Crusader Kings 3 Game Director found reaction to Imperator: Rome “concerning”

By Joe Robinson 06 Nov 2019 0

Imperator: Rome was a wake-up call for Paradox Interactive in more ways than one. For lead developer Johan Andersson, it was a test to see if he could still make a game on his own with relatively few resources and supporting staff, but for the rest of the internal development teams it led to a lot of introspection.

For the existing PDS titles, there may not have been as much to immediately learn from the first six months of Imperator’s life, but for Paradox’s newest upcoming Grand Strategy game, Crusader Kings 3, there was way more at stake. Game Director Henrik Fåhraeus said as much to us in an interview from PDXCon:

There were a lot of lessons to learn but I don’t think we’re as vulnerable to a lot of the criticism [Imperator] got. The lack of content for various factions in the game was never really the same problem for us. We have planned to make everyone playable except Merchant Republics and Nomads - we cut those. We feel we’re in a pretty good place.

But it’s not so much content and features Henrik is worried about, but player expectations:

The expectations on how much should go into our games in general, that is concerning. That’s definitely something to think about when we plan the life cycles of our games. How big should they get?

Henrik also told us how there was a real conversation of developing CK2 in perpetuity and turning it into some kind of MMO/live-service game:

One of our the programmers was like “f*** it, let’s just keep doing this game forever” and give it visual upgrades. He was in the minority. The code base is so rickety you’d have to rip it all out anyway.

Henrik plans to make Crusader Kings 3 as content rich as possible, although Merchant Republics and Nomads aren't the only items not making a return. The Inventory system is gone as well, as it led to some exploitative gameplay. Henrik knows he's trying to strike a delicate balance with cut features:

The trick is to have judged our players correctly that we’ve cut something they won’t miss. There’s not really a lot of dead flesh to cut from CK2, not really, but it’s less popular features.It would have taken a lot of effort to bring them up to the standard of features I would make today.

Merchant Republics are fun, but I would not design them the same way.

Crusader Kings 3 is due to release sometime next year - check out our master CK3 guide of everything known so far!

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