Posts Tagged ‘Paradox Interactive’

The Joy Of creating citizen stories in Cities: Skylines

Cities: Skylines [official site] is a game in which every single citizen has a name, home and (if you’re playing it reasonably effectively) job, but nobody matters in the slightest. For a game with such a chummy, chipper tone, it’s weirdly cold. Dozens of people might leave town in protest at your mayoral ineptitude, or tens of thousands of people might die in a freak sewage accident, and not only does the game not care, it doesn’t even try to make you care either.

There are eight million stories in the reasonably well-developed city, but if I want a human connection to any of them, I have to build it myself.
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Paradox giving games to customers affected by regional price rises

Paradox have started handing out games as compensation to those affected by their recent surprise regional price hikes. Prices went up by only a few percent for some people but almost doubled for others. Paradox have reverted the prices now. They had thought they might be able to give partial refunds but that’s proved unworkable.

Instead, anyone who bought Paradox products at the higher prices — which were between May 17th and July 6th — is eligible to claim a game from a list including Stellaris and Crusader Kings II, or alternatively two bits of select DLC. Read the rest of this entry »

Paradox Interactive acquire Age of Wonders 3 studio

Paradox Interactive have acquired Age of Wonders 3 [official site] developer Triumph Studios, the pair announced today. It doesn’t look like the sale is ushering in too many changes, however. Triumph’s current team will remain with the studio, and all projects in development will continue, but now they’ll be published by Paradox. No fantasy-themed Europa Universalis for us quite yet.

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Paradox reverting recent regional price increases

Paradox Interactive, the gang behind games including Crusader Kings and Hearts of Iron, have pledged to undo their recent increases to regional prices across much of the world. While many of the price rises were minor, others were huge. For example, the price of Stellaris in Russia went from 699₽ to 1199₽. Paradox had said the increases were “to make our prices match the purchasing power of those areas” but have since decided they communicated this poorly, so they will roll the prices back. Read the rest of this entry »

Europa Universalis IV and Hearts of Iron IV DLC looks to the East

Look at that wee tank!

Adam is away at E3 and thus someone who isn’t Adam needs to develop emotions and/or words regarding the new DLC available for two of Paradox’s grand strategy games, Europa Universalis IV [official site] and Hearts of Iron IV [official site]. That person is me so I was hoping that somehow it was an under-the-sea expansion of some kind. The fact that the DLCs are called Third Rome and Death or Dishonor respectively implies not. I’ll wear my snorkel just in case, though. 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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BattleTech is the mech game I’ve always wanted

BattleTech [official site] finally brings mechs and mercs back to their turn-based tactical roots, and if the combat is backed by a worthy campaign mode, it’s likely to be one of my favourite games of 2017. I’ve only played the skirmish mode, against AI opponents, so I can’t assess the quality of the campaign. But the actual mech clashes are absolutely glorious, and as spectacular as any turn-based battles I’ve ever seen.

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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 »

Cities Skylines: Mass Transit and the war on cars

I’ve done a lot of terrible things in my two year quest to ruin as many lives as possible in Cities: Skylines [official site]. I’ve allowed the dead to fester in their homes, I’ve turned off heating and electricity in the dead of winter, and once, I made an entire city drink its own poo. But with the launch of the Mass Transit expansion, I’m turning over a new leaf. Instead of making things worse, I’m going to fix my city’s awful congestion problems and be hailed a hero of the people.

At least that’s the plan.

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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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Ding ding! Cities: Skylines Mass Transit DLC arrives

A new expansion for Cities: Skylines [official site], named Mass Transit, has arrived to expand the city-building manage ’em up’s public transport. The expansion adds ferries, monorails, cable cars, and — for those building modernist cities of tomorrow — blimps, along with new transport-y challenges, new policies, new road types, and new canal bits. Aw, it’s not for you. It’s more of a Shelbyville expansion. Read the rest of this entry »

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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Surviving Mars brings hard science to colony-building

During the opening hours, you won’t see a single person in Surviving Mars [official site]. It’s a bold choice, having impersonal robots out there laying the groundwork of a colony, but the benefits are immediately obvious when watching the game in action. There’s a certain Factorium-like mechanical satisfaction to the flow of metal, creating supply chains that stud the surface with structures. The great advantage is the gradual shift from a red planet to a green planet though, even if those bubbles of green are few and far between.

More than any other city builder I can think of, Surviving Mars has the potential to show the life of a settlement, and it does that by beginning in a dead place.

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Best Europa Universalis 4 mods

Since you already know what the best Crusader Kings 2 mods are, I thought you should probably get the skinny on the best additions to Paradox’s other grand strategy romp: Europa Universalis 4. It’s got more than a few, too.

Tweaks, fantastical overhauls, graphics improvements – modders have given the game plenty of love. And while some mods have fallen by the wayside, there’s still a mountain of crackers to dig through. Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

Paradox and Tropico devs announce colonial management game Surviving Mars

In a new partnership with Tropico developers Haemimont Games, Paradox have announced a Matt Damon simulator / colonial-management-city-builder Surviving Mars [official site]. It’s a “hardcore management game” about the colonisation of Mars and if the short trailer is anything to go by, it’ll be leaning toward the EVERYTHING GOES WRONG end of the management spectrum. One for Brendan, then, who does like to put poor little colonists through the wringer.

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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 »

Stellaris: A utopian race of multicultural turtles, part 2

Last time in this diary on grand space strategy Stellaris, my species of sugary, democratic Tortals invited everyone to their space nation regardless of race, creed or culture. It was a burgeoning multicultural utopia called the Open Gates. Then a terrifying horde of transdimensional beings arrived and started to eat everyone like a rack of saucy ribs, which is against the rules.

The Tortals and their compatriots have now escaped in a flotilla of refugee ships to the Shell, a corner of space where they hope to be safe. They are far from the Unbidden, the aforementioned interdimensional gatecrashers, but now they have new neighbours in the form of of two very large despotic empires. And, as any cultured dictator knows, shells usually contain something tasty and soft inside. Read the rest of this entry »