It’s been quite an April for strategy game publisher/developer Paradox Interactive. Big expansions just hit for two of their flagship games, a third title is about to get a port over to Xbox AND they’re throwing substantial weight behind a new WWII RTS title coded by France’s Eugen Studios. Let’s run down the big list of goings-on to catch you up.
When I think of Paradox, I think of Strategy gaming, but the truth is that they’ve extended themselves beyond any single genre. That being acknowledged, I probably don’t mention their full product line enough because grand strategy games are my clear favorite. Their amazing Europa Universalis franchise, saw its fourth iteration released in August of 2013 and that still lives on vibrantly with a half-dozen solid expansions.
Mandate of Heaven Makes Europa Universalis Even Bigger
Just over a week ago they added to EU IV’s expansion count with Mandate of Heaven, deepening the gameplay between the East Asian powers in Europa Universalis IV. It was accompanied by a flood of Twitch.tv streams from the Paradox product management and development teams and must have been a strong seller. Remind me to look to see if any sales estimate numbers are available – I’m truly curious.
EU IV is a fascinating experience, although I really only began playing recently. The condensed version is that you battle across historical maps over the course of several centuries. You can experience the Reformation and discovery of America while playing as ANY nation. Like a challenge? Pick a tiny nation surrounded by bloodthirsty competitive powers and see if you can be diplomatic enough to grow into something more than their potential doormat.
I bought EU IV years back but have been accumulating the expansions slowly as my favorite game sellers offer discounts. But since expansion brings such fundamental change to the game mechanics, I held off on playing to wait until I’d completed the collection. I may have been delaying too because its not an easy game and can be a bit daunting to get underway with SO MANY OPTIONS.
But I got so intrigued by the nearly endless Paradox Twitch streams and finally jumped in to play. I’m still about two expansions behind everyone else, and regularly get whipped by the game’s A.I., but the historical contexts are a ton of fun… and I’m slowly improving.
Stellaris Expands to Utopia
Paradox’s second expansion of the month is Utopia. That one adds huge content to 2016’s bestselling Stellaris, an incredibly fun 4X Strategy title that I think stole the spotlight from the revival of Master of Orion (a story for another day). Paradox used Twitch effectively to show off all the features inside Utopia, so I’m imagining that it sold well, too.
Cities Coming to Xbox in Style
I watched a couple of streams that showed off the new Xbox version of Cities:Skylines, their city builder that continues to sell well on the PC platform. I’m not personally a fan of building cities with a controller in my hands but everyone is different!
Hit the Shores of World War II Normandy!
The last bit of news is, for me, the most exciting. A couple weeks back, Paradox started featuring Steel Division: Normandy 44 on Twitch. Eugen Systems, creator of Ruse and the highly successful Wargame series, is building the game (now in open beta) and Paradox will apparently be pushing sales and promotion to help Eugen. It’s an odd combination but they certainly both bring talent to the table.
I bought the Deluxe version of the SD beta and it’s a great RTS. The content is awfully limited at this point – a couple of maps and 3 or 4 sample divisions (forces) – but you can get a pretty good flavor for the gameplay now, a bit more than one month from the May 23 release date.
So that’s a pretty good roundup of April @ Paradox. I’ll put some helpful links below.
EU IV base game:
Stellaris base game:
Cities: Skylines base game:
Steel Division: Normandy 44 base game (beta):