You see folks, this is why April Fools' Day is dangerous. Or awesome. Delete depending on your affinity for zombies. Back in the dark ages of seven and a bit months ago, Paradox Interactive released a teaser for a fictional Crusader Kings Z, a game that hypothetically merged zombie invasions with medieval European strategy. Months later, and that joke is now a real thing that you can play in Crusader Kings 2. Thanks mods!
The danger for 4X strategies is that, inevitably, they'll be compared to Civilization. Although, to be fair, many games are openly inviting that comparison. Galactic Civilizations, which yesterday released its own set of screenshots, contains the word "Civilization" in its title, for instance. Then there's the fantasy 4X, Warlock 2: The Exiled, which has successfully differentiated itself by name, if not entirely by look. Judge for yourself, by browsing the game's first selection of screenshots.
Thanks to a slip of the finger, I'm now thinking about the game Crusader Kingz. I imagine it would be a grand strategy in which you formed a hip-hop collective and, through bribery, intrigue, and sick rhymes, conspired to bring down the So Solid Crew. I would play the heck out of that game. As it turns out, though, this development diary is more concerned with Crusader Kings 2 and its Sons of Abraham DLC. Where the last video concentrated on changes to Christianity and Papal politics, this time Paradox explain their Jewish and Muslim mechanics. That's mechanics as in game systems.
With the Sons of Abraham expansion for Crusader Kings II arriving next week, the medieval strategy sandbox will also receive the massive 2.0 patch. Heralding the arrival of what Paradox Development Studio calls "phase two" of the game's expansion and DLC cycle, 2.0 has one of the longest change lists of any patch the game has ever received. In addition to Steam achievements, workshop support, Ironman mode, and the replacement of the dismal metaserver-based multiplayer, the patch notes are also laden with the usual, hilarious-sounding fixes you only find in Crusader Kings.
Oh, it's about the Abrahamic religions. I had entirely the wrong end of the stick. I'd assumed Sons of Abraham would transform CK2 into a game in which you played as Tad Lincoln - fourth son of Abraham - running around the White House and getting into comedy scrapes. Come to think of it, an overhaul of Christianity, and the introduction of playable Jewish characters, makes a lot more sense for the medieval grand strategy soap opera. A new development diary provides a complete overview of what Paradox hope to achieve with this latest expansion.
Europa Universalis 4: Conquest of Paradise announced, will allow exploration of a randomly generated American continent
Look what you've done, strategy fans... you've forced Paradox Interactive to deal with an actual paradox. They want the newly announced Europa Universalis IV expansion, Conquest of Paradise, to focus on the then-unexplored American continent. But then along you come with the bare-faced tenacity to be from the future, thereby knowing all about where America is and what's on it. Luckily, the developers have a clever plan to make your playthrough of the era seem more historically accurate. They're going to make stuff up.
Paradox Development Studio has just announced the fifth expansion for Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham. Two long-requested features, playable Jewish characters and the ability to interact with the Catholic college of cardinals, will make their way into the medieval murder your brother and steal his stuff simulator. The ability to part the seas and march your armies through has yet to be confirmed, but quite a bit else has.
Magicka Wizard Wars, the free-to-play game I once described as a game of Dota 2 in which everyone on both teams is playing Invoker, is now available on Steam Early Access. You can claim your spot as a founder in this arcane altercation with three different tiers, starting at $13. Jumping in at the $20 tier gets you a free copy of Crusader Kings II, which is half of that game's current Steam price.
Indie roguelike shooter Teleglitch: Die More Edition's new Guns and Tunes DLC tells you exactly what it is: "Music to kill by and weapons to make it happen." And for only $2, it's probably a reasonable investment in a game where death is permanent, levels are random, and every pixel works to promote anxiety and paranoia.
Damn those pesky wizards! Warlock 2: The Exiled was announced towards the end of last week. Unfortunately, due to a troublesome cloaking spell, it passed us by unseen. That is definitely what happened, and in no way can I be blamed for missing the news of a follow up to fantasy turn-based strategy Warlock: Master of the Arcane. With that disclaimer made abundantly clear, let's take a look at the announcement trailer.
Paradox Interactive has weighed in on the recent announcement of SteamOS, and with a very positive attitude. CEO Fredrik Wester called it a "great thing for PC gaming," and confirmed that the publisher fully intends to support it going forward. Titles like Crusader Kings 2 and Europa Universalis IV, which already have working Linux versions, will run natively on the new OS.
Closed alpha news is a bit of a double-edged axe - one that's often found buried in the skull of a person who really wants to participate in the limited access test. For War of the Vikings, though, Paradox are guaranteeing access to the alpha for anyone who owns Fatshark's previous historical first-person slasher, War of the Roses: Kingmaker. That alpha is due to start in a couple of days time, on August 22nd.
As good as Europa Universalis IV is, if you're new to Paradox's information dense strategy games, you may be put off by the continued bombardment of stats and figures. And there's little more demoralising for a nation's army than being forced to wait around while there leader learns who they're supposed to be attacking. Understanding the benefit of patiently explaining their game, Paradox have released a series of tutorials meant to get you up to speed.
Two weeks ago, we interviewed Paradox Development Studio on the new converter DLC that lets you import your version of medieval Europe from Crusader Kings II into Europa Univesalis IV. Now that the DLC is out, we went hunting for some of the less than historically accurate groups and nations that can be carried over. From Viking holy orders to a restored Roman Empire, here's how they pan out in EU4.
The developers of Europa Universalis IV set out with an ambitious goal: to make their Renaissance-era strategy flagship accessible and intuitive to newcomers without sacrificing the depth and breadth that existing fans of the series love. The end result of this expedition is not only spectacular, but unlike the similarly ambitious explorers and colonists it portrays, it's not going to give anyone smallpox.
What's the point of a grand strategy if not to rewrite history? Paradox's launch trailer for Europa Universalis IV has us cowering at the prospect of a mighty Swedish empire, and its plans to secure global domination through a sneaky backstab to the spine of England. Reality may not yet recognise this particular version of the past, but then reality isn't now available to buy on Steam.
Countries, eh? With their histories, social philosophies and sense of national pride. It's sickening, really. Luckily, Europa Universalis IV lets you beat up countries, by picking bigger, meaner countries to play as. And Paradox have rather kindly extended this opportunity to all, by releasing a demo ahead of the game's release next week. That's assuming you can work out what all the buttons do.
Paradox have announced War of the Vikings, an angrier, beardier standalone spin-off to Fatshark's War of the Roses. Vikings will also be a multiplayer battler, and will cast players as warring Norse and Saxon fighters. Set in the 9th and 10th Century, you'll fight to conquer or defend England through a variety of game modes, many of which will likely involve chopping up an unkempt man through the face and limbs.
Paradox's in-house strategies are known for their size and complexity. Their official announcements about release times and demo plans, however? Those can be unceremoniously sparse. The latest Europa Universalis 4 dev update, aptly titled "a very small development diary", confirms the game's planned launch time, and teases the possibility of a pre-release demo.
Paradox Development Studio has announced ambitious DLC for Crusader Kings II which will convert your saves from the medieval, Eurocentric sandbox into a playable mod for the upcoming, globe-spanning Renaissance simulator, Europa Universalis IV. Yes, this means that you could potentially play the same faction through over 950 years of alternate history, from CK2: The Old Gods' start date in 867 A.D. to the end point of EU4 in 1821 A.D. I had a chance to grill Henrik Hansson, a programmer who worked on the DLC, on the specifics.