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As home consoles get more powerful, and developers craftier at adapting gamepads for keyboard-and-mouse mechanics, we’re seeing more excellent strategy games come to the PlayStation and Xbox. And thanks to this, Paradox Interactive is bringing what may be its best franchise to consoles for the first time — Crusader Kings 3.

The Swedish strategy game publisher made the announcement today during Microsoft’s Xbox Gamescom presentation. Development studio Lab42 is handling the “adaptation” (they said it’s not a port) for Paradox Interactive, a first for that developer.

This is the first time the publisher’s beloved grand strategy franchise is coming to Microsoft and Sony’s gaming machines. Crusader Kings 3 came out last year, and I thought it was the best game of 2020 (one reason why is that does a much better job of teaching its complex mechanics than ever before). It’s the publisher’s highest-rated game on Metacritic, and it also had its best launch sales in franchise history.

So it makes sense that Paradox would bring Crusader Kings to consoles.

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“Years ago, when we started working on Crusader Kings III, our goal was to retain the depth and complexity that fans of the franchise love while also introducing it to new audiences. That meant implementing a guided tutorial and removing some obstacles to the game that might have inhibited new players,” a Paradox representative said over email. “Bringing CK3 to consoles is a great step towards this goal as well. We feel that many console players have not had the chance yet to play a game like this, and we can’t wait to see what they make of it.”

Stellaris is the first Paradox-developed game that the publisher has ported to the home gaming systems. It received a console edition in 2019 (and version for Xbox X/S this year). It’s also had other games it’s published, such as Cities: Skylines, Pillars of Eternity: II, and Age of Wonders: Planetfall, appear on consoles. So it’s had plenty of experience in how to adapt complex strategy mechanics and commands to gamepads.

“One of the biggest things we’ve learned in bringing our games to console platforms is the importance of user interface and controller support.  If you are making a game for all platforms from the start, you can find a common ground. But when you bring a PC title to consoles, you really need to dedicate time and resources to reworking parts of the interface,” Paradox said. “It’s not about simply ensuring that it works with a controller, you need to make sure that it feels just as good to play as on PC. How the player moves between different gameplay elements, how things flow between different menus, all of this needs additional attention in development as well as extensive focus testing to ensure you find the right solution.”

My biggest concern in bringing a game like Crusader Kings 3 (beyond the UI) is the load times, but the solid-state hard drives in the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S consoles should help with that.

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