To the west: the vast, all-powerful expanse of the Holy GabeN Empire. To the East: the notably less powerful, but still somewhat impressive Kingdom of GamersGate. Paradox Interactive have been successfully trading with both for years, but, in a shock bid for independence, they've now launched their own store.
Currently in beta, the Paradox Webshop is selling the publisher/developer's catalogue directly to fans. Well, not quite directly. Rather than providing downloads, users are given a Steam key on purchase. Still, to celebrate the launch, Paradox are offering 55% off the majority of its games.
That means cheap deals on the feudal feuding of Crusader Kings 2, the samurai strategy of Sengoku, the madcap mayhem of Magicka and... lots of other games. Sorry, I couldn't sustain that level of alliteration.
The store's still missing some of Paradox's back catalogue. At a glance, it seems that CK2's trade-based expansion The Republic has yet to dock. But the homepage assures that, "Eventually all our titles will be offered along with lots of other fun goods and surprises."
Magna Mundi, the grandest of grand strategy games, has been cancelled by publishers Paradox Interactive. In a statement put out by Paradox and spotted by RPS, the company explained that they've been unhappy with the game's progress towards release. "We have seen this project drag on and the code we have gotten has not shown significant improvement for many months. Some old and known problems persists and new ones appear with each delivery."
Although it seems the developers disagree, and hope to still release the game. Read on for grand sadness.
Magna Mundi started life as a mod for Europa Universalis 3, but it was popular enough for Paradox to think it had legs as a full game. I saw the game at Paradox's yearly preview event two years ago, and it was absurdly vast in scope, simulating 400 countries over 400 years of history. It looked like the rest of Paradox's line up - which at the time included Pride of Nations and Crusader Kings 2 - combined in to a single game. Magna Mundi was then conspicuous in its absence at the same event this year, suggesting problems have been brewing for a while.
Paradox's Mattias Lilja, the executive producer on Magna Mundi, followed up the original statement with more detail in a forum post. He talks about a lack of trust in the developer and poor leadership of the development team. It's fairly damning.
Developers Universo Virtual would disagree completely, though. They say the game is ready for release, the "cancellation" is bizarre, and that they'll fight Paradox in court. In a post of his own on the Magna Mundi forums, Carlos Gustavo Benavente promises that "the 'cancellation' issue is just a detail on everything that's going to be settled there." This is going to get ugly fast.
Hopefully all parties involve can resolve the issues satisfactorily, because really I just want to play the game. It looked amazing.
Recently, at E3, we got the chance to catch up with the CEO of Paradox Interactive, Fredrik Wester to discuss the company's recent success with Magicka, Mount and Blade and King Arthur. Wester revealed that 90% of Paradox' revenue is now made through digital distribution sales. He describes the company's lack of reliance on retail as "a release," saying that store chains have "not been good for the creative part of the industry."
Wester told us that "this year we’re close to ninety percent of our revenue being digital. Retail sales are like a bonus for us now. We don’t really need retailers any more and that is a release because retailers have not been good for the industry. They’ve not been good for the creative part of the industry, for finding new cool games."
"People complain to publishers that there are only sequels on the market, but that’s because retailers want to see sequels, because they can do their chart diagrams for how things sell and things like that. So one of the things preventing more creative gaming has been the retail challenge."
"I can only say this now because we’re not depending on them, so it’s really relieving to be able to say that."
Wester told us that Steam is Paradox' main partner, followed by Gamersgate. Paradox has recently had big success with Magicka, which as sold more than 600,000 copies since release, and is set to hit a million sales before the end of the year. The entire Paradox catalogue is currently enjoying a 90% as part of the Steam summer sale. You can grab the lot for $74.99 / £55.
The holidays are almost here, which means even more time to get stuck into some new games. Win today's prize of of a pile of Paradox games from GamersGate and you certainly won't be short of things to play. Whether you'd rather carve out your own kingdom using brute force in Mount and Blade, or plot your way to victory against the mean Faeries of ye olde Brittania in King Arthur, there's something for you in the Paradox pack. Read on for details of how to win.
If you decide to enter you stand to win the following Paradox games, courtesy of GamersGate. King Arthur The Role-Playing Wargame
As the ruler of the noble men of Britannia, it's up to you to unite knights of the round table against the evil creatures of the old forests. King Arthur is like Total War, but with all the enemy nations replaced by the darkest creatures from British folk legends. Your overall strategy can be controlled from the tactical map, but when forces clash you can order your knights and peasants about on the battlefield. Blasting ranks of enemies with Merlin's fireballs never gets old. If you win you'll also receive The Saxons expansion when it's released. Europa Universalis III Complete
Europa Universalis III is super detailed nation builder that lets you take control of a country of your choice for 300 years. During that time you dictate everything from exploration to trade, to warfare and diplomacy with an aim to expand and maintain your empire, all the while taking advice from the game's esteemed roster of advisors. When it all goes wrong, you can just blame Mozart. The complete edition comes with the Heir to the Throne expansion. Lionheart: Kings' Crusade
Lionheart: Kings' Crusade lets you play through the Crusades from both sides. The first campaign casts you as Richard the Lionheart as he tries to take Jerusalem and Damascus. The second campaign ramps up the difficulty and asks you to take charge of Saladin's Saracens and lead a counterattack against Richard's forces. It's a highly tactical Total War-esque strategy in a rarely explored setting. Majesty 2: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim
Majesty 2 is a real time kingdom building sim that has you throwing up buildings and recruiting adventurers to strike down the dark forces plaguing the picturesque hills of Ardania. The catch is that you can't directly control any of your minions. Instead of just giving orders, you have to give your underlings financial incentives to do your bidding, assigning bounty flags to take down enemies. They may be mercenary, selfish so-and-sos, but it's hard to not feel proud when you see your army of soon-to-be extortionately rich Dwarves bashing up the enemy base. If you win you'll also get Majesty 2's Kingmaker and Battles of Ardania expansions, which add many more missions and units to the game. Sword of The Stars: Complete Collection
Sword of the Stars is a turn based 4X strategy game set in space. The aim is to colonize more star systems, seizing control of interstellar resources so that you can design and build more ships in order to conquer even more star systems and assume complete control of the galaxy. Of course, things become a lot harder when you take into account the other alien races fighting for the same thing. Mount & Blade Warband
In Mount and Blade: Warband You start out as one lowly warrior kicking his heels in the backwater towns of the medieval fantasy land of Calradia. From there you can recruit troops to your cause, travelling from town to town, forming relationships with the different factions that rule the land. Once you've gathered enough forces you can take to your trusty steed and start raiding your way to riches with the game's superb battle engine.
Only one lucky winner can take away all these games. All you have to do is invent a knight worthy of taking his place at the round table with King Arthur himself. Give your knight a name and one virtue. Post in the comments below with your answer, and remember that you have to live in the UK to win. The entry that makes us guffaw the loudest will take the prize.
Be sure to come back tomorrow, when we give away a clutch of free Minecraft codes. We'll be running one every day until Christmas, when we'll be giving away a 240GB Corsair solid state drive worth £375.
WINNER: Peace_Monkey’s pun-tastic. Sir Rhosis of the Liver. Partial to the occasional drink. Huzzah!