Posts Tagged ‘Paradox Development Studio’

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 »

Stellaris launches Update 1.6, hands out birthday DLC

Happy birthday, Stellaris [official site]! To celebrate the first birthday of their space strategy game, Paradox have released a new update and are giving all spaceguests party favours in the form of free cosmetic DLC. The pack of species portraits offered as a pre-order bonus are now free to all players, and Paradox have thrown in some colourful new ones too – like that ↑ spacepeacock. As for Update 1.6, nicknamed ‘Adams’ after the interactive fiction writer, that’s smaller than many updates but still brings some good changes. The game has come a fair way over the past year. Read the rest of this entry »

Hearts of Iron 4: Death or Dishonor announced

A mid-sized expansion for Hearts of Iron 4 [official site] will focus on expanding Hungary, Romania, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia, Paradox announced today. Named ‘Death or Dishonor’, the expansion will bring unique National Focus trees to those countries Paradox say were “caught between the dueling ambitions of the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany.” They’re calling it a ‘Country Pack’ rather than a full expansion, though it will bring a new feature or two. And, in the traditional Paradox way, it’ll be accompanied by a big patch. AI and air action are both due touch-ups in that. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think – Stellaris: Utopia

Utopia is the first major expansion for Stellaris, Paradox Development Studio’s 4X, grand strategy space hydra. It’s a term that normally conjures up images of a perfect society, all green and chill and maybe a little like Star Trek’s United Federation of Planets. That’s nice, I guess, but what if your idea of perfection is building a civilization on the backs of robotic slaves? And what about a monstrous hive of ravenous beasties that won’t rest until all matter in the universe has been consumed? What would its utopia look like? I’ve been experimenting with a galaxy-sized petri dish to find out. Read the rest of this entry »

Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven released

Oh goodness me, I’d forgotten that Europa Universalis 4 [official site] has an expansion out today too. Along with releasing Stellaris: Utopia, those busy bees have launched EU4: Mandate of Heaven. This tenth expansion for the historical grand strategy game focuses on China and Japan, expanding them with new unique systems. Have a peek: Read the rest of this entry »

Stellaris launches Utopia expansion and Banks update

Today’s a big day for Stellaris [official site], as developers Paradox have launched its first proper expansion and a big game-changing patch. Headline features for the Utopia expansion include space habitats, dreadful new forms of enslaving and purging species, and ‘ascension perks’ to customise and shape species towards mechanical, biological, or psionic final forms. Update 1.5 (nicknamed Banks), meanwhile, reworks the government system, adds a civics system to make empires more unique, improves AI, fixes bugs, adds technologies, and changes plenty more. Exciting times in space. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Crusader Kings 2 – Monks and Mystics

I’ve been hanging around with a bad crowd, staying up all night, attending weird orgies and torturing rivals until they embrace the teachings of Lucifer. Last night I ate my cousin because the Devil told me to do it. Crusader Kings 2 [official site] has always had a bit of a dark side, but with the new Monks and Mystics DLC, it’s been cranked up to 666.

Ostensibly, Monks and Mystics is all about opening up new roleplaying possibilities in regards to faith. You can join a variety of societies, including monastic orders, secret organisations and devilish cults. These sects offer new ways to interact with the religious side of medieval society and for the adventurous can offer strange powers, forbidden knowledge, and the ability to champion heretical religions. Guess which path I followed?

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Cult hit: Crusader Kings 2’s Monks & Mystics DLC is out

Cults and orders of assassins, satananiacs, Hermetics, monks, and more are now roaming the historical simulation of Crusader Kings 2 [official site], if you buy the latest expansion anyway. Paradox today launched Monks and Mystics, which boshes in secret (and not-so secret) orders who reward loyalty with handy abilities, pops in holy relics and masterwork weapons, and more. In short, yes, you can sacrifice people in Lucifer’s name and try to summon a familiar.

As is the Paradox way, also out today is a big new update free for all players. It brings new features, useful changes, welcome fixes, and things that, y’know, sound funny. Sadly, the endless carousing has ended. Read the rest of this entry »

Europa Universalis IV looks east with Mandate Of Heaven

Space is getting grander and more interesting thanks to the Utopia dlc for Stellaris, and Crusader Kings II is receiving a rabble of Monks and Mystics next week, but Europa Universalis IV [official site] hasn’t been left out. A tenth expansion is coming. It’s called Mandate Of Heaven and it adds an objective system based around semi-dynamic ages (from Discovery to Revolutions) to the world while introducing new mechanics for the Empire of China, daimyos and Shogunate of Japan, and Manchu. Read the rest of this entry »

Stellaris: Utopia expansion blasting off on April 6th

The first proper expansion for Stellaris [official site] will launch on April 6th, Paradox announced today. Utopia adds shiny futuristic features like buildable Dyson spheres, ring worlds, and habitat stations (very utopian), psionic, biological, and mechanical ‘Ascension’ paths (also utopian), and a variety of new ways to oppress and enslave other races (very… Omelasian). Well, utopias are always meant to be rhetorical, aren’t they? While Utopia is a paid expansion, the big update ‘Banks’ will launch for free alongside it with a load of handy new features. Read the rest of this entry »

Stellaris’ New Horizons mod is the best Star Trek game

Everything was in place for the Romulan invasion of the United Federation of Planets. Warbirds screeched out of the shipyards of Romulus and Remus on a direct course for the closest Federation worlds, those belonging to the chilly Andorians. The real goal, of course, was neighbouring Vulcan. This was a symbolic war.

As my jade vessels bombarded the frozen Andorian homeworld, the Tal Shiar informed me that yet another Federation ship had been successfully sabotaged. When my Reman shock troops’ boots hit the icy ground, I realised that Star Trek: New Horizons, a Stellaris [official site] mod, was my favourite ever Roddenbery-flavoured game.

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On its fifth anniversary, a toast to the humour and humanity of Crusader Kings 2

Today, on the Big Love Day of Victor Von Valentine, Crusader Kings 2 [official site] celebrates its fifth anniversary. I’m celebrating too because though I love many games, this one has a special place in my heart. I’ve written about its brilliance before but today I wanted to focus on an aspect that deserves more attention, and that’s the way that the game functions as a period piece. With Chaucer and Monty Python as company, I’ve been thinking about the filth, humour and humanity of this grandest of grand strategy games. And the importance of farts.

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Stellaris: Utopia expansion to blast off with Banks update

Having previously launched a few DLCdribs and DLCdrabs into Stellaris [official site], Paradox today announced Utopia, the first “major expansion” for their space strategy game. It will introduce Dyson spheres and ring worlds, let starlords shape their empire’s future form such as going cybernetic or reaching a higher plane of existence, and more.

As is customary with Paradox strategy expansions, Utopia will be accompanied by a free update with important new features of its own. Changes in update 1.5, nicknamed ‘Banks’, will include expanding species rights, reworking ethics, and adding refugees. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Hearts Of Iron IV – Together For Victory

Playing any nation in Hearts of Iron IV [official site] beyond the big players, like Great Britain or Germany, is a lot like sitting at the kid’s table. The pace is slow, there are less complex decisions to make, and it never feels like anything that’s going on is nearly as important as what’s happening at the adult’s lavish banquet table. They’re dragging the world into a global war while you’re wondering if you’ve been completely forgotten.

Together for Victory promises to change that, at least for the Commonwealth countries: Canada, Australia, South Africa, India and New Zealand. The expansion gives these five nations a serious makeover, and they now sport unique national focus trees, historical and speculative events, and more freedom even while they remain stuck to Britain.

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