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Hello folks, and welcome to the first entry in the development diary for Crusader Kings II!

I am Henrik Fåhraeus, project lead on this sequel to the original Crusader Kings (on which I worked as co-designer.) Crusader Kings was a game quite different from our other franchises, in that the focus was on the powerful people of the era rather than on countries. You played a ruler, got married, had kids and watched them grow up to stab you in the back. As such, Crusader Kings was a bit of a role-playing game, while still retaining the strategy game elements of our other titles. Personally, I loved the combination, and, judging by the clamor for a sequel, it appears many others did as well. We are still proud of Crusader Kings, but time waits for no man, and the game is getting on in years...

As it happens, Crusader Kings II is coming along nicely, and, starting with this one, you should be seeing monthly CKII development diaries coming your way (on the first Thursday of the month). With Crusader Kings II, we are not trying to reinvent the wheel. Rather, we want to build on the strengths of the original game and fully realize its potential. That is not to say that Crusader Kings II will be the same game with new graphics, but it should feel instantly familiar to CK players.

What makes CK unique among our games is its character system and its RPG-like elements. The role of the player is clear since there is a ruler, a character, to identify with. The player is the king, and it's good to be the king! In Crusader Kings II, we aim to really hone in on the importance of characters - their personalities, interests and interactions - and to tone down the relevance of "countries". The sum total of the Prestige your successive rulers have gathered throughout the game determines your final score; not the size of your realm at game end. Of course, a major source of Prestige is the power of your family, your Dynasty. In fact, die without an heir from your dynasty and it's time to INSERT COIN.

The core gameplay, then, revolves around increasing the power of your dynasty and ensuring that you always have a legal heir with strong enough support. The death of your current ruler is the moment of truth: who will support the legal heir? Have you even managed to ensure one? Will anyone contest the succession? Unlike Crusader Kings, where your vassals would declare war on you simply because they disliked you (regardless, even, of their chance of success), in Crusader Kings II they are much more likely to bide their time and cause trouble during a succession crisis. The key is to choose the best Succession Law... For example, Gavelkind is almost guaranteed to be safe from succession crises. On the other hand, Gavelkind will divide your titles equally among your sons, splintering the realm and potentially decreasing your power.

I mentioned toning down the concept of countries. Here are some highlights: there is no Infamy/Badboy. Neither do characters have "loyalty", and neither is there a persistent relations value between countries. CKII is all about the characters, their opinions of each other, and their clash of interests. Therefore, we have merged the aforementioned concepts into a single opinion value between -100 and 100. I.e. what one character feels about another character... and why. The value is a sum of modifiers, like "Friend of Father's: +5", "Granted a Duchy: +30", "Betrayed Alliance: -20", etc.

Of course, characters will have traits, genetics and neat portraits like in Crusader Kings and EU:Rome. If you want to breed a dynasty of redheaded Harkonnen look-alikes, go ahead (with my blessing). Oh, and characters will age visibly; I shall leave you with a screenshot demonstrating the effect!

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Next month: Barons - why Vladimir hated Leto
 

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SA_Avenger

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Thanks for the dev diary. :) I like the portrait (hope the girls are pritty! ;) ) and the aging. Also like that you're rethinking the all war process of CK where vassals declare wars on you when they do not have a chance even if you crushed stronger than them just before.
Do you plan on making "secret goals" so someone who likes you but has a claim for example might betray you (because of that secret goal that reduce the visible value?) and I sure can't wait to see what tools we'll have to make people happy/unhappy :) Keep up the good work
 

Kolonel

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That is awesome!

Thanks for the diary, Doomdark. I am very glad with the approach you're taking. I fail to find a negative point, so far. :D
And let me voice my support for the portraits: they look great, I love the aging effect.
 

mlepkows

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In fact, die without an heir from your dynasty and it's time to INSERT COIN.
And here Paradox announces new method of generating income for the company: pay to restart your game after your character dies ;).

Nice DD. Since it's been stated that the general philosophy doesn't change I'm eagerly waitng for warfare and economy DDs - two aspects of the original CK that were painfully undeveloped.

Maciek
 

Winner

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This is even better than what I had hoped for! Steering the game toward more RPG-like gameplay is exactly what I have always wanted. Ageing portraits look great, and the note about being able to breed characters with distinctive physical traits sounds very promising.
 

unmerged(138116)

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W-H-A-T. :eek:

Here I sit and listen to the lecture on the history of the Balkans, come to see the forum and find this. I expected the dev diary before Christmas, but thought it would be maybe December the 22nd. This is awesome!

Those features got me really excited and the aging seems to be done well! Can't wait for the fourth of November!

Hey, wait! That's a day before the fifth! Shall the second dev diary announce something blowing up?
 

Davisx3m

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Okay this was purely awesome!
 

Seli

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Thanks, even after Fred posted in the petition thread I did not expect the first info this soon.

Glad to see you keep the unique and fun points of CK, and continue on them as well.
 

Gottskalk

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As always paradox reminds us that they have it under control with awesome sneak peaks like this! Even the biggest complainers can't argue with this beauty.

Congratulations paradox you managed to update the portraits without angering the conservatives! I just hope they are big enough in game so one can have a good look at them there :p
 

unddu

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I think this makes a lot of sense for an era with pretty much no nationalism. Since the cause for most wars would be the relationships between various kings/duces/counts/barons and the church and not the fact that someone's ancestor robbed the land of someone else's ancestor. Mainly because every ones ancestor did actually take land from everyone else.
 

sortulv

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Love this!:D

(Wonder if you'll sell portrait packs as an addon?)
 

Txini

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Thinking more I thought 2 things on portraits still not solved

1) will child get a portrait, it will easy anyone wanting to create a redheaded dinasty search for brides earlier for his heir :D
2) Aging Dead Avatars, in CK1 when a child died still aged and got adult avatar, wouldn't like to see poor Henry de Normandie, dead at 5 getting a beard and grey hair when I make a family review 50 years later :p
 

Dhimmi

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no more BB and alot more focus on interpersonal relations if this is implemented well this will be very very nice :)

I only hope the AI will be better than in CK I ( i played it again over he weekend and by 1100 the Muslims where already in poland and pagans where popping up in England :p )
 

kristoff

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Fantastic! New portraits look lovely. To be honest, in my opinion CK2 doesn't even need much new stuff - better graphics, more reasonable interface, input of Rome's characters goals and ambitions and, first of all, plausibility and balance (please, no more sheikdom of Praha syndrome :D ). While waiting for a sequel, I strongly advice any new to this title to buy for a bargain and play CK1. If you don't mind outdated graphics it's one of the best and certainly the most innovative of PI games. Before it I could hardly believe someone can transfer medievel feudal society into a game properly. Yet, they did it.
 
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