of those X’s does stand for (shudder) Xploration, after all.

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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 »

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 »

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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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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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 »

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 »

Hearts of Iron 4 celebrates first birthday with free DLC

It seems unconventional to celebrate what is essentially World War 2 kicking off but hey, Hearts of Iron IV [official site] launched a year ago today and Paradox are marking it with the gift of free DLC. The small ‘Anniversary Pack’ freebie brings Polish voices for Polish troops, twenty new portraits for leaders and generals, and twenty new icons for divisions. Not huge, but nice to have.

Paradox have also crunched some numbers from the past year of play, noting that the active playerbase is still growing, and sharing stats such as: 60% players use mods. Read the rest of this entry »

Paradox on the future of historical strategy, RPGs and their internal development studio

At the Paradox Convention last month, I was hoping to see something new from Paradox Development Studio, the internal team responsible for the company’s core strategy titles. There were new expansions for Europa Universalis IV [official site] and Hearts of Iron IV [official site], and the hiring of Jon Shafer is an interesting move, but no actual games were announced. I sat down with creative director Johan Andersson and CEO Fredrik Wester about the possibility of a Crusader Kings [official site] sequel, the expansion model, and what the future holds for the development side of Paradox.

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DLC double bill for Europa Universalis 4 & Hearts of Iron 4 on June 14th

Paradox have announced a historical grand strategy expansion blowout-o-rama for June 14th, when they’ll launch the Third Rome ‘immersion pack’ for Europa Universalis IV [official site] and the Death or Dishonor ‘country pack’ for Hearts of Iron IV. Yup, both on the very same day. Paradox had a similar plan in April, releasing Europa Universalis and Stellaris expansions on the same day, so I guess they’re confident a grand strategy double-header is not as odd an idea as it might seem. For players who do want both of ’em, Paradox will offer a small discount. It’s a war-o-rama. Read the rest of this entry »

War is changing in Crusader Kings 2

Forget everything Fallout has ever taught you because war is changing. We already knew about upcoming geographical expansions in Crusader Kings II [official site], making areas that were previously impassable playable, but fresh news arrived in today’s dev diary and it involves changes to fundamental systems. The major shift will be in the causes of war, which will no longer require justification in every instance. That could be a dramatic change, given that one of the most important aspects of CK II is the need for a Casus Belli to not only declare war but to inform the goals of a war. The other alterations will come in battle itself, specifically sieges. More below.

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Jon Shafer on designing Civilization 5, joining Paradox and making strategy games better

Jon Shafer was 21 years old when he became lead designer of Civilization V. Now working at Paradox on an unannounced project and on his own historical strategy game At The Gates in his spare time, he says he’s learning from the likes of Spelunky along with the more obvious strategic influences. We spoke about how the second half of every Civ sucks, the part the series played in his life, the perils of boredom in strategy design, how much we love maps, and what the future holds for both Shafer and Paradox.

I began by asking how he ended up sitting at the Paradox Convention, in Stockholm, the city that has now been his home for two weeks: “It’s quite a long story, actually.”

That story begins in Denver, around 2003.

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Crusader Kings 2 expanding eastward

Crusader Kings 2 [official site] is secretly Crusader Kings 5 or 6. The specific number isn’t important; the point is, Paradox’s alternate history generator has grown in all directions since release. The timeline covered has expanded, the map is much bigger, there are more cultures and religions, and you can join a cult and give birth to the antichrist.

There wasn’t an official expansion announcement at PDXCON, the media event and fan gathering that I returned from yesterday, but today game director Henrik Fåhraeus published a post discussing some future changes. The playable world is getting bigger, again: “the Himalayas and the vast Tibetan plateau” are opening for business.

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Fight me! Stellaris beta patch fixes AI not declaring war

War has returned to the galaxy with a hasty hotfix for Stellaris [official site], clearing up some big problems created by the recent update 1.6 (nicknamed ‘Adams’). Here’s the biggest one: AI factions were not declaring war. That’s a bold utopian vision of our spacefuture but a bit wonky for a game full of spacewar. That’s a mighty embarrassing bug, both for developers Paradox and for me. I’ve been feeling chuffed about my diplomatic skills in my current game but, er, nope, my spacepeacocks flourished because my rivals were entirely unable to spacepunch me in my beautiful spaceface. Read the rest of this entry »