The DLC, for those of you who don't know, features an invasion of Europe by an earlier and far more powerful Aztec civilization than we know from history, at some point after 1250. Arriving on vessels suspiciously similar to Norse long ships, Aztec explorers first make contact with a random coastal lord, offering obsidian beads and other exotic trinkets in exchange for land. Soon after, a huge invasion fleet arrives, disgorging tens of thousands of disciplined warriors. After their initial conquests, a reinforcement fleet might arrive, similar to how the Mongol invasions work. The Aztecs are pagans worshiping terrible and blood-thirsty gods, scaring the Muslims and Christians of Europe and North Africa witless with their mass sacrifices of live victims from among the subjugated peoples.
In addition to the main events, Sunset Invasion features a load of flavor events, for example when the invaders conquer key cities, when they spread a new disease or when there is news from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. The Aztecs have unique portraits, units, and on-map shields. The typical cycle has them conquering a large swathe of land until they run out of steam and the inevitable Crusades and Jihads start to reverse the tide. Meanwhile, the Aztec Cuauhxicalli (altar stone bowls) will be overflowing with the hearts of good Christians and Muslims...
So why did we decide to make this DLC in the first place? Well, the kernel of the idea goes way back to the original Crusader Kings and the Mongol invasion events. Playing on or near the eastern edge of the map is dangerous; almost suicidal if you are not strong enough by the 13th century. So, we've frequently joked about having a similar but rare event on the western side of the map, an invasion by something out of the Atlantic ocean to offset the imbalance a little bit; Atlanteans, Deep Ones, Vinlanders... or Aztecs. It's obviously a pretty crazy proposition and we never expected to put it into the game, but then someone mentioned a similar idea on the forum and the powers that be decided to greenlight it for a laugh.
Now, let me offer you a rare insight into the psyche of the average Paradox dev (especially the veterans among us): we all love history and we love making historical games, but when you've spent a decade of your life delving into such crucial issues as getting the regnal numbers right for the Dukes of Aquitaine, ensuring that Eustace of Boulogne has his historical mustache, that the Pops of Chur have the right cultural and religious composition and that Operation Weserübung always happens roughly when it should, some of us yearn to do something wacky just once in a while. That's why Saint Andrew is Scottish in CKII, why there is a mission for Aragon to seize the throne of Gondar in EU3... and why we did Sunset Invasion. Not to worry though, we are not going to abandon our historical games or the attention to detail that makes them unique. That is why Sunset Invasion is optional. Just don't buy it if you don't like it.
Let me end with some points to assuage the fears of the historicity hardliners and squash some false rumors:
- Sunset Invasion is a minor tongue-in-cheek DLC. We do not count it as a main expansion.
- We have never said how many major DLC/expansions we will do. In fact, we do not know - it's mostly up to you.
- The making of this DLC did not affect our regular release schedule at all. Most of the work was outsourced, done on our spare time or slotted in when someone had a bit of extra time.
- Paradox Development Studio is not about to change course for its historical games.
Until next time, when I'll probably talk about our next major DLC.