Creator / Paradox Interactive

"A patch is never late! Nor is it ever early. It arrives precisely when I mean it to do!"
Johan "The Wizard" Andersson

Paradox Interactive (not to be confused with Paradox Entertainment, from which it split off) is a Swedish computer-game publisher, which has a prominent internal development studio — Paradox Development Studio. The internal studio generally focuses on historical Real-Time Strategy games. Unlike most Real-Time Strategy games, the Paradox games tend to have a greater focus on the Grand Strategic level — you control not individual units but the resources of entire nations.

Pre-2010, because of the scope of their games and a lack of budget, internal Paradox games were (in)famous for being ‘incomplete’ and buggy at release, having a cliff-side learning curve whilst lacking proper tutorial, and utilizing unimpressive graphics and UI. However, Paradox reliably mitigated these flaws by providing decent support post-launch, maintaining a dedicated forum, and listening to costumer feedback on said forum, allowing them to foster consumer trust despite all the problems their games had. Especially since their games filled a niche that pretty much wasn't catered to by anyone else. Because when a PDS game wasn't bugging out and the player had access to Google, the depth of their games provided a great deal of replay value.

With online gaming platforms like Steam taking off, Paradox Interactive and its studio finally hit double A status in the 2010s with their cult-followed niche titles and a strong back catalog, leading to the streamlining and cleaning-up of their games' interfaces and mechanics while keeping the depth and mod-friendliness of the games that carved their niche, alongside having a better and bigger QA team. The increase in accessibility and quality of their games is apparent when one compares a pre-2010 Paradox game to a post-2010 one, with Victoria II being the turning point.

PDS games also employ a game engine with fairly intuitive code. This, plus the fact that they have very supportive sub-forums dedicated to modding, encourages all to mod the games to their liking and even attempt to fix bugs themselves if they feel particularly codey. It's not unfair to say Paradox has been a strong proponent of Game Mods since the early days of the internet age.

On the publishing side, they tend to go for niche but highly replayable titles from a wide variety of genres, e.g. Penumbra, Mount & Blade, the Magicka series, Dungeonland, Cities: Skylines and Pillars of Eternity.

In October 2015, they announced they had bought White Wolf Publishing from its former owner, CCP Games.

Games and series developed by Paradox Interactive or Paradox Development Studio:

  • Svea Rike ("The Swedish Realm") : An Edutainment Game focusing on Swedish history. Sort of a predecessor to their later historically-themed games.
  • Europa Universalis: The flagship franchise of the company, focusing on the period of roughly 1400-1820. Currently in its fourth installment.
    • For The Glory: Another EU Spin-Off, made by fans of the game and based on the older engine of EU II.
    • Magna Mundi: An ambitious mod that later became a full-blown commercial game after the release of Divine Wind. Currently in Development Hell/Development Limbo/Cancelled. Might be released as an unsupported beta.
    • March Of The Eagles: Described as a cross between Europa Universalis (in style and time period) and Hearts of Iron (for being focused on a short era and having advanced combat)
  • Victoria: An Empire Under the Sun ("Vicky"): Starts with the first full year of Queen Victoria's reign (1838) and ends with World War I. The Expansion Pack Revolutions ("Ricky") ends when Hearts of Iron starts. Victoria 2 starts earlier (1836) and instead triggers Queen Victoria's coronation as an in-game event 2 years into your game. An expansion for the sequel, A House Divided, added a 1861 start date and introduced several new mechanics, such as foreign investment, new westernization, and an improved military interface. A further expansion, Heart of Darkness, revamped the colony system and added a 'crisis' system to the game, in addition to various other tweaks.
    • Pop Demand Mod/A Pop Divided: An extensive game mod for Victoria II that completely overhauls the game's economy, as well as greatly increases the historical depth and scope. Many features from this mod (such as Taiping China and the Great War mechanic) later got put into A House Divided
  • Hearts of Iron: A diplomatic and strategic wargame focusing on World War II. Has had three sequels. Along with Europa Universalis, this is Paradox's other major title. The third installment currently has three expansions, and a fourth game was released in 2016.
    • Darkest Hour: an independent update/expansion of Hearts of Iron II, including a World War I scenario covering 1914 to 1922, and a 1933 to 1963 scenario.
    • East vs. West: a grand strategy game covering the Cold War from 1946 to 1991. It was advertised as a Hearts of Iron game, but given how different the Cold War was from World War II, whether this game would have been similar in gameplay to HoI or not is a matter of speculation. Ultimately, however, it was cancelled on March 6th, 2014.
    • Kaiserreich: Legacy of the Weltkrieg: Another popular Game Mod for Hearts of Iron II that explores an alternate timeline where the Central Powers won World War One, among other changes.
  • Runemaster: A Role-Playing Game based on Norse Mythology. Was scrapped for not being fun enough.
  • Stellaris, a space-based grand strategy game released in May 2016.
  • Imperator: Rome: A Spiritual Successor to EU:Rome, set in Antiquity and taking place during the rise of the Roman Republic. To be released in early 2019.

The games also boast an active community of writers of After Action Reports. An interesting feature is the ability to import your saves from one game to another using official or unofficial software tools or (if you have a lot of time and patience) manually, theoretically allowing you to play the same game from 769 to 1963.

Games published by Paradox Interactive

Tropes common in Paradox-developed games:

  • Author Appeal: Easter eggs involving platypus, such as Australia getting renamed the Platypus Empire in Hearts of Iron III if it's turned into a People's Republic of Tyranny. Dev team member Moah is a fan. Of course, their own logo is a stylized platypus skeleton.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Most games developed by them have a completely different feel as time goes on and new patches are released. E.g. playing a game of EU IV on an early version is a totally different experience as compared to playing it with the latest patch, and this is excluding the DLCs.
  • Guide Dang It!: Paradox games - and even games merely published by Paradox - have a terrible tendency towards confusing User Interfaces, horrible Tutorials and hint boxes that do better at blocking the screen than helping the player. No matter your experience with the genre, you'll be scrambling for an online guide within twenty minutes.
  • Running Gag: The "comet sighted" event.
    • Originally started with Europa Universalis, this event leads to a drop in stability (due to comets being seen as a bad omen), and it's infamous for having all options leading to the same outcome. "It's an omen" is the original option, "The end is nigh!" is added with the "In Nomine" DLC, "Ignore the peasant rabble." is added with the "Heir To The Throne" DLC, and "Don't look at the sky!" is added with the "Divine Wind" DLC.
    • A similar "Comet sighted" event is present in Victoria 2, it however is a positive event granting you research points. It also has a number of choices giving the same, positive effect. The choices are: "Thank God we live in such enlightened times."; "Keep looking at the sky!", and "colonised comet would make a fine satellite! "
    • In Crusader Kings II, comet sightings will sometimes appear in chronicles generated when you quit the game. Also, with "Way of Life" DLC, characters with learning focus can choose to pursue astronomy studies and observe comets, eventually concluding "So it's just a comet, not an omen of the end times..."
    • Europa Universalis 4 takes this "Up to Eleven", the list of options for this event becomes painfully long as more and more DL Cs are released.
      • "It's an omen!" and "The end is nigh!" are original options from Europa Universalis 3
      • "I wish I lived in more enlightened times..." was a "Shout-Out" to an option in Victoria II
      • "economy, fools!" was added in with "Wealth of Nations" DLC
      • "Sacrifice a human heart to appease the comet!" was added with the "El Dorado" DLC
      • "If only we had comet sense..." was added with the "Common Sense" DLC
      • "Oh Comet, devil's kith and kin..." was added with the "Cossacks" DLC
      • The "Morton's Fork" was finally averted after "Rights of Man" DLC, which adds personality system for rulers. A country with scholarly ruler will just react "Fascinating" and gain 20 adm power instead of losing stability.
    • Hearts of Iron 4 has a "Komet sighted" event, which occurs after Germany invents the rocket interceptor Me 163 (nicknamed "Komet").
    • Stellaris also has a comet sighted event, with effects depending on your country's ethos.