Posts Tagged ‘Paradox’

Cities: Skylines’ new Natural Disasters expansion is spectacularly horrifying

I’m impressed they waited this long. Using earthquakes and hurricanes to play skyscraper dominoes has long been the alpha and the omega feature of citybuilder games (if you didn’t trash the suburbs with an alien invasion, you weren’t playing Sim City 2000 right). It’s taken Cities: Skylines [official site] 19 months to do the entirely obvious thing, and I’m glad to say it’s done it in style. Its new natural disasters are absolutely terrifying.
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How Crusader Kings 2 Makes People Out Of Opinions

This is The Mechanic, where Alex Wiltshire invites developers to discuss the inner workings of their games. This time, Crusader Kings 2 [official site].

Meet Domnall, Earl of Osraige. He’s a pretty affable guy. He’s friends with his neighbouring rulers, and all seems peaceful. But he’s also ambitious and a just little crazy, and he’s about to make a big mess of the Emerald Isle.

Domnall is one of the hundreds of characters across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa that Crusader Kings 2 is simulating here in the year 1066. Whether the player is interacting with them or not, they’ll be vying with each other, allying, marrying, dying, giving birth, and generally doing all of the things that your ruler can do. Crusader Kings 2 is a game all about people. It’s about marriages and dependencies, accordances and kinship. And at the heart of how it models all these dense and messy human complexities is a single value that governs the way its little computer aristocrats behave:

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Tyranny Is Quite Good At Letting You Be Extremely Bad

Tyranny [official site], a new RPG from genre masters Obsidian, is about being bad. Or at least, being in a bad place, surrounded by bad people, with the choice to be bad. The evil Overlord Kyros has conquered swathes of the lands of Terratus, and now has his sights set on the Tiers, a desolate and desperate region, populated by surviving armies and the resilient, whom you are commanded to dominate. Perhaps to enslave, perhaps to slaughter, but as Kyros’s trusted Fatebinder, it’s your job to manage the misfits and warring factions under his rule.

Which is interesting, isn’t it?

Well, I’m struggling to make up my mind. Tyranny manages to be fascinating and ordinary, novel and plain, engrossing and detached. And big. Far bigger than we were led to expect in the game’s promotion, where it was suggested that it was a shorter, time-limited experience, driving replays to explore different paths. In reality it clocks in at apparently 25 hours. I say “apparently” because despite working flat-out all week on this, I’m nowhere near the end, and I’d say the hour count could be an awful lot higher if you play anything like me.

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Wot I Think: Stellaris – Leviathans

Space dragons, wars in heaven, awakening gods, secret enclaves and (most delicious of all) user interface improvements. Stellaris: Leviathans [official site] brings some gargantuan beasts and big features to Paradox’s sci-fi strategy game, but is it a small step forward or a great leap into the unknown?

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Terror From The Deep: Stellaris’ Leviathans Expansion

Paradox have announced the first meaty expansion for their sci-fi strategy epic Stellaris [official site]. It goes by the name Leviathans and they’re calling it a ‘Story Pack’, which makes me think this might be where former Failbetter scribe Alexis Kennedy has been sticking his nib. It seems like a smart place to put him if so. Kennedy was the lead writer on Sunless Sea and the trailer for Leviathans looks an awful lot like it’s channeling Terror From the Deep. Take a look.

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Failbetter Founder Alexis Kennedy Writing For BioWare

Artist's impression of Kennedy at work

It was a sad day, for me, when Alexis Kennedy left Failbetter. The creators of Fallen London and Sunless Sea built their games on some of the strongest and most idiosyncratic writing games have ever been host to, and I hoped we’d see more of Kennedy’s words sooner rather than later. The good news is that Failbetter’s foundations seem sturdy enough that Kennedy’s absence may be felt but won’t leave an enormous gap, and we’re already seeing him work on some exciting projects.

First, there was Stellaris, and now Kennedy has announced that he’ll be the “first ever guest writer” at BioWare working alongside Mike Laidlaw and Patrick Weekes.

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Sunless Sea’s Former Lead Now Writing For Stellaris

Stellaris [official site], Paradox’s sci-fi fusion of 4x design and grand strategy ideals, is a game that generates stories. As your species moves through the galaxy, encountering all manner of alien life, you’ll create tiny tales and epic sagas. There are also stories already written, however, in the form of quest chains, and over the weekend we learned that one of the minds behind Fallen London and Sunless Sea will be adding to those space-stories. Alexis Kennedy, co-founder and formerly creative director of Failbetter Games, is now crafting word-shapes for Stellaris.

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