In New York, Paradox Interactive, publisher of King Arthur is hosting a major press conference and hands-on event covering their products for 2011. We've got staff covering it live, and we'll bring you as many updates and impressions as possible over the next day. We'll update this post as news and assets arrive with us.
There are 15 new PC games being covered today that include: Magicka, Cities in Motion, Defenders of Ardania, Pride of Nations, Supreme Ruler Cold War, Sword of the Stars 2: Lords of Winter, King Arthur 2, Magna Mundi, Navar War: Arctic Circle, Crusader Kings 2, Pirates of the Black Cover, Hearts of Iron, Dreamlords Resurrection, Salem, and Gettysburg.
Of those, Gettysburg, Pirates of the Black Cove, and Salem are brand new announcements. Salem, we're told, is Paradox's first MMO. Read on for the latest updates.
9:19 EST : Salem takes place in a "light-hearted gothic setting with a charming and cute art-style." The colonists use alchemy to aid in crafting, farming and building their settlements. PvP combat plays a big part of the game, and there's permanent death. I'll find out exactly what that means when I see more later today.The creatures in the game are based on colonist folklore, and includes creates like Squonks, Hidebehinds and witches.
9:20 EST : Gettysburg: Armored Warfare is a free-to-play RTS/FPS hybrid set in an alternate history of the American Civil War, where the battles were fought not just with muskets, but with tanks and armored blimps. We're told the game will feature persistent and customizable armies and large scale battles.
9:24 EST There are 16 games on show today. Fredrik West, the company CEO, is up front talking through the history of the company, and the things people have said to me over the years. In 2001, people said hardcore was dying, but Europa Universalis 2 sold 250,000 copies. In 2003, he was told that the PC was dying, but since then the company's revenue is up 1000%. These figures are obviously anecdotal, and obviously West is just bigging up his company. But there's an interesting thing in Paradox focusing on such niche genres - simulation games, historical strategy - and only growing larger by doing it.
9:25 EST Johan Andersson, EVP of Development, is up on stage now to start presenting some games. The first is Crusader Kings 2. He's talking about “turbulent priests,” which sounds pretty great.
The first footage of the game shows a mouse pointer clicking on menu items. There are lots of tiny faces, and a map of the world. The music is swelling and getting more dramatic, the mouse pointer keeps clicking on things we can't really make out, and then it cuts to the logo. This is why Paradox are interesting; this game will sell hundreds of thousands of copies.
9:26 EST The next game is Pride of Nations. It's been announced before as well, but this is the first footage of it. It shows a world map - more cartoony than the last - and a mouse pointer clicking on menu options. The gameis about fighting against AI to dominate the world, and the music - more bouncy in the last game - swells as the pointer clicks on lots of menu options.
9:28 EST The next game is Magna Mundi. It has 400 playable countries. It's a grand strategy game that you play believable historical scenarios that stay true to what actually happened.
Evan: I remember this being shown at last year's Paradox Convention in Stockholm--it was basically a PowerPoint with a blue background. This has come a long way. There's a big emphasis on lots of content and a comprehensive approach to the genre.
Graham: The footage is again of a map, this time designed to look like cloth. There's less clicking and more concept art, mind you. I actually want to play this one; it looks insanely detailed.
9.31 EST Jonas Anderson just handed off the mic to Mattias Lilja, Executive Producer. First up is Magicka, which we've been seeing and playing for awhile. Four-player couch co-op. This is Paradox's next game to release.
Evan: Other important stuff from Frederick Wester's (CEO) quick opening talk: Paradox's 2010 Gross Revenue +45% from previous year / profit up 300% year-over-year. Quoted Gamestop executive that said in 2008 that digital distribution was 10 years away, compared it to a quote from a European patent office that they were going to close because “everything has been invented.” Oh, and 70% of Paradox's revenue is digital. Wow.
9.35 EST Graham: Mattias Lilja is now showing Cities in Motion. It's basically Transport Tycoon reborn, with the key change that you're working within real and pre-determined cities like Vienna. You have to make the bus and rail networks function, set up shipping lanes, bulldoze the city to make way for elevated railways, and so on. It's looking good.
9.36 EST He's now talking about Sword of the Stars 2: Lords of Winter, a “4x Space Bonanza”. It has lasers, rock music and menus. It's baffling, but I want to play this one too. “I'm sure you noticed, this music was done by the same person who did the music for Homeworld.” Two people laughed, me included.
Evan: NEON SHIPS. SotS2 is from Kerberos. Martin Cirulis, the designer actually wrote the manual for Homeworld with his wife.
9.37 EST Evan: Next up: Supreme Ruler: Cold War. Lead your nation through the Cold War, objective is to keep the war “cold for as long as possible.” They'll be showing more on this later, apparently, they just wanted to mention it and put some fancy art up. Now they're talking about Paradox Connect.
9.40 EST Evan: Paradox Connect is now their destination for F2P games, which Paradox is going to begin going big with. They're showing off a few seconds of footage of Dreamlords Resurrection, an RTS/MMORPG. It'll be the first free game available on Paradox Connect. PvE, co-op PvE and PvP are available. It's currently in closed beta, will be open to the public very soon. Another mic handoff--it's like a rugby game. Johan Anderson is speaking again.
9.42 EST “For The Motherland,” a new expansion for Hearts of Iron III. Hearts is definitely one of Paradox's most successful titles, they're really happy with its success. Their goal with the expansion: a deeper political system, coups, axis vs. allies vs. comintern (who's that?). They also want you to be able to play through a game in a single evening. Right. No release date mentioned on that, we'll ask about it later.
Graham: Heats of Iron 3 has been a hot topic since I got here, amongst journalists and Paradox staff. General consensus is that it wasn't very good upon release, and depending on who you talk to, patches either improved it, or it's still simply not as good as HOI2. Paradox staff are surprisingly forthcoming about the game's flaws, with at least one telling me that they still didn't like it much after all the expansions.
9.43 EST OH BOY OH BOY Mount and Blade. New expansion, set in 1653, has muskets .
Called "With Fire and Sword".
You're a mercenary leader, you can either make an alliance or “go at it alone in this chaotic time.” Enhanced siege mechanics. Bribe a guard to open the door, use gunpowder, or poison the food supply during sieges, if you'd like. New MP mode: “captain” mode where you bring in soldiers, if I heard him correctly--from the campaign, and duke it out with other players. Seven new multiplayer maps, thank god. Footage now being shown.
Mostly familiar combat footage of cavalry combat, but holy hell, did that horse just jump? I hope that's a new animation--one of the riders leaped his horse over an obstacle. Really, really cool to see muskets and matchlock pistols in M&B, it totally suits the slow style of the archery. Noticed some new, very colorful skyboxes in there as well. Very curious about the total size of this expansion--it seems less significant than Warband. Out Spring 2011.
9:48 EST Graham: They're now showing a trailer for King Arthur 2, which was announced just a couple weeks ago. They're showing a cutscene of massive battles, where medieval solders fight enormous tentacle monsters, witches and winged beasts. If the game is like this, it'll be very nice.
“When chivalry ends, the nightmare begins,” is the tagline. It's an RTS with RPG elements, with boss fights against “unique enemies.” We'll be seeing more of this later today.
Evan: This is definitely Paradox's flagship game for 2011--I remember some of the publishing team mentioning to me at last year's convention that they wish they could've gotten the rights to publish the first game.
9:51 EST Graham: They're now showing Defenders of Ardania, a tower defense game “with a twist”. It has 4-player multiplayer, and is set within the Majesty universe.
9.52 EST Evan: Pirates of the Black Cove trailer going up now. Nitro Games is the developer. They're from my homeland--Finland. Concept art montage of bearded pirates. It's an RTS with action-RPG elements. You'll “plunder your way across the Caribbean,” recruiting infamous pirates while raiding settlements. The goal, naturally, is to become the king of all pirates.
9.55 EST Evan: Shams Jorjani taking the mic to talk about Hearts of Iron The Card Game. It's digital. You can play as an Allied commander or as a German Panzer commander. Free to play. Trading, deck management. Guys. Tanks on cards. I can get down with this.
9.57 EST Evan: “Salem” is now up on the screen. Another free-to-play title, brand new. Early in development but they say it's out in 2011. It's set in a mythical version of New England. “We have you stepping off the boat in Boston and then you have to fend for yourself in the New World.” It's a crafting MMORPG. Player-driven world.
9.59 EST Evan: Here we go. Gettysburg: Armored Warfare up now. RTS/FPS hybrid. Like Salem, it's a free to play game in an alternate universe. Massive battles with persistent armies. We'll be seeing more of it later today. Developer is Radioactive Games.
10.01 Evan: That's that for the presentations. They're having us move into another room to get started with demos. Business folk are headed into a separate room than journalists (to scheme, likely). We'll continue writing live with impressions on our demo from there. *salute* Our team in the UK is uploading the assets and screens as we speak.