Posts Tagged ‘Paradox Development Studio’

Imperator: Rome has a world ripe for conquest

Imperator

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 »

Stellaris’ next expansion tells tales of new horizons

WHAT WAS SHALL BE

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

stellaris2.1header

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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Wot I Think: Stellaris – Apocalypse

apocalypse

I’ve made a lot of galaxies and star empires this last week, and I’ve thrown most of them in the bin. The Stellaris 2.0 update and the accompanying Apocalypse DLC have blown this 4X game to bits, along with my fleets as I’ve tried to wrap my head around the almost-new game built out of its chunks. Though I’ve racked up hundreds of hours of galactic conquest over the last couple of years, I’ve had to start fresh and figure out how to run a stellar empire all over again.

The xenophobic Imperium of Earth fell behind the rest of the galaxy and quickly found itself boxed in, the possessive but friendly Automata Matrix got squished in a war between Federations, and the slavers of the Saarlan Ravagers just weren’t fun to play because they’re dicks. I should be a bit frustrated, but instead I’m hooked again. The DLC isn’t essential, but the free update completely revitalises Stellaris, and it takes big risks to do it.

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Stellaris Apocalypse enslaves and/or destroys the world today

Paradox strategy games tend to be restrained, but seems the publisher-developer has tired of being a wallflower and now fully intends to do big, noisy explosions with the best of ’em.

Apocalypse, out today, is a new expansion for their sci-fi 4X Stellaris, and is all about changing the physical rather than merely socio-political landscape of the galaxy. Which is to say, killing planets, enslaving their entire populations or otherwise removing whole worlds from the field of play.

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Hearts of Iron IV: Waking the Tiger marches out in March

‘Waking the Tiger’ is not a ho-ho-hilarious euphemism for onanism, unless you want it to be, but rather the next Hearts of Iron IV expansion. It’ll focus on making China more unique in the WW2 grand strategy game, complete with several possible political paths the country might have gone down, along with expanding other systems in the game. Paradox are taking their time with this one as, after announcing Waking the Tiger way back in November 2017, they today announced plans to release it on March 8. For now, here’s a new dev video going over some of its additions: Read the rest of this entry »

Stellaris’s Apocalypse DLC will blow you away on Feb 22

Though the galaxy of Stellaris is filled with traces of strange and terrible events, we don’t really leave our own mark in extravagant ways. That will change a little with the launch of the sci-fi 4X strategy game’s planet-destroying Apocalypse expansion, which Paradox today announced they will release on February 22nd. T-minus 28 days later until I demolish your planets to build a hyperspace bypass, or to mine it for resources, or simply because it was spoiling my view. Or maybe I’ll trap you in a bubble to study you. Or robotise you. Options. Anyway. 28 days. Make your peace. Later taters. Read the rest of this entry »

Stellaris: Apocalypse will let you kill planets

stellaris-apocalypse

Too many worlds. That’s the problem with space. You develop interstellar flight and hope to find a big emptiness that you can coast around in until all of the stars fade to black, but there’s all this stuff scattered about. Planets and asteroid belts and big alien jellysquids.

Stellaris‘s upcoming expansion, Apocalypse, will let you clear out some of the clutter. It brings planet-destroying weapons into the game, along with new Titan capital ships, massive orbital installations and marauding space nomads, who can be recruited to your cause, but can also trigger a new late-game crisis. There’s some non-violent stuff as well for the gentler souls among you.

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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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