Chris King on Crusader Kings II

Chris King on Crusader Kings II

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We sit down with Chris King, game designer at Paradox Interactive, to talk about Crusader Kings II. This grand-strategy game is scheduled for release in Q1 2012.

Hooked Gamers: In Crusader Kings, the only way one could wage war against a fellow Christian was by having a Casus Belli. On the other hand, declaring war on non-Christians was always allowed. Some players found it a bit restrictive, especially when your own country was surrounded by Christian nations. Are there plans to change this system and if so, how?

Chris King: At base no, this is still a climate of extreme legalism. The whole feudal system relies on people obeying most of the rules, most of the time. The kind of free for all that you see in the renaissance era only came after the breakdown of the feudal order. However, we are looking to give you more options. Like advance the claim of another. A character is removed from his title and flees to your court. Then you can attack the titleholder to get your man back in power. If you succeed then the returned titleholder will remember what you did and hold a higher opinion of you, for a while.

Hooked Gamers: The outcome of two armies meeting on the battlefield was always a fairly predictable affair: the army with the most units would pretty much always win the day. There were no random influences such as rain (bad for archers) or a swampy area (bad for cavalry) to push the battle in another's favor. Will we see such random situations in Crusader Kings II?

Chris King: We are a long way from completion, so the combat system is not fully done yet. However, what I can share with you is current state of development. Combat will be influenced by tactics selected by the commanders. Commanders select tactics based on the current odds, their traits and their military skill. So even though outnumbering the enemy, a coward with a low military skill could still decide that discretion is the better part of valour and choose to withdraw from the battle to fight another day.

Hooked Gamers: Crusader Kings II looks to be no exception to the rule that Paradox grand strategy titles are filled to the brim with all sorts of information. As such, interface is an incredibly important aspect of the games development. What sort of interface changes have you implemented to keep the game manageable?

Chris King: The interface has been completely redone from Crusader Kings. We have added a family tree browser that allows you to quickly see who your ancestors are, a character finder with nice filters to find people quickly and a special message system where you can flag character of interest. No longer will you, as King of Ireland be bogged down with pop ups telling you what the Prince of Kiev is up to, you can say all I want to do is keep an eye on my neighbors over the Irish sea. Weve also added other cool things like a list of previous holders of the title, which we feel adds some nice flavour to holding titles.

Hooked Gamers: It is our tradition to give developers a chance to say something about the game that they are desperate to get out. Is there anything burning on your lips?

Chris King: Just that this is a lot of fun to work on and that we hope the gamers will enjoy the game when it arrives in 2012.

Find more info and screenshots on our Gamehub.