The calm before ripping out their living goddamned guts and using them to grease the treads of our tanks.

Can someone please remind me to check on Paradox now and then?

PC, Mac •

So, I was over at the Paradox Interactive website this morning, looking up details for Prison Architect’s soft launch, and it was a little like coming downstairs on Christmas morning when I was seven. Toys as far as the eye could see, so many that I didn’t know where to begin. With such a cornucopia I’ve decided that, instead of separate posts, I’m going to lump all of the Paradox news into one juicy tidbit. Some of this might be old news to you but it’s all new to me and I run the joint [says who? -Kelsey], so deal with it.

One of my favorite genres is the oft-neglected city builder. Maybe I’m the only one who loves them, because they sure as hell aren’t filling up the virtual shelves over at Steam or GoG, and some of the best (Pharaoh, Zeus, Children of the Nile) have yet to be converted to Mac, much less mobile. Paradox and Colossal Order are on my side, however, and have been satisfying my building urge for years now with Cities: Skylines, one of the best builders ever created. Even though I don’t have the long periods of free time that building a truly awesome city demands, I still gobble up each new expansion as soon as they’re released. On May 18th, the latest expansion will launch, and it looks amazing. It’s called Mass Transit and covers all forms of transit from the realistic (cable cars and ferries) to the fanciful (blimps). It will sell for $13 and be available for PC/Mac.

Remember Europa Universalis IV? It’s one of the massive Paradox grand strategy titles that I should absolutely be playing all the time, but find that the real-time nature of the entire thing makes my brain melt. Yes, I know you can pause, but I’ve been trying to figure out EU since EUII was released and have yet to wrap my head around it. I should probably just watch a video or something. Lazy.

Anyway, another expansion for the venerable empire builder has landed, Mandate of Heaven. The expansion adds the concept of Historical and Golden Ages to the game, and much more:

  • Empire of China: The Chinese Emperor has great powers at his disposal, and the efficient bureaucrats keep things running smoothly. But greedy neighbors may seek to take the Mandate of Heaven for themselves.
  • Ashikaga Shogunate: The Japanese Shogunate has been reworked for more interaction and political considerations among the daimyo. As Shogun, carefully balance the pride of your subjects or compel them to choose and honorable death.
  • Confucian Harmony: Keep order in your eastern realm or risk short term spiritual disruption in exchange for long term religious harmony.
  • Shinto Isolation: Will your Japanese kingdom seek benefits in an open society or promote greater unity through closed doors? Major incidents will challenge your aspirations.
  • Tributaries: Eastern empires can persuade weaker neighbors to pay an annual tribute in gold, manpower or monarch points in this new subject nation format.
  • Diplomatic Macro Builder: New addition to the left-hand side macrobuilder automates many repeated diplomatic tasks.
  • And more including Chinese meritocracy and Manchu Banner troops.

The expansion runs $20, and is available right now for those of you that have figured out how to make EUIV tick.

Stellaris is Paradox’s attempt to have me fail as miserably at empire building in space as I do on Earth in EUIV. Another real time game, Stellaris hits all the 4X marks and is greatly loved by many of the writers here at Stately Play. A few weeks ago, the first expansion pack was released for this sci-fi behemoth, Utopia. It adds a ton of new content, but the coolest thing is the ability to build megastructures like Dyson spheres. Blurb incoming:

  • Megastructures: Build ringworlds or Dyson spheres to make the most of your star system, adding prestige and power to those who wield this technology.
  • Habitat Stations: Your subjects can orbital habitat stations. No longer will you be forced to fight costly wars to house a burgeoning population.
  • More Evil Empires: Use your subjects as domestic servants, battle thralls…or food
  • Indoctrination: Before bringing a pre-FTL civilization in to the galactic community, it’s important that they believe the right things. Guide the primitives to follow your true path.
  • Advanced Civics: Three new civics for your empire to aid in the dynamic story-telling that Utopia excels at – syncretic evolution, mechanist and fanatic purifier.
  • Hive Minds: Can you master the challenge of ruling an empire that is one collective consciousness?
  • And more: New events, new decisions and the mystery of The Shroud.

As I mentioned, Utopia has been available for a couple weeks and you can nab it for $20.

Lastly, we have an old-school RTS from Eugen Systems, a developer that I only became familiar with due to Alex’s tentacles digging deep into the PC-verse. The cool thing is that this RTS takes place in World War 2 and looks cool enough to get me back onto the RTS horse. It’s called Steel Division: Normandy 44 and will have a lengthy single-player campaign as well as online matches with teams of up to 10 battling each other.

  • Command Over 400 Historically Accurate Units: Whether fighting for control in intense multiplayer battles with up to 10-vs-10 players going head-to-head, playing alone or working with friends in ranked matches, players will need to coordinate their selection of historically accurate infantry, tanks, aircraft, and support vehicles to counter enemy units in this Tactical RTS game.

  • Real-world Tactics: Battles rage over three distinct phases, where different units unlock over time, mimicking the movements of real-world armies and adding variety to the ever-changing theatre of war. A dynamic front line illustrates the ebb and flow of the conflict.  Pin down your opponent’s infantry to gain the advantage and force a retreat, or push through with a perfectly executed plan.

  • Real-world Setting: Using the latest version of Eugen’s IRISZOOM engine, players can smoothly zoom from a tactical aerial view all the way down to a single unit, and see 400 different real-world vehicles and units designed with careful historical detail and accuracy. Maps are designed based on actual aerial reconnaissance photos of Normandy in 1944, requiring real-world tactics and strategies to cover and control.

  • Outplan, Outsmart, Outgun: From battlegroup customization to troop positioning and maneuvering, winning battles requires cunning and strategy, not just raw firepower. Each unit lost presents a growing tactical disadvantage, and players will need to fight to gain — and keep — the upper hand.

Alex chatted about Steel Division back in March, but we now know it’s arriving on May 23 and we also have a couple reasons to pre-order. Buy now and get access to the beta and also receive two Panzer aces you can deploy in battle. The game is $40 and can be pre-ordered at the link below.

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Notable Replies

  1. Cities: skylines has just come out for xbox one too. The game seems to work fine with a controller. Its odd that theres no option to fast forward the game, I cant say how much of an issue this is going to be as Ive not played a lot yet

  2. There’s several game speeds in the PC version. Surprised they’re not in the console version.

  3. Steel Division is magic. If your idea of magic is a really good real-time realisation of operational warfare, circa 1944.

  4. I was in college when the first Europa Universalis came out. I had a cool cherry wood executive desk passed down to me from my grandfather and it had a large piece of glass covering the top. I remember putting my EU map under that glass and turning my whole desk into a world explorer’s legend.

    Man, I would love EU on an iPad…

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