Crusader Kings II
|Crusader Kings II|
|Developer(s)||Paradox Development Studio|
|Engine||Paradox Development Studio|
|Platform(s)||Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux|
February 14, 2012
May 24, 2012
January 14, 2013
Crusader Kings II is a grand strategy game set in the Middle Ages, developed by Paradox Development Studio and published by Paradox Interactive as a sequel to Crusader Kings. It was released for Microsoft Windows on February 14, 2012. An OS X version, Paradox Interactive's first in-house development for the operating system, was released on May 24, 2012. A Linux version was also released on January 14, 2013. It has been Paradox's second most successful release to date, after Cities: Skylines, with over 1 million copies sold.
The game is a dynasty simulator where the player controls a Medieval dynasty from 1066 to 1453, though the DLC The Old Gods and Charlemagne allow for an earlier start date of 867 and 769, respectively. Through the strategic use of war, marriages and assassinations among many other things, the player works to achieve success for his or her dynasty. The game contains numerous historical figures such as William the Conqueror, Charlemagne, Genghis Khan, Harold Godwinson, Robert Guiscard, Robert the Bruce, Harald Hardrada, El Cid, Constantine X Doukas, Harun al-Rashid, Alexios I Komnenos, Richard the Lionheart, Ivar the Boneless, Alfred the Great, Baldwin I of Jerusalem, and Saladin, but allows for the player to choose less significant figures such as minor dukes and counts, and creation of entirely new characters with the use of the "Ruler Designer" DLC.
Success is defined solely by the player. The only in-game objective is to obtain as many prestige and piety points as possible in order to surpass the various historically relevant European dynasties in a fictional prestige ranking (the three most prestigious ones being the Capetian, the Rurikovich and the Habsburg dynasties). The game ends when the player's current character dies without an heir of the same dynasty to succeed him/her, when all landed titles are stripped from all members of the player's dynasty, or simply when the in-game year changes to 1453.
The game employs a genetics and education system where children will inherit many traits, culture, religion and skills from their parents and guardian. This adds an additional layer of strategy to marriages, such that a player will attempt not only to form beneficial alliances, but also to select marriage partners with strong heritable traits to maximise the quality of offspring and thus strengthen the dynasty. This requires balancing sometimes conflicting interests. For example, while one possible marriage might allow some desirable alliance to be formed with another ruler, it may also require marrying a spouse with some undesirable traits. Such a trade-off can occur in the reverse as well: one possible spouse could possess highly desirable traits but yield no new alliances for the player's dynasty.
While a player can choose almost any landed noble to play, there are some which are unplayable without the use of mods, notably: Theocracies (most notably The Papacy) and landed Holy Orders/Mercenaries (for example, the Templars or the Catalan Company) as well as minor Republics (such as Novgorod) and baronies are unplayable. Muslims, Pagans, Jews, Indians, and Merchant Republics (most notably Venice) are playable with the Sword of Islam, The Old Gods, "Sons of Abraham", "Rajas of India" and The Republic DLC respectively.
A total conversion mod based on George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy novels entitled A Game of Thrones was released in May 2012. On 17 December 2013, a massive expansion to this mod was released, adding the eastern continent of Essos.
A total conversion mod based on Bethesda Softworks's The Elder Scrolls video game series was attempted in early July 2012 and received its first release on April 1, 2013. Entitled "Elder Kings", the mod recreated the majority of known landmasses of Nirn. Tamriel included all 9 provinces (Including the Orcs homeland Orsinium, though not as its own province.) Akavir, Atmora, Cathnoquey, Esroniet, Pyrandonea and Yokuda were also included in the modification. All major races from the Elder Scrolls games were playable.
Release and reception
A demo was released on February 4, 2012, which featured four playable characters over a 20-year span. A marketing campaign for the game featured light comedy videos on the concept of the Seven Deadly Sins.
The game was met with generally positive reviews and has attained a metascore of 82 at Metacritic. GameSpot reviewer Shaun McInnis stated "Through a complex system of diplomacy and backstabbing, Crusader Kings II makes every power struggle an engrossing one" and he lauded the gameplay while noting the "lackluster tutorials". IGN summed up their review by saying "An intense learning curve, but a unique strategy experience". IGN rated the gameplay and "lasting appeal" a 9/10. A reviewer for Rock, Paper, Shotgun stated that Crusader Kings II was "probably the most human strategy game" he ever played. Rob Zacny of PC PowerPlay, who gave the game a 7/10 score, called it a "brilliant treatment of feudalism in terms of strategy and story" but also stated it "requires major investment to overcome information overload". Kotaku named the game as one of their game of the year nominees.
By September 2014, Crusader Kings II had sold more than 1 million copies, with the expansion pack and DLC sales totaling over 7 million units. According to Paradox Interactive, the game was played by an average of 12,500 players every day, with an average playtime of 99 hours per player.
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- Adam Smith (2012-02-23). "Wot I Think: Crusader Kings II". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved 2013-02-02.
When the consequences are so human they mean all the much more and this is probably the most human strategy game I’ve ever played. If it doesn’t wind up being among my very favourite games of the year, spectacular things will occur in the next ten months.
- Plunkett, Luke (4 January 2013). "Why Crusader Kings II Should Be Game Of The Year". Kotaku. Gawker Media. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
- Graft, Kris (September 18, 2014). "Aiming for the 'niche' pays off for million-selling strategy game". Gamasutra. Archived from the original on November 10, 2014.