DDRJake

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Good day all. Five years ago I had the frankly unbelievable experience of going from a fan of Paradox games to working hands-on with them. These past years have been a pleasure and an honour in equal measure, but life is full of opportunities, and I now feel that these opportunities are best met outside the illustrious halls of the Paradox Studios. I have consequently handed in my notice and will be parting with Paradox by the end of the year, and will also not be making an appearance at this year’s PDXCon in Berlin, but for now let me indulge in the opportunity to share my thoughts and feelings with you: the players whom without, Paradox Games would cease to exist.


I fondly remember telling my housemates back in Edinburgh, towards the end of 2014, that I had applied for an open position at the company that makes “those map games I'm spending all my time with”. I'd assumed it was a total shot in the dark, but before I knew it, I was parting with my possessions in Scotland to jet off to the wild lands of Stockholm, Sweden, to join Paradox as a QA tester.

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Home sweet home in Edinburgh. As 2015 started, I packed it up and flew away


I started work in earnest at Paradox, just at the release of El Dorado for EU4, and right before Cities Skylines hit the market. This was my first foray into the video game industry and I was greeted by such a vibrant, upbeat environment. Despite thinking it was pretty mad to jump ship from the UK and reach into the unknown, I knew that I'd found the right place.

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A swift transformation, these “mugshots” are a time honoured tradition in Paradox.

In about a year, just as Mare Nostrum was ready for release, I found myself as the game designer for EU4. Delighted to work closer with the development of the game, I then set about designing our expansion Rights of Man. Europa Universalis is a game about nations rather than people, so it stands to reason that depth of characters are not even on the same plane of existence as those in, say Crusader Kings 2, but I had wished to add more meat to the heads of state and, importantly, have that result in meaningful gameplay, where a malevolent ruler will be more traitorous towards allies, and infertility can threaten succession and lead to wars for the throne. With this and many other features successfully debuting in RoM, it made a solid launch and I remain very satisfied with how Rights of Man came out. It remains one of the better received expansions made for EUIV.

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Enrique, however, was not a fan.

Another highly enjoyable part of working at Paradox during this time has been Dev Clashing. An important part of developing our games is making sure that they are unquestionably the games that we ourselves want to play as well, and a good old fashioned multi-week free for all helps let off some steam through global conflict, while also helping balance, tweak and test our games. While playing in these was fun (albeit with a massive target on my back) what I never imagined was that I would also go on to be the host of these EU4 Dev Clashes. I miss playing in them, but being able to sneak a peek into every corner of the world as the observer while serving up the experience to the many thousands of viewers was an experience worth relishing. For a long time now, people have been asking for the next EU4 dev clash, and now I'll be joining the voices crying out for the carnage. Godspeed to the next round of casting talent!

Dev Clash.jpg

What a clash this was, but I couldn't ask to be buried by a greater foe than StarNaN.


Towards the end of 2017 I became Game Director for EU4, meaning that I was responsible for the overall vision of the game, its design and its quality, while also ensuring these responsibilities fit in with the studio and company's plans. It's been a role not without its headaches, but certainly a fulfilling one, where every day usually brought something new to the table.

I've directed over the expansions since Cradle of Civilization, including the future European Update and Expansion. We have been hard at work this year crafting what will be a fanservice focused expansion for EUIV, including quality of life improvements and meaty features, some of which we have covered in dev diaries. I’m sad that I won’t be around to work on this expansion to its completion, but have every confidence in it, and in the great EU4 team I’ve had the privilege of being a part of in my time at Paradox.

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Speaking of Quality of Life...

Indeed, it’s been the people, both those in the EU4 team and the company at large, which has made the time at Paradox so enjoyable and fulfilling, I’ll just gush about it for a bit.

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Team Building is important for game teams, and on this occasion, Groogy, r_lazer, StarNaN, Myself and TheFrenchParadox put our minds together to escape our confines.


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Bjorn and myself marvel at our epic gaming skills as we partake in the first of the EU4 Polish LAN parties. Can’t wait for next month, I’ll be there!



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The combined arms of the PDX Athletes got my sizeable rear end through Tough Viking 2018

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...and 2019

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Sometimes it comes home with me too, with an entire spectrum of people crashing at my place during PDXCon2018

Indeed it has been a magical time, but while I myself shall be gradually stepping back over the coming months, know that EU4 is still in the hands of a very capable team each of whom I have cherished my time with, and that a great update to this game continues to be developed by us, for its glorious release in the future.

Thanks for everything.


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-Never settle
/DDRJake
 
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CountCristo

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I'm gonna shamelessly steal the first spot to say it's been a great pleasure all these year's Jake.
Many of the fantastic features you have been a part of have kept me interested and engaged in the worlds best game and I can't thank you enough for that.
In the very few times I was lucky enough to actually work in the same place as you it's been a pleasure.
All the very best with whatever comes next!

PS - Oh man this is so going in all my forum sign offs now :p

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Groogy

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It's been amazing to work on the EU4 team that Jake has lead, but even before that I became his underling we've had many great memories together at Paradox and we'll all miss him. But I also want to wish him good luck in his future ventures.
 

HottestRod

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I guess I will shamelessly join, and say that I too will miss you Jake and bid you good luck! It was a pleasure working with you on Dharma, Golden Century and the Grandest LAN.
 

Krebsig

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What a journey it was, as someone who watched you since the days of old I will miss your dev dairies and am curious what direction Eu4 is going to take now that you aren't involved in it anymore. Best of luck.
 
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Zwirbaum

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Imse Vimse

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Words cannot describe how much I will be missing working with you, Jake. The last three years have been amazing, I wish you the best of luck <3
 

neondt

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You will be missed immensely. You've helped me grow a great deal during my time here and I cannot thank you enough for all you've done for me and the rest of the team.
 

Dsingis

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Does this mean we will see more streams on Jake's own twitch channel? *cough*. No seriously, I'm sorry to hear that. I can only assume that Groogy will take over the spot as Game Director, considering he was the second-in-command? (if I recall correctly)
I wish Jake all the luck in the world with his future endeavors. I'm curious to see where he will end up!