The Old Gods has been out for a while now and hopefully you are all enjoying it. We always knew this expansion would be a bit more ambitious than the previous ones - the theme deserves it - so it got a higher budget and more development time. I think it paid off, although it did mean we had to tackle some potentially dangerous risk factors. For example, the new tech system required some fundamental rebalancing of the game and the 867 bookmark took a lot of effort to research and balance (a special thanks to our beta testers and research group!) I am pleased that we overcame those challenges and accomplished our main objectives.
As usual, however, there were a few things we had to leave undone. (This is normal; I always like to have a list of optional features planned in case we have time to squeeze them in.) I had hoped to get diplomatic options in where you could pay protection money to attacking heathens or settle them as vassals (like what happened with Normandy). I also wanted to do something about the Magyars keeping their counties in the Ukraine even after settling in Hungary, but couldn't figure out a good and feasible nomad system in general (the basic game mechanics just do not fit nomadic tribes at all.) However, I still intend to tweak the formation of Hungary event to solve that specific issue at some future point. So, some features got pushed forward to the next patch level (e.g. an automatic plot invitation system), but many of the optional features from the design actually did make it into The Old Gods. For example, many of the Zoroastrian features; Xwedodah marriages, the Saoshyant decision, etc.
Playing the game now, I'm still having a blast. As a pagan ruler, I love to "collect" members of prominent dynasties from all over Europe, convert them, and preserve their dynasties as proper worshippers of the old gods, given land in some corner of my empire. I also love setting challenges for myself. In my last game, as Haesteinn of Nantes, I took over Asturias with a prepared invasion, got a Zoroastrian concubine and converted to her religion in order to get proper succession laws and access to the Holy War CB. Unfortunately, both the Umayyads and West Francia were at that point remarkably stable and decided to jump me, and, to add insult to injury, the other Karlings also decided to join in. Even my mad developer skills could not save me at that point... In other words, tremendous fun! However, it's the developer's curse when playing their own games to constantly add things both big and small to an evergrowing TODO list. (This is good news for you, however, since it means the game will most definitely keep evolving and changing for the better!)
There isn't really much more to say about the development of The Old Gods. From my perspective, it was a smooth and fairly uneventful (in a good way) process. The future will certainly bring more improvements to the game; some of which you can probably see coming, others, I think, will be more surprising. We also have something special planned for August; two smaller DLCs (and no, they are not portrait or unit packs...)
Well, that's it for now. Midsummer is coming up and I hope you will all remember to give the Old Gods a toast! (But take it easy with the human sacrifice, ok?)