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6:00 PM on 04.30.2014

This crash-course video explores the origin of Paradox and beyond

I don't have it in me to become invested enough in grand strategy titles to enjoy playing them, but I always had a soft spot for Fraser Brown's Paradox reviews. This is a genre made possible by a passionate player base and t...

Jordan Devore



Paradox is publishing Obsidian's new game, Pillars of Eternity photo
Paradox is publishing Obsidian's new game, Pillars of Eternity
by Steven Hansen

Paradox Interactive, makers of grand strategy games (Europa Universalis, Crusader Kings) and Magicka, are teaming up with Obsidian (South Park: The Stick of Truth, Fallout: New Vegas) for their new RPG, Pillars of Eternity.

On the heels of its fastest selling game (Europa Universalis IV), Paradox is building two new studios, as well as turning up its publishing efforts with partnerships like the Obsidian one. "We make games that we want to play," Paradox CEO Fredrik Wester explained. "It's both how we scout games and how we make games."

Wester said they're hoping for a long relationship with Obsidian and stresses that Obsidian is going to be in full creative control of the game, which remains their IP.

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How Paradox Interactive found success in a niche market photo
How Paradox Interactive found success in a niche market
by Hamza CTZ Aziz

Paradox Interactive is best known for their hardcore grand strategy titles on the PC market. Makers of such hits as Crusader Kings, Europa Universalis, Magicka, and many more games, the Sweden-based company celebrated 10 years of independence since splitting off from Paradox Entertainment last month in Miami, Florida. 

Made up of seven people in 2004, Paradox now has 120 people working across four different studios, with an additional 150 other people on contract making games externally. The company has blossomed, with continued revenue growth year after year, yet with all that success Paradox has managed to keep their indie spirit and continues to put their fans first when developing games.

I sat down with Paradox Interactive CEO Fredrik Wester at their recent annual showcase to see how Paradox has found success in such a niche market, and where he sees the gaming industry heading towards.

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Paradox on how to do free-to-play the right way photo
Paradox on how to do free-to-play the right way
by Hamza CTZ Aziz

Magicka: Wizard Wars is Paradox Interactive's take on the MOBA genre. While most companies have had trouble getting a foothold in the market thanks to how dominating League of Legends and Dota 2 are, Wizard Wars looks to have a better chance establishing itself with how it's offering more bite-sized MOBA battles.

"It looks like we're jumping on the MOBA bandwagon as the same time as everyone else, which I see how it looks from the outside, CEO of Paradox Interactive, Fredrik Wester, told me at their annual showcase last month. "We discussed though building a bigger PvP version of Magicka because so many people were asking for it. Magicka is basically built for PvP, especially if you have friendly fire. I think that is one of the key selling points for us. You can't just go in like you do in League of Legends, I play a lot of League of Legends, and you go in there with everything that you have, and you don't have to care about your teammates.

"Magicka you have to watch your teammates. If your teammate is low on health you can't just throw a fireball in his general direction because you're going to kill him. We are also focusing more on 10- to 20-minute matches. I never play classic League of Legends no more because some games can take an hour. I don't want to spend that in one competitive game. Even ARAM, which is their short game mode, takes 25 to 30 minutes to complete, if it's not like a total steamroll."

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Charging wildly into War of the Vikings  photo
Charging wildly into War of the Vikings
by Steven Hansen

War of the Vikings, the close-quarters Vikings-versus-Saxons bloodbath, is in Early Access on Steam. Yesterday, it saw its biggest patch leading up to its early March release window. With it comes the content I got to test out last week.

To go along with the murder, there is now a persistent progression system (which will be reset at launch) and character customization, so everyone can fear the beard, or know of your reckoning by the brand on your bright pink shield.

It's fun as hell. I didn't want to stop playing it. I'd like to be playing it right now.

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Souped up hexagons: Ready to lose hours to Warlock II photo
Souped up hexagons: Ready to lose hours to Warlock II
by Steven Hansen

A couple years back, Destructoid's handsomely verbose Fraser Brown reviewed a strategy game of his ilk that didn't instantly fill me with dread and and remind me of my general inadequacy. Warlock: Master of the Arcane was ostensibly a 4X game, but with a much greater focus on straight up, scorched earth warfare and colorfully cliche fantasy characters, versus Civilization V's equally hexagonal historical pretension.

"I could play this," I thought. I never did, because initiative is beyond me. But now I've had a chance to play Warlock II: The Exiled. "I could play this more," I thought.  It is really is quite a bit of fun.

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Side with Thor or Loki in Paradox's new RPG, Runemaster photo
Side with Thor or Loki in Paradox's new RPG, Runemaster
by Hamza CTZ Aziz

Paradox is looking to make a game so ambitious you'd think they're trying to please Odin himself. Runemaster is an upcoming title from the house that made Crusader Kings, Europa Universalis, and many more hit strategy games from the Sweden-based developers.

Yet Runemaster isn't anything like Paradox has created in the past. It's a role-playing game with JRPG influences based on Norse mythology. It's a game where you'll play on the side of good or evil, preventing or bringing about Ragnarök (the end times). And it's a game that takes place across six procedurally-generated worlds offering emergent storytelling that changes based on what you do in your quests.

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Crusader Kings II expansion Rajas of India opens the map photo
Crusader Kings II expansion Rajas of India opens the map
by Steven Hansen

Crusader Kings II is going strong since its release two years ago. Last year saw the release of a Linux version, The Old Gods expansion (which lets you start playing 200 years earlier in history), and The Sons of Abraham expansion.

Now, Paradox is readying another massive expansion, The Rajas of India. As the name implies, you will now be able to rewrite history as an Indian ruler; the entire Indian subcontinent is opened up. This doubles the landmass of the base game.

That's a lot of map -- map that you'll get as a free update to the game, but if you want to control an eastern territory and show those colonialists what's what, you'll need the expansion. And why wouldn't you want it?

It has war elephants.  

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Going through World War II with Hearts of Iron IV photo
Going through World War II with Hearts of Iron IV
by Steven Hansen

Following up on the continuing recent success of Crusader Kings II and Europa Universalis IV, Paradox is revisiting another beloved grand strategy series, Hearts of Iron, with the recently announced Hearts of Iron IV.

The Hearts of Iron series focuses on the World War II period of world history and has a much more concentrated focus on combat than other Paradox strategy games. If you were interested in Crusader Kings II or Europa, but felt overwhelmed or bored by some of the headier mechanics, this may be the grand strategy game for you.

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Casting magic spells in Magicka: Wizard War's new mode photo
Casting magic spells in Magicka: Wizard War's new mode
by Hamza CTZ Aziz

Magicka: Wizard Wars has been available through Steam's Early Access program since October and it's been seeing updates at least once a week. Updates ranging from small bug fixes, to big new additions. A lot of these updates are thanks to the fan interaction, as Paradox works closely with their community to shape their game. 

With Wizard Wars in particular, the developers have received 20,000 messages so far with recommendations and suggestions. Granted, only about 40% of those messages were actually useful feedback, but it's not a bad percentage given the way Internet anonymity can be sometimes.  

Duel Mode, created to fill the need of a training mode, is one of the big additions coming to Wizard Wars. It serves as a way for players to go head-to-head with other players with nothing else to get in the way.

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11:15 AM on 01.23.2014

World War II is back with Hearts of Iron IV

Another new announcement from the Paradox Convention this week is Hearts of Iron IV, a new grand strategy World War II war-game. You can play as any country that existed during the World War II time period, from Puerto Rico ...

Hamza CTZ Aziz





10:45 AM on 01.23.2014

Runemaster, a Norse mythology RPG from Paradox

Paradox has announced a new game today during their 2014 Paradox Convention and surprise, it's not a grand strategy title! The game is called Runemaster, and it's a role-playing game based on Norse mythology. Three playable ...

Hamza CTZ Aziz

12:15 PM on 12.12.2013

Europa Universalis IV is getting its first expansion in

Get ready for some new features in Europa Universalis IV, Paradox's massive grand strategy game, because it's getting an expansion soon. Conquest of Paradise will focus on adding better mechanics for both sides of the conque...

Joshua Derocher

8:00 AM on 12.06.2013

War of the Vikings upgrades from alpha to beta

War of the Vikings has been in its alpha phase for quite some time, but publisher Paradox has informed us that the game has now been upgraded to a beta. You'll find new maps, modes and other extras accompanying this change, ...

Chris Carter

4:30 PM on 11.12.2013

Dungeonland becomes free to play

Critical Studio and Paradox Interactive have tweaked the action-RPG Dungeonland to support a free-to-play model, opening access to portions of the game. The DM Tower stage is now unlocked for regular play and the DM Mode in w...

Jordan Devore

10:00 PM on 11.04.2013

Conquer Paradise in new DLC for Europa Universalis IV

Despite having a slim grasp of history, Fraser Brown's review of Europa Universalis IV really intrigued me. In it, he says that Paradox has made this latest edition really user-friendly and approachable to "the grubby masses....

Alasdair Duncan