Follow TV Tropes


Creator / Paradox Interactive

Go To

"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 Strategy 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 cliffside learning curve whilst lacking proper tutorials, 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 customer 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. However, their post-2010 games have been observed to be perpetual betas in terms of mechanics; games like Stellaris and Imperator: Rome being two of the more extreme examples.

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. In 2017, they acquired Triumph Studios, developers of the Age of Wonders series.

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

  • Europa Universalis: The biggest franchise of the company, focusing on the period of roughly 1400-1820
    • Europa Universalis (2000)
    • Europa Universalis II (2001)
    • Europa Universalis: Crown of the North (2003)
    • Two Thrones (2004)
    • Europa Universalis II: Asia Chapters (2004)
    • Europa Universalis III (2007)
      • Europa Universalis III: Napoleon's Ambition (2007)
      • Europa Universalis III: In Nomine (2008)
      • Europa Universalis III: Heir to the Throne (2009)
      • Europa Universalis III: Divine Wind (2010)
    • Europa Universalis: Rome (2008): A Spin-Off which is more character-centric in the manner of Crusader Kings, set during the time of the Roman Republic.
    • Europa Universalis IV (2013): Note - Has a lot of small expansion packs not listed here
  • Hearts of Iron: A diplomatic and strategic wargame focusing on World War II. Has had three sequels. The 3rd most popular flagship franchise.
    • Hearts of Iron (2002)
    • Hearts of Iron II (2005)
      • Hearts of Iron II: Doomsday (2006)
      • Hearts of Iron II: Iron Cross (2010)
      • Arsenal Of Democracy (2010): A fan created game based on the HOI2 engine published by Paradox as a standalone game
      • Darkest Hour A Hearts Of Iron Game (2011): A fan created game based on the HOI2 engine published by Paradox as a standalone game
    • Hearts of Iron III (2009)
      • Hearts of Iron III:Semper Fi (2010)
      • Hearts of Iron III: For the Motherland (2011)
      • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour (2012)
    • Hearts of Iron IV (2016)
      • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory (2016)
      • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor (2017)
      • Hearts of Iron IV: Waking the Tiger (2018)
      • Hearts of Iron IV: Man the Guns (2019)
      • Hearts of Iron IV: La Résistance (2020)
      • Hearts of Iron IV: Battle for the Bosphorus (2020)
      • Hearts of Iron IV: No Step Back (2021)
      • Hearts of Iron IV: By Blood Alone (2022)
      • Hearts of Iron IV: Arms Against Tyranny (2023)
      • Hearts of Iron IV: Trial of Allegiance (2024)
  • Chariots of War (2003)
  • Victoria: Paradox's smallest of its 4 flagship franchises. Starts around the beginning Queen Victoria's reign (1838) and ends around World War I.
  • Crusader Kings: Paradox's 2nd most popular flagship, focusing on The High Middle Ages and The Early Middle Ages. Has a lot more RPG Elements than the other entries, being focused more on feudal dynasties than entire states (a concept that historically didn't really exist during this period).
  • Sengoku (2011): A game somewhat similar to Crusader Kings, taking place in Japan during the Warring States period.
  • March Of The Eagles (2013)
  • Stellaris (2016): A space-based grand strategy game.

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

  • Svea Rike ("The Swedish Realm") : An Edutainment Game focusing on Swedish history. Sort of a predecessor to their later historically-themed games.

Late 2010s, Paradox partnered with a number of game publishers to produce Tabletop Games based on their most popular titles.

Tabletop Games include:

Tropes common in Paradox-developed games:

  • Author Appeal: Easter eggs involving platypus—dev team member Moah's favorite animal—such as Australia getting renamed the Platypus Empire in Hearts of Iron III if it's turned into a People's Republic of Tyranny. One mammalian portrait in Stellaris is an "Alienized" platypus. Of course, their own logo is a stylized platypus skeleton.
  • Balkanize Me: Paradox games are notorious for their alternate maps ultimately resembling blood spatter. Fans even have a term for it: "border gore".
  • Black Blood: It was very difficult to censure out the blood for the Chinese releases due to the issue above so they ended up with making the blood black instead.
  • 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.
  • Feghoot: They are very fond of adding achievements to their games which have requirements solely existing to make a heinous and groan-worthy pun or reference, such as the Crusader Kings III achievement for completing a Legend as a Scottish lord that claims your ancestry hails from Egypt being called "Pharaoh Islands".
  • 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.
  • Moral Myopia: Across all games, the game narration praises the player's actions as an example of honor, righteousness, generosity, long-term thinking, practicality etc. etc. while the very same actions made by other countries are derided as "obvious" ploys, sign of desperation, greed etc. etc.
  • Mind Screw: If you decide to really mess around in any game of theirs, it can lead to maps of these; by the end of, say, a Europa Universalis game, it’s entirely theoretically possible to have England somewhere in Asia, Ming to become a Persian Empire, and Morocco be based in the territory of Russia. And at times, the AI might produce such results itself.
  • 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 II, 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 "A 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 IV takes this up to eleven, the list of options for this event becomes painfully long as more and more DLCs are released.
    • Hearts of Iron IV has a "Komet sighted" event, which occurs after Germany invents the rocket interceptor Me163 (nicknamed "Komet").
    • Stellaris also has a comet sighted event, with effects depending on your country's ethos.
    • Stellaris has an additional "Asteroid sighted" event, in which an asteroid heads straight for one of your colonized planets. It can be destroyed by even a modest fleet, or even the local starbase.