Crusader Kings 3's first expansion, Royal Court, releases February 2022

Crusader Kings 3 is a superb continuation of Paradox's long-running pope-em-up grand strategy series, and Paradox has today announced the release date for its first major expansion: Royal Court. It's coming on February 8 2022 and "armchair rulers and aspiring emperors will be able to accumulate artifacts and build new kinds of nations," as well as introducing new ways to manage one's court.

The expansion features a new Throne Room, a visual representation of your court that will apparently "reflect all the accumulated majesty and prestige of your dynasty." You'll be able to hold court with vassals and courtiers who seek a Royal judgement (orf with their heads!) and you'll be able to get the grandeur level higher by buying fancier furnishings and food, which will see "higher quality" guests. Roast swan, anyone?

Amusingly enough you can start to hire staff, which will also increase your grandeur level, with a breakdown video showing the jester in action, as well as characters like a court poet or a musician. There are also artists, craftspeople, and philosophers who will add treasures and trinkets to your court.

Cultures are now modular, in Paradox's terminology, similar to how religions work in the game. This means cultures will have a variety of traits going into how they accept and deal with other cultures, and will have traditions that feed into many aspects of how they work: A preference for a certain climate, for instance, or an agricultural lifestyle, or a very militaristic history.

With this at the core, Royal Court will let you create hybrid cultures by spending prestige in the right circumstances: Enabling you, as a respected ruler, to pick and choose the ethos on which your culture will grow in future. The system is designed to allow players to diverge when history demands it, and adapt their domain into something new that better fits other aspirations.

The release of Royal Court will be accompanied by a major update to Crusader Kings 3, free for all CK3 owners, including a new culture interface, minor court positions, and more.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."