Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

paradox interactive


Sabotage economies in the next Europa Universalis IV expansion

Wealth of Nations out May 29
May 22
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations will be out on May 29. This is the second expansion for the strategy title, and the main focus is all trade. There's going to be new trade and diplomacy features, and plenty of things...
Magicka Early Access photo
Play the game before the rest of the world
[Update: Codes all gone! Hope you got yours!] Our friends at Paradox Interactive have hooked us up with a bunch of Early Access Steam keys for their upcoming MOBA Magicka: Wizard Wars, and we're handing them out to the Dtoid ...

Paradox photo

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

Expect to see more historical strategy games
Apr 30
// Jordan Devore
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...

Paradox is publishing Obsidian's new game, Pillars of Eternity

Mar 18 // Steven Hansen
Obsidian also released a comprehensive FAQ on its forum for its Kickstarter backers. "Simply put, Paradox is assuming responsibility for the marketing and distribution of Pillars of Eternity. What this means is that Obsidian can now devote all of their time and resources to the development of Pillars of Eternity and make the game the best it can be." "We like when developers try to go crazy with things," Wester said during the announcement. "When I played South Park: The Stick of Truth, I laughed at a game for the first time in 20 years, probably since Monkey Island." The partnership makes a lot of sense and could yield great things with future Obsidian projects.
New Obsidian game photo
Pillar? I hardly even know her!
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. O...

How Paradox Interactive found success in a niche market

Feb 05 // Hamza CTZ Aziz
"Overall it was a good year," Fredrik Wester, CEO of Paradox Interactive told me as we sat by the pool in a Miami hotel. Revenue was up by 35 percent in 2013, with profits over 200 percent. Sure, it's not Activision money, but for a company of Paradox's size that's pretty good. "On the other hand," Fredrik went on, "it was very uneven when it comes to how products performed. Q1 was a disappointment overall, but Q4 was just fantastic." Part of the reason 2013 ended so well was due to the release of Europa Universalis IV. It was their best-selling, and best-scoring title on Metacritic last year, as were its expansions. EU IV has sold over 300,000 units since its August launch, and Fredrik estimates it'll move another 300,000 to 400,000 by the end of this year. What was really startling to learn from Fredrik was that the average playtime in Europa Universalis IV is 190 hours. What put Paradox on the map so to speak are hardcore grand strategy titles, which are primarily real-time strategy games that take place on literally a world map. From the outside it's easy to look in disbelief that people are so into these games. "Our games are not for everyone," noted Fredrik during a press conference earlier in the week. "And that's a statement I'm happy to make. We're not after the 100 million audience, we're after the people who want to play our games. Who want to get deeply involved in our games, and engage for hours and hours." Paradox is doing great these days, but their start was quite rocky to say the least. Fredrik was in business with publisher Strategy First to put out games, but when that company went bankrupt, and subsequently owed Paradox $300,000, it forcibly pushed Fredrik's hands into the self-publishing business. This was long before the indie revolution, so it wasn't quite as simple as it is nowadays. "We wanted to publish our own games in America. Everyone told us this was impossible to do, so we just had to try it." They signed a deal with Atari, and their first game out in the States was Crusader Kings. It was six months late, and it had come out one week after Rome: Total War. "It was a big disaster in many ways."  At around the same time as this Atari deal Paradox had set up an eCommerce website where they sold over 4,000 units of Crusader Kings. "We took two hours after office hours everyday to go pack these games and ship it to everyone. When I look back at these days, this is where we come from as a company. It's very important to remember that because I was the one actually packing those boxes." It was a year later in 2005 with Hearts of Iron II that Paradox Interactive finally had their first major hit. It sold 80,000 units in America, and Fredrik proudly boasted that figure against The Matrix Online, which would end up selling around 25,000 units in America. "I was going to present this at an Atari sales meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, and just before me on stage was the guys behind The Matrix Online. So they lined up their marketing budget and said 'We have $5 million in marketing budget. We're going to spend $2 million on TV, $2 million on print, and $1 million online.'  I had $75,000 in my marketing budget. "So what I did before I went up on stage was to delete all the numbers and just speak in general terms about how we did marketing and our view of the game. It just shows that marketing budget is not everything. It's very important to care about your products and make sure you deliver a good product." Today, the company's mission statement is design videogames to fit the "Gamer Lifestyle." "I want people to feel that the passion that comes from the company to also reach out to the gamers. If we are not passionate about our products how are the gamers supposed to be passionate about [them]? "We make games for people who identify themselves as gamers. Gaming is an important part of their life ... Some people dedicate their life to watching sports, or skydiving, or collecting stamps -- people playing Paradox games dedicate their lives partly to playing Paradox games." Fred himself plays all the games they publish, with one example being that he's clocked in over 150 hour of War of the Roses. "Gordon [senior producer on the game] still kicks my ass. So I'm not a very good gamer, but I love it and I play a lot. The loyalty that Paradox sees with their fanbase makes a lot of sense when Fred talks about what they put into their games. Offering titles that have a lot of value, such as the level of replayability given, along with changing the experience over time with free and paid downloadable content, goes a long way with the player base. "With our DLC policy, when we create something, for example, Conquest of Paradise which gives you the opportunity of a randomized new world, we give you the update for free. So they get all the fixes, all the extra things within the game, but if they want to unlock the features [such as a new playable faction], you pay for it. "As the game evolves, Crusader Kings II has been out for almost two years, we've developed it so much that it's almost a totally different experience playing it now compared to playing it two years ago. We do that to a game and people will come play it again. We have in the last 30 days combined for Crusader Kings and Europa Universalis IV, people spent six million hours playing those two games. That's a lot of hours, [especially] for being niche games." From creating worthwhile DLC, to not monetizing on people's frustrations with their free-to-play initiatives, Paradox has a pretty good mindset when it comes to developing their games. They've especially been good about supporting the modding community, and this year they plan to take things a step further by employing one person dedicated to overseeing what the community is putting out with mods. "We've been discussing how can we support the modding community in a better way. The first thing we need to do is just get someone who can dedicate their time and effort to help people out. Asking like what kind of tools do you want, how can we help promote it -- coordinate all the efforts that's done in the modding community. "We have so many great mods for our games. When Europa Universalis IV was released, after 24 hours we had over 30 mods already in the works that was registered in Steam Workshop. "If we see a promising mod team now, we would rather fund them fully from start to finish and coach them through the project and make sure the project gets really good. So what else is on Paradox's plate for this year? At their annual convention that took place in Miami this year, the company announced their first ever procedurally generated role-playing game, Runemaster, Hearts of Iron IV was revealed, plus we got to see Magicka: Wizard War's new mode, the Rajas of India expansion for Crusader Kings II, got hands-on with Warlock II: The Exiled, and experienced the latest with War of the Vikings. Additionally Paradox has a couple of new titles they've signed with two "high-profile developers," which we'll be learning more about in the coming months. That, and they announced a new studio called Paradox Arctic, home to veterans from DICE and Starbreeze Studios. So they have a good slate of games coming out this year, but what else is on the horizon? Paradox will be embracing the mobile platform more, and confirmed that they are working on games from their existing and new brands for the new console generation. Paradox will maintain a strong focus on the PC as they have no intentions of leaving it behind. Plus they'll be keeping a close eye on how the Steam Box does. That said, the company has opened up to developing on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 for the same reason they've been wild proponents of the PC market. "We want to do our games on open platforms," Fredrik told us. "Which means if we want to patch a game, we can patch it. We decide when we patch it, and how we patch it. We don't need to be charged money to update the game as a service to our gamers. That's very important to us. We can't have a platform holder who tells us what to do, and what not to do. We need full freedom on how we connect our gamers on what we deliver. "There's going to be a lot of interesting changes. The dominant console makers who used to define the industry are no longer doing that anymore. They kind of figured that out themselves. They're now more open to content which puts them in a better position than before. They're starting to source content instead of block content, which they did before. They actually had a gated community where like 'Okay, you want to publish for console? You have to do these 20 steps first.' Basically only big companies could do it. "What we're seeing is so many different screens that people are gaming on. I don't really care what machine we're publishing on as long as we reach our hardcore audience. A lot of people see us as a PC company and the reason for that is that it's been the simplest and most open platform to actually publish for. We might be a Linux publisher in two years depending on how the Steam Box does. I really hope the Steam Box will be a success." This new console generation and the major changes and shakeups happening in the mobile and PC space make it overall hard to predict what lies in the future for the gaming market. Whatever may come, Fredrik believes that keeping the mentality of the indie-minded company will see them ride the waves with whatever changes may arise. "There's so many interesting opportunities in the industry. The way I see Paradox is that we still have the mentality of a start-up company. We're 120 people, another 150 people on contract making games externally, and when we meet for our management meetings, there's a vibe in there like we can do anything. "I feel it's crazy in a way because we never slowed down, sat back, and were happy with what we're doing ... But we'll see. You still have to be humble about where the industry is going. Better companies than Paradox have fallen. My hope is that we're going to grow to be three times the size that we are today in five years, but still keep the mentality of the small company that was shipping the Crusader King boxes in 2004, because on the inside, I'm still that guy."
Paradox Interactive photo
Discussing the past, present, and future with CEO Fredrik Wester
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 year...

Paradox on how to do free-to-play the right way

Feb 05 // Hamza CTZ Aziz
Magicka: Wizard Wars is available right now through Steam Early Access, and you can gain access through three different founder packs. There's no monetization implemented yet as they want to work out all the bugs and errors before charging people anything. Eventually the game will open up completely with free access, and their free-to-play focus will follow what Riot Games and Valve have accomplished with their titles. "We do not want to monetize on people's frustration, when people are angry because they lost their lives. We want people to pay for things when they're really excited to play more of the game. "What we see as a good way as monetizing is the way Dota 2 or League of Legends does it. It doesn't change the game, it's not going to be a game winner for you. It's going to change the appearance of your character, [for example]. It's still [about] the inherent skill that you have. Free-to-play has been a big trend in the gaming industry, and for Paradox they'll be going that route only "when it makes sense," Fredrik told me. "I think "free-to-play" is more of a marketing initiative than it's actually a sales or business model initiative. We might go free-to-play with more games if it makes sense. "It's most of all respect the gamers. We don't want to monetize when people are frustrated. That's the nightmare for me, that it's going to be like the old arcade halls that you're so frustrated, you died for the fifth time in Gauntlet and then you have to buy a new life to get back in the game. That's not how we work. But if someone wants a new cool helmet, it doesn't do anything for you, you just look like this totally cool guy, then I like it. I buy a lot of skins in League of Legends for example. I've spent probably $150 so far. It's a good model, I feel good about spending money." Check back later today for an interview with Fredrik Wester covering the history of Paradox Interactive and their future plans as a company.
How to do F2P photo
'We do not want to monetize on people's frustration'
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...

Charging wildly into War of the Vikings

Jan 30 // Steven Hansen
War of the Vikings (PC [previewed])Developer: FatsharkPublisher: Paradox InteractiveReleased: March, 2014 MSRP: $19.99 War of the Vikings let's you play as the Vikings (the proper choice) or the filthy Saxons (the bad choice). They are mostly the same outside of aesthetic (and Saxons being dumb jerks) and feature three classes made distinct by their primary weapon (sword, axe, bow). Now, your standard warrior can pick up a bow in battle, but he wouldn't be very effective with it. At the same time, an archer that picks up a shield has just made itself a much more formidable target. This isn't quite arcade/arena-style gut 'em up, either. This is a skill-based game, which extends down to the controls that have a bit of a learning curve. Either mouse button are used for either parrying or striking. Holding whichever you're trying to do and mousing left, right, or down will yield a variety of blocks or blows. Just hammering away at an enemy with the same move isn't going to do much, as your sword must meet meat -- not metal or shield -- to do any real damage. If you're feeling intimidated (perhaps it's the beard?), this recent update also has a training mode to help acclimate you to the combat system. In my first few LAN matches I tried valiantly (yes, let's go with valiantly) to show off the skills I'd rushed through learning in the training mode. My strikes were awkward, more probing than expert, as if I were fumbling around in the dark. I struggled to line up the charged special strikes, while my basic blows glanced off shields. I would tend to employ my secondary weapon, a throwing axe, in the hopes of getting some damage done before I would clash with other players. Eventually, I settled into a fitting role as an archer, which carries a much more familiar shooter interface. There, I would reign, arcing 80-yard bow shots like I was Kobe, finishing off downed opponents before they could be revived, and occasionally leading the team in kills. I will need more time to hone my axe and sword skills, but nailing a Saxon in the knee as he charges towards you, bringing him to the ground, was mighty satisfying. Oh, and small-stage, no-respawn team deathmatch is the best.  The easiest way to tell friend and foe apart was the different-colored names, but once we all got into the customization page, things got a bit easier. I outfitted my viking with a flowing green cloak (which keeps your head from rolling away upon decapitation) and a shield modeled after the Italian flag. Oh, and a beard. I acquiesced to beard hype just this once. It felt right. Women warriors are also on their way, though they only exist as unplayable assets for the moment. The utilitarian Viking culture allowed women to solider and they will look similarly dressed as their male counterparts. On the Saxon side, the women are mildly more ornate, presumed to have come from monied backgrounds that would afford them the opportunity to go out a'killing. War of the Vikings is technically pick up and play. You can buy it and play as an archer or swing limply about the battlefield and occasionally land some good hits. You can, at the least, serve as a warm body to help capture nodes in the more strategic levels. But there's enough depth to keep you playing and to keep one-on-one battles an exciting, evenly-matched, back-and-forth affair. It always sort of bothered me in action games when you'd do damage by basically phasing a weapon through an enemy, rather than making solid contact and it having a reasonable effect. It's why Bushido Blade was so cool. Every time I loosed an arrow and it ineptly plunked on a shield, I had to remember I was trying to shoot (and kill) my opponent, not just a character model. Whether you want to dive into the tail end of early access of wait until the full release, War of the Vikings is damn good, different multiplayer fun.
War of the Vikings photo
...Will get you killed. If you suck. Like me.
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 ou...

Souped up hexagons: Ready to lose hours to Warlock II

Jan 30 // Steven Hansen
Warlock II: The Exiled (PC)Publisher: Paradox InteractiveDeveloper: Ino-co PlusReleased: April, 2014MSRP: $29.99 Warlock II takes place after the events of the first. In the first, you played on one large map, but the world is shattered and its dozen plus great mages are relegated to shard worlds that would still probably be too much space for The Little Prince but are enough for you to pull yourself up by your boot straps, become a titan of industry, and march back to Ardania to kick some vengeful ass. You can also play the one giant map sandbox mode from the first game in Warlock II, if you fancy, but then you don't get to jet between continuum portals. I began on a relatively safe fringe world with the hub of what I would spend two hours turning into a great city. I took my main unit and some ranged back up and began, turn by turn, exploring my little nook of universe, finding formidable fight in the wolves and bears around me. Like, a turn or two for a kill. I shouldn't have split everyone off so early. Or approached that giant orc thing before getting my sea legs. As I ran through some exploratory turns I turned inward. Great infrastructure is the master log of a great empire. Just look at how the world's greatest powers -- Britain, the United States -- crumbled when too little attention was paid inward. I ordered myself some more troops, which would take a few turns, and started building my property. New to the series, I found myself handling this navigation rather pain free. You are basically managing three resources: food, mana, and gold. Meanwhile, the UI was clear enough to tell me what I could do at any given point or what I needed to do to say, build farm. Fraser's complaint of the ironically arcane and unwieldy spell system has been addressed as well, with new spell groupings and an easy interface to look towards what spells you're researching, as they fall into three main trees (offensive, defensive, terrain altering). You will also align yourself with one of the eight gods and their associated spells, which become powerhouse moves late in the game, but also take you out of favor with the other gods' magic. Definitely build a city on penis island (above) I skated by the portal guardian and finally made it through my first portal, at which point I arrived in a hostile, snowy land with only the unit that was closest to the portal at the time (and everyone else a few turns out). I am not good at forethought. Thankfully, the only enemy in range was on the other side of an impassable mountain and I was able to hide away from its ranged attacks. The world is randomly generated each time you start a new game, adding some variety. The Exiled mode, in which you have to jump between portals (versus the big, sandbox mode) also seems like it will add a bit more challenge, especially to the late game where you're all built Ford tough and ready to steamroll over everything. The fragments of world you leave in search of further conquest remain active and monsters will spawn there so you'll have to look out. A big focus this time around is the multiplayer, which came post-release in the first and was clunky thanks to having to wait for others to take their turns. This time around, turns can overlap a bit -- you're able to do any sort of non-offensive empire management while enemies are taking their turns, which is nice. The multiplayer and singleplayer are basically the same game, except with up to three other real players replacing AI for other great mages. While four player PvP was the originally focus, you can just as easily band together with other players to play against the AI. Or you can do that, but also secretly posture yourself to screw your friends over once they've outstayed their usefulness.  Cleaned up in terms of usability and functionality, Warlock II's colorful, hexagonal world should prove a great bit of fun and, perhaps, a nice portal into the blistering cartographic world of 4X games.
Warlock II preview photo
Warlock! Huh! What is it good for? Read this and I'll tell you!
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 os...

Side with Thor or Loki in Paradox's new RPG, Runemaster

Jan 28 // Hamza CTZ Aziz
Runemaster (PC)Developer: Paradox InteractivePublisher: Paradox InteractiveRelease date: TBA The battle of Ragnarök has begun, and you have to decide whether you'll prevent it alongside Thor, or see the destruction of worlds with Loki. Whatever side you end up choosing will see the rival god as the final boss of the game. Six of the nine Norse worlds will be on offer here, and you'll get to decide what race to play as between humans, trolls, giants, darkelves, lightevles, and dwarves. Whatever race you pick  will decide your starting location, so for instance humans will begin on Midgard (Earth). There's different player classes, and each race gets two of the three options. There's Berserker (melee), Skald (healer), and Runemaster (magic). Furthermore, each race offers male and female playable characters. [embed]269421:52315:0[/embed] Visually the game was looking pretty great, even at the pre-alpha state that Paradox showed us in. Unfortunately we didn't get to see the battle system, but they did tell us enough to paint a picture in our minds at least. Battles transpire JRPG style in that you'll warp into a battlefield when you encounter enemies. The turn-based combat is also based on the hex grid system, and elements on the battlefield can affect fights in different ways. You start off as a nobody in the beginning of the game, but through your efforts you'll become stronger and amass an army that you take into fights. You'll be upgrading your main character, plus your armies can level up and be customized in a way that was likened to XCOM's character upgrade system. Four worlds are unlocked at the beginning, and while there's a certain path you should take, you're free to choose the order. That said, some worlds may be too advanced for a freshly-created character to take on. Each new game will also give you procedurally-generated worlds, and coupled with the emergent storytelling, a regular playthrough can take you upwards of 100 hours. Paradox told me they'll have good mod support here too, and they're "hoping for cool mods" once Runemaster gets in the hands of fans. The game is all about replayability, which is slightly insane given how long an average playthrough can take. Runemaster is offering quite the amount of content for players. I liked what I saw in my early look at the game, but I'm going to need to see the combat in action before fully getting hyped up. Still, there's a lot of potential here.
Runemaster photo
Will you bring about Ragnark, or prevent it?
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 f...

Crusader Kings II expansion Rajas of India opens the map

Jan 28 // Steven Hansen
Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods (Mac, Linux, PC [previewed])Developer: Paradox Development StudioPublisher: Paradox InteractiveReleased: March, 2014 MSRP: $14.99/€14.99/£9.99 If you're reading this because I said "war elephants" and you've not played Crusader Kings II, know that it's a grand strategy title wherein you assume control of nation and subsequently guide them through history (867-1337 if you've the Old Gods expansion, 1066-1337 otherwise).  The map expansion is the hugest change in Rajas, naturally. Aside from allowing players to play as one of these newly playable nations, opening the map puts more pressure on some of the previously far eastern countries of the old map as they now have more potential problems to contend with on all fronts. The large increase is equally dense, adding hundreds of new provinces throughout Central Asia as well as large parts of Siberia. Naturally, there is also a lot more jungle terrain in the area. With these playable territories come the rajas, Indian rulers of one of three new religions -- Buddhist, Jain, and Hindu -- and their vassals. Your national religion will have some affect on the trajectory of your country. Buddhists are able to research faster thanks to a technology bonus, Hindu are a bit more warlike, but also hamstrung by the new caste system, Jainism tends to lead toward a more peaceful, stable population. Plenty of historical license is rubbed into the systems, of course. Should you find it a prudent path, rulers may be able to change a national religion once in their lifetime, at a cost of high piety and, perhaps, resultant discord amongst vassals. It may be prudent, though, to start with inward stability before altering a nation's course toward outward aggression for greater overall strength and efforts in repelling incoming imperialist probes. With new religion, terrain, and war elephants comes other, more character and narrative additions that color the CKII experience compared to other grand strategy. There are reincarnation tales, religious festivals, a new set of facial profiles and attire, and other events specific to the region. Crusader Kings II is also bringing over some technical features from the recently released Europa Universalis IV, including Steam multiplayer matchmaking and Steam Workshop support, and borderless windowed mode. The Steam Workshop support is neat; Paradox seems to be doing a lot to encourage the modding community, while supporting matchmaking makes sense as people discover the joy of playing multiplayer grand strategy.
CKII expansion photo
Extend east, including the entire Indian continent
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 expa...

Going through World War II with Hearts of Iron IV

Jan 24 // Steven Hansen
[embed]269487:52340:0[/embed] While the bulk of World War II dealings are centralized in Europe, Hearts of Iron allows you take control of any country from the period, from Venezuela to Germany. You can alter the course of history or try to repeat history with a major power, or just try to sustain yourself -- and maybe even have some greater effect -- with a smaller power. The first thing that caught my eye in Hearts of Iron IV was the terribly pretty map. I'm no cartographile, but seeing eye-popping HD maps that put those of my childhood classrooms to shame is kind of neat. Plus, an important part of the game is its day and night cycle; for example, you don't want to be deploying your stealth bombers in the day time where they can be spotted like dalmatians. This is represented as a cool, large amplitude oscillation on the map (because timezones mean it is day or night in various parts of the world simultaneously). The seasons also play an important part in deciding strategy, and they're represented on the map at more zoomed in levels. You'll be able to easily see that those cumbersome mountains that would make your invasion a challenge are now covered in nearly impassable snowfall. And what sort of idiot would attack Russia in the winter? That's up there with getting involved in a land war in Asia. The neatest addition to Hearts of Iron IV has to be the battle plan system. Zoomed all the way into your country, you'll find it broken down in provinces, upon which you can place a unit (strategically, you'll want infantry in forests, tanks in flat lands, and so on). You can control your units in a simple fell swoop with the battle plan feature that lets you draw arrows to orient your units and then hit execute to have them follow the plan. Did you ever watch the history channel before it got consumed by the reality TV bug? Remember all the maps with wavy arrows indicating movement? It's that, basically. You draw out your strategy and set everything in motion at once, rather than stabbing at individual units, though you could do that if you want. I didn't go hands-on with it or see too much, but early in development it looked good and seemed conceptually sound. A few arrows saw a whole smattering of troops head east and establish a front. There's even a way to sort of paint a country's border for simple front establishing, and you can advance that whole front at once when the time is right. It's a cool touch that's organic and could simplify and hasten the process of play without sacrificing anything. Also, there is 32-player multiplayer, in addition to the single-player. You can have everyone play as their own country, or even co-op play a country. Other than that, Hearts of Iron IV will feel like a familiar grand strategy game when it comes to PC, Mac and Linux early 2015. There are Doctrines that act as overall directions for you country. Two are based on German and American styles, respectively, while the other two are based on Russian/Chinese and Japanese/British styles. And, of course, there are bundles of other decisions to be made within those doctrines, paths to branch out on, and more nitty gritty details to manage. Producing early tech tanks becomes easier as the years go on thanks to an efficiency bonus from repeat production. Do you go the German route and produce the most technologically good tanks, losing that bonus by changing the means of production, or do you do things the American way and mass produce a crappy tank, winning by sheer volume? Rotting, burnt corpse volume.
Hearts of Iron IV preview photo
Hearts of darkness
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 Hea...

Casting magic spells in Magicka: Wizard War's new mode

Jan 24 // Hamza CTZ Aziz
Magicka: Wizard Wars (PC)Developer: Paradox North Publisher: Paradox Interactive Release date: October 15, 2013MSRP:  $12.99 (Starter Wizard Pack) Duel Mode will see four players enter a compact arena. Two of the players will be pitted against one another while the other two get to watch from the stands. The two players engaged in the match will need to use a combination of various spells to defeat the other, and the last one standing wins. After a very brief pause, one of the players watching in the stands will be cycled into the arena and this repeats until someone reaches six total kills to win the game.   The entire concept is pretty straight forward, and from an outside appearance it all seems pretty simple. But much like a fighting game, Magicka offers a ton of depth to its combat system. Players have access to eight different spells, ranging from fire, lightning, healing, earth, shields, and more. Each spell can be used in an offensive or defensive manner, but where the depth really comes in is combining the different spells to create an even greater attack. Press the F key once and you'll unleash a simple fire blast. Press the F key three times and you'll shoot out a giant blaze. Combine the fire and earth spells and you'll shoot out a fireball. You get the idea. Some spells work better together than others, and it'll take some time to truly master the system.  Along with these spells you have a basic melee weapon, plus four powerful super spells that need to charge up over time. Your melee weapons, super spells, plus your cloak can all be altered before a match, too. Some examples of the super spells include summoning Death who will slash an enemies life bar by 80%, to summoning an outhouse that will spit out a couple of little helper minions.  The action and fighting is great, and pretty addicting. What's a little disappointing though is the spectator part of it all. The purpose of this is to help new players see how others use their fighting tactics, but for me personally it was kind of boring to just wait around and watch the two other players fight. You can't do anything from the stands, other than press a button that shoots out confetti every now and again onto the arena. I would have liked to been able to do something while waiting for my turn, from actually practicing different spell combinations, or maybe even betting on who the winner would be with the other person that I was waiting with. The minor annoyance aside, Duel Mode is pretty fun and will be a nice addition to the core MOBA experience of Magicka: Wizard Wars. 
Magicka photo
Duel Mode pits player versus player
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...


World War II is back with Hearts of Iron IV

A hardcore grand strategy title
Jan 23
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
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 ...

Runemaster, a Norse mythology RPG from Paradox

Brand new IP from Paradox with Heroes of Might & Magic inspiration
Jan 23
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
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 ...
Europa Universalis IV photo
Europa Universalis IV

Europa Universalis IV is getting its first expansion in

Conquest of Paradise
Dec 12
// Joshua Derocher
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...
War of the Vikings photo
War of the Vikings

War of the Vikings upgrades from alpha to beta

Steam is having a free play weekend as well
Dec 06
// Chris Carter
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, ...
Free to play photo
Free to play

Dungeonland becomes free to play

Try before you buy this co-op action-RPG
Nov 12
// Jordan Devore
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...
Europa Universalis photo
Europa Universalis

Conquer Paradise in new DLC for Europa Universalis IV

Find the new World in this expansion due out in December
Nov 04
// Alasdair Duncan
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....
Magicka: Wizard Wars photo
Magicka: Wizard Wars

Magicka: Wizard Wars on Steam Early Access today

We can start competing to see who hilariously kills himself less often
Oct 15
// Darren Nakamura
We've seen footage of Magicka: Wizard Wars previously, and some have been playing the alpha for the competitive multiplayer take on the 2011 element-combining "cooperative" adventure. Today, the Early Access version is avail...
War of the Vikings photo
War of the Vikings

War of the Vikings unleashes early access on Steam today

Go slice some dudes up
Oct 01
// Chris Carter
If you're itching to get your warcry on in Paradox Interactive's War of the Vikings, its Steam Early Access program starts today. Provided you're willing to plunk down for the game, you can access an early build right now, an...
Paradox photo

Paradox Development Studio is fully supporting SteamOS

'A great thing for PC gaming,' says Paradox CEO
Sep 27
// Jordan Devore
I've really come to appreciate Paradox Interactive's willingness to be frank. And its work on games that, while niche and not really my scene, are a welcome addition to the industry at large. The company is no stranger to sup...
The Showdown Effect photo
The Showdown Effect

You should really be playing The Showdown Effect

It's free for the weekend
Sep 20
// Fraser Brown
When I reviewed The Showdown Effect back in March, I absolutely loved it. Arrowhead are just great at making silly, fun titles. But within my review was a nagging doubt, the worry that it wouldn't be able to maintain the nece...

War of the Vikings has a lot of promise

Sep 03 // Chris Carter
War of the Vikings (PC [previewed])Developer: FatsharkPublisher: Paradox InteractiveReleased: Q1 2014MSRP: TBA As a sorta-kinda follow-up to War of the Roses, War of the Vikings aims to take things into a decidedly more barbaric direction. Developer Fatshark is aiming for a full authentic viking experience, including real-world weapons, armor, and shields. As part of the alpha, I had access to two maps: Monastery and Gauntlet. Both maps were extremely solid arenas, as they offered up a fair bit of cover from errant arrows as well as wide-open spaces to smash some skulls in hand-to-hand combat. Although the full game will allow for insane 64-player battles, I only had access to one smaller game mode called "Pitched Arena," that offered one life per round in a team deathmatch-like situation. Pitched Arena will support up to 32 players in the final build, but the alpha version only hosts a limited amount of players at any given time, which allowed for more intimate confrontations.  I had a chance to play as three classes: scout (ranged), warrior (balanced) and the huscarl (heavy). Like Roses, all three classes have their individual perks as well as their own loadouts, which helps alleviate any concerns of homogenized playstyles. While I had a few fun rounds going at it with the arrow touting scout, I really felt right at home with the warrior, given the fact that he offers up a fairly well-rounded loadout with a sword and shield. The huscarl was also a ton of fun with his two-handed axe, but I found it to be a little too risk-reward for my style of play. The action itself is fast, and you have to be aware of your surroundings at all times if you want to make it out alive. For instance, playing as a warrior, you're going to have to make sure that your shield is up when arrows are flying at your face from a scout. Alternatively, over-reliance on your shield sacrifices your maneuverability, and can result in losing it to a well-timed axe swing from a huscarl. But while things can often happen in the blink of an eye, there's plenty of time for slow and methodical fighting as well, specifically in Pitched Arena, when most players have died out leaving a heads-up 1v1 situation. It's at this point that the combat of War of the Vikings really shines, as you circle your opponent, attempting to get a perfect slice in. Should you miss, it's most likely lights out, and it's really easy to completely forget that unexpected second enemy that snuck up from behind. Customization is already confirmed for the final version, including "a variety of beard options," and the ability to test out custom perks and builds. Although I found my playstyle of choice rather quickly, I'm sure other players will appreciate the option to take the game to a further level of customization. If it's anything like War of the Roses, it's going to be pretty worthwhile. In fact, I'm eager to see the strides that are made after the alpha, and seeing how far Fatshark intends to justify this as a full-on standalone game over an expansion for Roses. It's not going to be for everyone, but I think once Vikings hits it'll carve out a dedicated niche crowd that will play it for months on end (or hold them out until Mount & Blade II). While I'm a bit cautious to see how ironed out the game is past the alpha stage, I'm extremely hopeful of the combat system, and most of my fights were intense enough to keep me intrigued. As a side note, if you own War of the Roses: Kingmaker, you'll be able to gain access to the alpha, and you can keep an eye on Paradox's registration page in the future.
War of the Vikings photo
Very deep tactical action...with vikings
Paradox Interactive is a publishing machine. It's dabbling in just about every genre under the sun, and now, the company is taking on third-person action in the form of War of the Vikings -- a PC title set to arrive sometime in 2014. It's a bit rough around the edges, but as an action fan, I really appreciated the attention to the tactical nuances that made the games' combat so deep.

Paradox Humble bundle photo
Paradox Humble bundle

Get acquainted with Paradox in the latest Humble Bundle

It's worth it just for Crusader Kings II
Aug 30
// Fraser Brown
The latest Humble Weekly Sale is a cracker, putting up a bunch of Paradox Interactive's biggest titles. Pay what you want and you'll get War of the Roses (along with access to the War of the Vikings alpha), Warlock: Mast...

Review: Europa Universalis IV

Aug 26 // Fraser Brown
Europa Universalis IV (PC)Developer: Paradox Development StudioPublisher: Paradox InteractiveReleased: August 14, 2013MSRP: $39.99 Maps and menus are damn sexy, right? If your response to that was "God, no" then you're looking at the wrong ones. The map and menus of Europa Universalis are windows into the stories of nations, and ones that you won't have to spend hours wrestling with to comprehend. Fluctuating borders, gigantic mountain ranges, continents changing with the seasons -- the world has never looked so alive in a grand strategy title. It's so good looking, in fact, that I spend most of my time playing in the regular terrain mode, not wanting the various trade, political, and religious overlays to spoil the gorgeous vista. I pause the game and switch when I need more information, but I quickly go back to ogling the Alps or admiring the way the leaves turn orange during Autumn. The menus don't have the same visual appeal, but the way that they break down the complex facets of Europa Universalis into easily discernible information makes them just as impressive. At a glance, a high inflation rate might just look like a random percentage, but in reality it's the result of a decade-long war and loans constantly being taken out to pay for a huge mercenary army. Or perhaps it's the result of greed, with the nation creating too many gold mines and mismanaging the economy. Merely hovering over the inflation number reveals the reason the nation is in dire straits.  This convenience extends to the entire interface. There remains a lot to take in, as the game flings a huge array of information at players the moment they take control of a nation, but between the tips tab, robust tutorial, and the way the information is elegantly broken down for easy consumption, it's not nearly as intimidating as its predecessor.  With the interface helping rather than hindering, newcomers and old hats alike can jump in and lead their chosen nation -- out of almost any era-appropriate nation you can think off, from England to the Aztec Empire -- from 15th century to the 19th century without freaking out when their peasants start rioting for no particular reason, or another power declares war out of the blue, simply because such things don't happen. There's always an underlying reason, and it can always be found. Europa Universalis lavishes players with countless missions, offering some handy direction. At any time, there are several missions available, all logical for the nation they are given to and the situation it's in. England might get a mission to conquer territory in France that it lost during the Hundred Years' War, or after years of economic mismanagement, any nation might be offered a mission to lower inflation.  Not merely a guiding hand, missions result in rewards like increased prestige -- which affects the opinions other countries have of you -- or a higher military tradition, buffing the armed forces.  This new addition doesn't change the fact that Europa Universalis has always been about setting your own goals, encouraging players to live out their "what if?" historical fantasies. And with there being no set victory conditions, it's less about winning or losing and more about the journey. My attempt to turn Scotland into a wealthy colonial power completely failed when England declared war in the 1600s and my French allies refused to help me. My burgeoning colonial holdings were gobbled up, and soon the English marched into Scotland and put my cities to the torch. I didn't feel like I'd "lost" the game, however. That story had merely ended violently instead of ending with an unlikely Scottish empire. That didn't make it any less entertaining or worthwhile.  Beneath the historical narrative lies a slew of fine-tuned, interconnected systems. As Venice, my first goal was to get fat and rich from trade. As a Merchant Republic I didn't have to wait for leaders to die before a new one took over, as I could choose a new Doge during frequent elections, so the first chance I got, I installed the bureaucratic candidate. The new Doge generated a lot of administrative points, which in turn I was able to spend on increasing my administrative technology.  The administrative upgrades increased the efficiency of my realm, but more importantly: it unlocked my first national idea, letting me customize my realm. I could have explored the espionage ideas, the variety of military ones, or invested in colonization, but instead I opted for the trade idea.  Spending more administrative points eventually conferred boons like increased trade power and more merchants, letting me collect money from trade nodes in my own territory, or steer trade from foreign nodes back to Venice. The basic principle of trade is that you use your power to direct or dip into revenue, but it becomes a bit more complex when the New World is discovered, as you unlock more nodes and attempt to juggle an increasingly large trade network.  Nice and wealthy, I looked at my pitiful neighbours and decided to dabble in a spot of conquest, and again the monarch points, national ideas, and technology came into play. I switched between military and diplomatic Doges, spending the points generated on quelling rebellions, fielding more generals, demanding more land and money from peace negotiations, gaining more advanced military technology, and working my way down a military-focused national idea pillar. Viewed separately, these systems might seem a tad mind-boggling, but considered as one system where every action ties into another, it's a lot easier to wrap your noggin around. It remains intricate and complex, but entirely logical -- once you spot the threads that connect everything from trade to conquest together, it becomes more about mastering them and learning how to exploit them than figuring out how they work.  Playing with these systems often results in some tough decisions. "Do I spend my military points to stamp out a potential rebellion, or do I upgrade my soldiers so I can face a threat amassing on my border?" The challenge is in identifying the most immediate concerns and then planning for others. Much of my time with Europa Universalis has been spent with the game paused, pouring over menus, investigating my neighbors, and fretting over what my next step will be. It can be intense and exhausting, but the rewards of outsmarting a devious foe or surviving an invasion from a significantly more powerful country make it worthwhile.  Europa Universalis IV's greatest triumph -- beyond being a deep grand strategy title that doesn't obfuscate everything and leave newcomers weeping in the corner -- is how it makes every new game feel like a new game. Some nations, like England, France, and The Ottomans have clearly had more time spent on making them distinct, but even smaller powers like Native American tribes get their own unique units, even though less attention has been paid to their missions and historical events. They all offer new experiences, however. Whether it's because of the part of the world they are situated in, the player-defined goals, or how the AI nations around them are acting -- there's always a surprise ready to assault you. Old friends can turn into enemies because they fear your conquering ways -- nations now hold grudges that can last for lifetimes -- or your entire population could rise up against you because they are sick of frequent wars, national debt, or feel like they are living under a tyrant. Few plans can go off without a hitch, because Europa Universalis is such a reactive game. You're not playing in a vacuum; you're playing with hundreds of nations with diverse populations, and they've all got their own goals and ambitions. Rivalries develop over time, coalitions pop up, with your neighbors teaming up against you, and religions violently collide. Something is always going on, and it's not always a given that you'll be able to control it. Even taking the reins of the same country multiple times can result in a completely different jaunt through history. I've played as Venice twice now, and the first time -- which you can read about here -- ended with Austria utterly spanking me, but on my second attempt, Austria was completely smashed by France and I, the Holy Roman Empire ended up being controlled by Bohemia, and I united Italy. Adding multiplayer into the equation makes thing even more unpredictable, and if you've read any of my articles recounting my LAN experiences with the game, you'll know that I was looking forward to spending a lot of my time with Europa Universalis IV online. Lamentably, the fates have conspired against me. Using Steam instead of the atrocious metaserver from previous Paradox Development Studio games, the multiplayer promised to be a lot more stable and nowhere near as fiddly as past iterations. There's even a handy hot-join option, letting players jump into a game-in-progress without having to faff about. I've not been able to test it at all, however, as I can't even see the games my chums are hosting, nor can I connect via IP. I know that a lot of folk are enjoying the multiplayer with almost no issues, but I'm not one of them. Despite the multiplayer issues I've encountered, Europa Universalis IV has been the most stable and bug-free Paradox title I've ever played. I spotted some Belgian troops going completely crazy, moving back and forth in the same provinces for an entire year, and when I first started playing clicking on colonial provinces would bring up no information, and I had to click on the region next to them, but since the first week I've not seen anything like that again. Even more surprising is that I haven't crashed once.  I'm quite willing to admit that I've become obsessed with Europa Universalis IV. When I'm not talking about it, I'm desperate to bring it up, and when I chat to someone that I know for a fact plays it, I'll happily natter away for hours, regaling them with the history of my nations, demanding that they entertain me with tales of their own. Paradox Development Studio has shown that it understands grand strategy like no other studio. Europa Universalis IV is the defining game in the genre, laying out the whole world in front of players and just letting them have at it. It's a polished, almost terrifyingly vast title that gets its hooks in you the moment you click on that first country, and simply refuses to let go. Now, if you don't mind, I've got some peasants to oppress. 
Europa Universalis review photo
Crushing peasants and building empires
I've just united Italy after over a century of bloody conflicts. From Doge of The Serene Republic of Venice to the first King of Italy -- it's quite the step up. Along the way, I've upset the gargantuan Holy Roman Empire, gon...

Paradox photo

Paradox and Fatshark team up again for War of the Vikings

Aug 06
// Jordan Devore
Fatshark is applying the War of the Roses framework to a related -- but standalone, it should be pointed out -- combat game called War of the Vikings. Yes, the name pretty much says it all. You in? Skirmishes will take place...

Review: Teleglitch: Die More Edition

Jul 30 // Patrick Hancock
Teleglitch: Die More Edition (Linux, Mac, PC [reviewed])Developer: Test3 ProjectsPublisher: Paradox InteractiveRelease Date: July 24, 2013MSRP: $12.99  First of all, the AI has been upgraded. Enemies can still be kited like crazy, in other words forced to chase you, if you run past them all in the earlier levels, but they are now smarter about moving around in the environment. So while it's just as easy to kite them, it's way harder to actually lose them. Many times, when I find myself with little to no ammo and entering a giant room with many monsters, my first instinct is to just run. However, what inevitably ends up happening is that, as I run further and further while kiting more and more monsters, I'll hit a dead end, turn around, and simply be overwhelmed. Additional levels have also been added to the game, but they're not just plopped haphazardly into the game's progression. Instead, the game now allows the player to choose the next level in certain cases. So instead of going from level one to level two, the player can choose to go to level 2a or 2b. These new levels offer new environments not seen in the original game, and are a great addition for those who have played through the game once already. [embed]258507:49770:0[/embed] The most significant, and my personal favorite, addition to the Die More Edition is the "RSG," or Random Starting Gear, option. Normally, you'd always start with a pistol and some ammo in addition to your trusty melee knife. In a world of randomly-generated everything, knowing how each new life would start provided a calming and welcome sense of familiarity. With RSG turned on, your starting item is randomized from eight possibilities, all of which are new to the Die More Edition. The Pink Death, for example, will penetrate any armor and deal massive damage, but only comes with two shots in a clip. Sometimes, you'll just start with dynamite and chocolate. My personal favorite is the shockblade, a melee weapon. It forces me to play in a completely different way, since starting off with no ranged weapon can be very dangerous. It is also incredibly powerful, taking out the basic enemies in one shot. I always tend to play games with a focus on melee, so I feel in my element when using the shockblade. It's important to mention that the RSG is only available to users who purchase the game before July 31, 2013, as it's considered a "pre-order bonus." It's kind of a bummer that the best thing about the Die More Edition won't be available to everyone, so I hope they offer it up as cheap downloadable content down the line. At times, the randomness of the game's drops and areas can make it feel a bit too difficult. Sometimes it seems like you are always destined to die no matter what you do, especially early on when you don't have many items to craft together. I, as well as many others, would have definitely appreciated the addition of an "easy mode," if for nothing other than to explore the game's later levels without the requirement of a stroke of luck and intense, machine-like focus. I don't think it would undermine the game's focus if it were presented as a secondary option, as the more casual players could at least experience the breadth of content the game has to offer. The Die More Edition certainly lives up to its name. As if I didn't die enough in the original Teleglitch, I found myself really struggling to get to the fourth level (of nine) of this new version. It's got other bells and whistles like new dossiers to help expand the lore further as well as more upgrades for weapon crafting, which serve as the icing on the cake for this already-beefy version of the game. Straight up, the Teleglitch: Die More Edition expands upon the greatness of the original game in every way possible.
Teleglitch Die More Ed. photo
Guess how many times I died? More times
Teleglitch, released late last year, is quite a wonderful roguelike. It's also really incredibly difficult. Like, "good luck getting to level five" difficult. So when I heard about an upgraded version titled "Die More Edition," I got pretty frightened. How much harder could it get? Way harder.

Europa Universalis IV photo
Europa Universalis IV

Crusader Kings collides with Europa Universalis

Lead your people from the Middle Ages into the Renaissance
Jul 30
// Fraser Brown
Europa Universalis IV, one of my most anticipated releases of the year, is only a fortnight away. As we enter August, the final pre-order bonus has been revealed by Paradox Interactive, and it's a doozy: a free copy of Crusad...
Paradox photo

First-look footage of Magicka: Wizard Wars

We're all going to die ... soon
Jul 18
// Jordan Devore
Paradox North's team-based, player-versus-player game Magicka: Wizard Wars has shown itself off previously, but never in motion like this. The real-time spellcasting of Magicka was already deadly in so-called "cooperative" p...
Europa Universalis IV photo
Europa Universalis IV

Europa Universalis IV: Give Me That Old-Time Religion

Get the gods on your side
Jul 01
// Fraser Brown
Europa Universalis IV is but a mere month away from release, but Paradox isn't finished with filling you in on the game's many nuances. In the latest dev diary, Project Lead Thomas Johansson describes the complex religious m...

Auto-loading more stories ... un momento, corazón ...