Crusader Kings III

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Crusader Kings III
Crusader Kings III.jpg
Developer(s)Paradox Development Studio[a]
Publisher(s)Paradox Interactive
Director(s)Henrik Fåhraeus
  • Andreas Waldetoft
  • Philip Wareborn
  • Windows, macOS, Linux
  • WW: 1 September 2020
  • AU: 7 September 2020[1]
  • PS5, Xbox Series X/S
  • WW: 29 March 2022
Genre(s)Grand strategy, role-playing
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

Crusader Kings III is a grand strategy role-playing video game set in the Middle Ages, developed by Paradox Development Studio and published by Paradox Interactive as a sequel to Crusader Kings (2004) and Crusader Kings II (2012). The game was released on PC on 1 September 2020 and on the Xbox Series X/S and PlayStation 5 on 29 March 2022.[2]


Like its predecessors Crusader Kings and Crusader Kings II, Crusader Kings III is a grand strategy game and dynasty simulator set in the Middle Ages. Players begin as a character in either 867 or 1066.[3][4] The game map is about four times more detailed than the one in Crusader Kings II and slightly larger, incorporating Europe, Africa roughly as far south as the Equator, and Asia as far East as Tibet.[5] Upon the death or deposition of a player's character they may continue to play as that character's heir. Overall, players develop a dynasty over the centuries, with the game ending in 1453.[6]

Dynasties can form cadet branches that have their own heads and act mostly independently from their parent dynasty. The heads of dynasties are able to use a new resource known as Renown to assert their control over their house. For example, the heads of houses are responsible for legitimizing bastards.[7]

Characters have full-body, 3D-rendered character models instead of 2D portraits.[8] As in Crusader Kings II, they have traits that affect their stats and behavior. Making choices that go against a character's traits will increase that character's stress.[9] The game's genetics system allows characters to pass on some of their characteristics to their descendants.[10] Characters are able to frighten their vassals into staying loyal by increasing their Dread, which increases when the character performs malevolent actions, such as executing or torturing other characters.[11] Characters are able to select one of five lifestyles to follow. Each lifestyle has three skill trees that allow characters to enhance skills related to that lifestyle.[12]

Players' realms may have the feudal, tribal, or clan government types.[13] Religion and culture are both aspects of the game. Leaders can advance their goals by warfare, diplomacy, or subterfuge. Players may undergo pilgrimages and wage holy wars, and entire religions can be called to arms in crusades or jihads. Religions have Tenets, which are bonuses given to all practitioners of that faith, and Doctrines, which deal with the religion's stances towards issues like homosexuality and female clergy.[9] The principal resource for interacting with religion mechanics is Piety, and a player with sufficient piety may choose to develop their own heresy, with the Tenets and Doctrines being chosen by the player.[8]

Levies are represented primarily by low-quality infantry composed of peasants. Characters will need to hire men-at-arms in order to field higher-quality soldiers, such as crossbowmen and cavalry. Characters can make other characters from their court or realm with significant combat skills into powerful knights.[9]


Game director Henrik Fåhraeus commented that development of the game commenced "about 1 year before Imperator", indicating a starting time of 2015. Describing the game engine of Crusader Kings II as cobbled and "held together with tape", he explained that the new game features an updated engine (i.e. Clausewitz Engine + Jomini toolset) with more power to run new features.[13]

As is the case with many of Paradox's unreleased and currently supported works, the developers publish a weekly developer diary. Each post focuses on a single aspect of the game, such as government types, user interface, governments, war, etc., how this aspect of the game will be handled in Crusader Kings III, and how it is different from Crusader Kings II. A monthly update video is also published on the Paradox Interactive YouTube channel, summarising all of the changes which have been made in that month's Dev Diaries.


The game was released on 1 September 2020 and is available through Steam and Xbox Game Pass for PC.[13][14] The game is available in two editions: the Base Game Edition, which includes the base game and a pre-order bonus, and the Royal Edition, which includes the base game and an expansion pass. The expansion pass contains a collection of additional content packs and the first expansion.[15]

Crusader Kings III was initially rejected by the Australian Classification Board, reportedly over complications regarding the game's classification. The game was eventually cleared and released within Australia six days after its initial release, on 7 September 2020. Because of its delayed release, the pre-order bonus window was extended to 21 September exclusively for Australian Steam users.[16][17]

A console version of the game was released on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X and Series S on 29 March 2022.[18] The game was made available on Xbox Game Pass on the same day.[19]


Name Accompanying Patch Type Release Date Description
Fashion of the Abbasid Court 1.0 Cosmetic Pack 1 September 2020 Contains a set of additional outfits and cosmetic clothing options for the Middle East and North Africa. Only available through the Expansion Pass.
Northern Lords 1.3 "Corvus" Flavor Pack 16 March 2021 Northern Lords contains additional content pertaining to the Viking Age Scandinavia including the ability to form adventurer realms, access to holy warriors and shield-maidens, unique dynastic legacies, and culture-specific events and decisions.[20]
Royal Court 1.5 "Fleur-de-Lis" Expansion 8 February 2022 Royal Court gives players a customizable throne room in which to welcome people to court. It also allows players to decorate the room in order to gain more Grandeur, a feature introduced in the expansion, which, when increased, will give access to higher quality guests. Additional features around artifacts, culture, and liege interactions were also included. [21]
Fate of Iberia 1.6 "Castle" Flavor Pack 31 May 2022 Fate of Iberia contains additional content focusing on the Iberian Peninsula during the Reconquista. Features include new cultural traditions and culture-specific events and decisions, along with universal mechanics around friend interactions and chess duels.[22]
Friends and Foes 1.7 "Bastion" Event Pack 8 September 2022 Friends and Foes contains over 100 additional events surrounding a character's relationships with their friends and rivals. Also includes memories that a character will reminisce over throughout their life.[23]


Crusader Kings III received "generally favorable" reviews for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S according to review aggregator Metacritic;[25][26] the PC version received "universal acclaim".[24] Leana Hafer of IGN wrote that the game "is a superb strategy game, a great RPG, and a master class in how to take the best parts of existing systems and make them deeper and better"; scoring it 10/10 in her review.[29] Lauren Aitken from VG247 also gave the game a perfect score; in her review, she wrote, "Crusader Kings 3 is just as bonkers, unpredictable and enthralling as its predecessor."[35]

David Wildgoose of GameSpot praised the procedural narratives of the game saying that they are rarely as affecting and poignant as they are here; on the other hand, as a negative point, he wrote that "when the story engine isn't firing, your actions can feel rote and uninspired".[28]

In December 2020, Crusader Kings III was nominated in the Best Sims/Strategy Games category at The Game Awards but lost to Microsoft Flight Simulator.[36]

The game sold more than 1 million copies within 1 month of release.[37] It was the seventh best-selling game in September 2020 in the US, and had the highest launch month sales for any Paradox Interactive title.[38] In March 2022, Paradox Interactive announced that Crusader Kings III had sold over 2 million units worldwide.[39]


  1. ^ Console versions developed in partnership with Lab42 Games


  1. ^ Williams, Leah (7 September 2020). "Crusader Kings 3 Officially Gets MA15+ Rating And Can Be Sold In Australia". Kotaku. Retrieved 5 October 2020.
  2. ^ Kunzelman, Cameron (26 January 2022). "Crusader Kings 3, coming to PS5 and Xbox in March, plays surprisingly well on console". Polygon. Retrieved 26 January 2022.
  3. ^ Brown, Fraser (28 October 2019). "Crusader Kings 3: Everything we know". PC Gamer. Retrieved 31 October 2019.
  4. ^ "Best CK3 3 start guide: the top characters for interesting starts". PCGamesN. Retrieved 13 November 2020.
  5. ^ 10 Major Changes Coming With Crusader Kings 3 (PDXCON 2019), retrieved 26 October 2019
  6. ^ "Crusader Kings 3 End Year | What date is the game over?". GameRevolution. 8 September 2020. Retrieved 13 November 2020.
  7. ^ Scott-Jones, Richard (23 October 2019). "Here's how cadet houses will work in Crusader Kings 3". PCGamesN. Retrieved 23 October 2019.
  8. ^ a b Brown, Fraser (23 October 2019). "Crusader Kings 3 will let you become the pope of your own cannibal cult". PC Gamer. Retrieved 23 October 2019.
  9. ^ a b c Hafer, T.J. (23 October 2019). "Paradox Answers 12 Major Questions About Crusader Kings 3". USGamer. Retrieved 23 October 2019.
  10. ^ "Crusader Kings 3 is happening: here's ten things we know so far". Rock Paper Shotgun. 19 October 2019. Retrieved 19 October 2019.
  11. ^ Scott-Jones, Richard (23 October 2019). "Crusader Kings 3 adds 'dread' to let you role-play as King Joffrey". PCGamesN. Retrieved 23 October 2019.
  12. ^ Bailey, Dustin (23 October 2019). "Level up in Crusader Kings 3 to remove the bonds of sexual preference". PCGamesN. Retrieved 23 October 2019.
  13. ^ a b c Crusader Kings 3 - PDXCON Berlin keynote, retrieved 23 October 2019
  14. ^ Pereira, Chris (31 August 2020). "Crusader Kings 3 Finally Releases On Tuesday". GameSpot. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  15. ^ "Crusader Kings III Pre-order". Crusader Kings III. Archived from the original on 31 August 2020. Retrieved 20 July 2020.
  16. ^ "Crusader Kings III available today for Australian players!". Steam. 7 September 2020. Retrieved 7 September 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  17. ^ "Crusader Kings 3 Officially Gets MA15+ Rating And Can Be Sold In Australia". Kotaku. 7 September 2020. Archived from the original on 7 September 2020. Retrieved 7 September 2020.
  18. ^ Nieva, Jason (28 January 2022). "Crusader Kings 3 Coming to Next-Gen Consoles March 29". Player.One. Retrieved 30 March 2022.
  19. ^ Smith, Rebecca (15 March 2022). "Xbox Game Pass Adds Crusader Kings 3, F1 2021, Shredders and More This Month". GameRevolution. Retrieved 30 March 2022.
  20. ^ Brown, FraseR (14 March 2021). "Crusader Kings 3 is heading north for its first DLC, coming next week". PC Gamer. Retrieved 14 March 2021.
  21. ^ Acebedo, Bayani (25 May 2021). "Crusader Kings III Announces Upcoming Expansion: Royal Court". whatoplay. Retrieved 26 May 2021.
  22. ^ "Crusader Kings III: Fate of Iberia Brings Medieval Spain and Portugal To Life". CBR. 19 April 2022. Retrieved 19 April 2022.
  23. ^ Joshua Wolens (31 August 2022). "Paradox is changing how it releases Crusader Kings 3 DLC, and the monarchs have some concerns". PC Gamer. Retrieved 31 August 2022.
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  25. ^ a b "Crusader Kings III: Console Edition for PlayStation 5 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 4 May 2022.
  26. ^ a b "Crusader Kings III: Console Edition for Xbox Series X/S Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 13 April 2022.
  27. ^ Faulkner, Jason (31 August 2020). "Crusader Kings 3 Review | In the company of kings". GameRevolution. Retrieved 6 April 2022.
  28. ^ a b Wildgoose, David (24 September 2020). "Crusader Kings 3 Review – Pass the Duchy". GameSpot. Retrieved 6 April 2022.
  29. ^ a b Hafer, Leana (31 August 2020). "Crusader Kings 3 Review". IGN. Retrieved 6 April 2022.
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  36. ^ Tassi, Paul (11 December 2020). "Here's The Game Awards 2020 Winners List With A Near-Total 'Last Of Us' Sweep". Forbes. Retrieved 6 April 2022.
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  38. ^ Wilson, Jason (16 October 2020). "September 2020 NPD: Crusader Kings III has the best showing in franchise history". VentureBeat. Retrieved 15 September 2021.
  39. ^ Kerr, Chris (17 March 2022). "Crusader Kings III has sold over 2 million copies worldwide". Game Developer. Archived from the original on 17 March 2022. Retrieved 6 April 2022.

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