Posts Tagged ‘Paradox Interactive’

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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Making a green utopia in Cities: Skylines – Green Cities

greencities

Cities: Skylines has always had an environmental bent – one of the first things you can build is a wind turbine – but with the Green Cities expansion, cleaning up polluted cities has become a major focus. There’s a slew of new buildings and policies that make it a little bit easier to keep your citizens from living under an oppressive layer of smog.

How easy, though? I’ve started up a new city to find out. My goal: a completely pollution-free utopia where everyone is happy and healthy. This is probably the nicest thing I’ve done in Skylines; certainly it’s nicer than the time I tried to flood my entire city in poo, or the time I turned off the heating to see how long it would take for everyone to freeze to death.

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Steam’s Halloween Sale is great for grand strategy

halloweensale

With Halloween fast approaching, I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about typical spooky things: ghouls and ghosts, vampires and werewolves, marrying off my daughter to an appropriate suitor and the best trade strategy to dominate the Aegean. The Steam Halloween Sale is in full swing until November 1, and thanks to Paradox Interactive, it’s full of grand strategy games.

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Crusader Kings 2 fights a land war in Asia next month

Crusader Kings 2: Jade Dragon

Crusader Kings 2 is a strange thing. At first glance, it’s a wildly complex grand strategy game in the vein of Europa Universalis, but dig a little deeper and you’ll find something not far divorced from The Sims; an ant-farm sandbox driven not by goals or win-states, but the personal dramas of a cast of thousands.

As with The Sims, Crusader Kings 2 just keeps on growing, constantly reinvigorated by expansions adding new layers of complexity to the simulation. The latest of these – Jade Dragon – offers you the chance to puppeteer your way through seven hundred years of Chinese political history, starting this November 16th.

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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

greencit2

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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