Crusader Kings 3 Interview — Multiplayer, Family Dynasties, More

Paradox Development Studio has spent the last four or five years creating a new game engine to give Crusader Kings 3 the power of a new generation. Hence, the upcoming sequel will be a substantial improvement in several areas. Many features that were previously impossible to integrate will now see the light of day, as far as the grand, strategic franchise is concerned.

Speaking with SegmentNext in a recent interview, Paradox Development Studio provided insight on the new game engine, as well as how the multiplayer is being bettered. Crusader Kings 3 is planned for release sometime in 2020 for PC via Steam and the Xbox Game Pass.

You mentioned a change in engines for the development of Crusader Kings 3. Would you like to describe this new engine and how much more helpful it’s been?

The Clausewitz engine is being continuously updated and a lot has happened since 2012, not just in terms of graphics capabilities; it also has an entirely new UI system that is much easier to work with, new multiplayer code, and a much more powerful script language. The closest comparison is to Imperator: Rome, which runs on a similar engine version.

In regards to that. You also described the engine for 2 as “being held together by tape”. What do you mean by that? Was it very difficult to actually produce 2? How much easier and convenient was it to make 3 in comparison?

I didn’t mean the actual engine, but rather the CK2 codebase as such. When it was released back in 2012 the CK2 codebase was sufficient for what we were planning to do at the time. With years upon years of updates it started to show its age; things that should take little to no time took ages. There were so many systems that were made so long ago by so many different people that it started to feel like an archeological dig.

It wasn’t a problem to produce CK2 or its updates per se, but it started to be cumbersome after so many years, for the reasons outlined above. Developing CK3 has been much easier, with iteration times having improved significantly. We’ve created a solid foundation for us to stand on.

How much did the development of Crusader Kings 3 interfere with the development of your other game, Imperator? Did the two impede or dampen each others progress in any way?

No, not at all. We developed some shared tech during the development of Imperator, but that’s it.

What made you pick the time period of Crusader Kings 3 to start from the Viking ages and end in Byzantium? Was it the only Middle Ages time period left that you had interest in? Excluding the previous instalments

The time period of CK3 is chosen based upon what players enjoyed playing in CK2. As it turns out, players prefer to start in 1066 or as a pagan in 867, so we decided to focus upon those dates for the release.

What would you attribute as the most captivating factor of your upcoming game? The gameplay qualifies as a grand real time strategy game but goes much deeper than that doesn’t it?

We have aimed to improve and deepen the RPG aspects of the game, focusing on player freedom and choice. While CK3 is no less a strategy game than CK2 was, it is vastly superior in the character building aspect. You will be able to direct your own character’s destiny through your Lifestyle, and that of your entire Dynasty through the use of renown and Legacies. There’s real genetics instead of static portraits, a larger and more intricate world… the list goes on. We believe that the main captivating factor will be the characters, and their journey throughout the centuries – to see your family line flourish.

Studios always aim to one-up their previous game with their sequel obviously. One major point of measurement in the community is to do with map size. Are you confident in the size of Crusader Kings 3’s map size?

Yes, it covers everything and more than CK2’s map did. We have more of Africa, Mongolia and Tibet, and even a small bit of Indochina. The scale of the map itself is also much more vast, with baronies being on the map. The granularity this gives to both combat and vassal management makes each area feel bigger than in CK2.

Talk to us about how the multiplayer will factor in to your game. Will it be more cooperative? More PvE? How will the progression of timelines and dynasties work? Is the multiplayer meshed with the single player experience or kept aside in a spot of its own?

The experience will be similar to CK2, with players choosing themselves if they want to play cooperatively or not. We have made efforts to make the game better in multiplayer though, by properly pacing events and other content to not overwhelm you. Getting into multiplayer is easier than ever, and you will be able to play with your friends without much hassle at all.

What was it like working with 3D rendered models this time as opposed to the more card like format in the previous installments? Does it have anything to do with the new engine?

Working with 3D opens up many doors for us, it’s much easier to get a lot of variation into the system, and it’s also possible to model proper genetics. Having children preserve features from both the mother and father is going to go a long way for immersion. It also allows us to have animations, and to pose characters so that they hold props, for example. This wouldn’t have been possible without the new engine.