It’s my pleasure to finally be able to talk about what I’ve been working on ever since Stellaris came out (and before) - Crusader Kings III, of course! CK3 draws on the wisdom gained over CK2’s seven long years of expansions and patches - all the things we simply could not do in that game - and represents the natural evolution of Crusader Kings. Yes, CK3 is an evolution, not a revolution; it’s better across the board and does not alter the core CK experience. That said, we did not carry over everything from every expansion and update to CK2. Rather than trying to do full justice to the less appreciated systems, we decided to go deep rather than wide.
The main design goals with Crusader Kings III were:
- Character Focus: Crusader Kings is clearly and unequivocally about individual characters, unlike our other games. This makes CK most suited for memorable emergent stories, and we wanted to bring characters into all important gameplay mechanics (where possible.)
- Player Freedom and Progression: We want to cater to all player fantasies we can reasonably accommodate, allowing players to shape their ruler, heirs, dynasty and even religion to their liking - though there should of course be appropriate challenges to overcome.
- Player Stories: All events and scripted content should feel relevant, impactful and immersive in relation to the underlying simulation. That way, players will perceive and remember stories - their own stories, not the developers’ stories.
- Approachability: Crusader Kings III should be user friendly without compromising its general level of complexity and historical flavor. It’s nice if it’s easier to get into, but more than that, it should be clear what everything in the game is, what you might want to be doing, and how to go about it.
That’s a fair question! As I mentioned earlier, we decided not to carry over all features from CK2, so if you play CK2 primarily for, say, the nomads or the merchant republics (the only faction types that were playable in CK2 but not in CK3), you might be disappointed. There are likely other features and content that will be missed by some players, but, in return, we believe that everyone will find the core gameplay far more fun and rewarding! To be clear, CK3 is a vastly bigger game than CK2 was on release.
I know this dev diary was short on details, but don’t despair - they will be revealed over the coming months!