Paradox Development Studio, one of the most exciting strategy game developers of the modern era, had a banner 2016: Both of its big new games, Stellaris and Hearts of Iron IV, broke sales records and were very well received (releases from parent publisher Paradox Interactive, like Tyranny, also got great reviews). Since then, the developer has been focused on DLC and fleshing out its other games, including older titles like Crusader Kings II and Europa Universalis IV. It’s unclear if the studio is yet at work on a new flagship game, but if it is, let’s hope they fill in their biggest gap in world history: The late Ancient Era.
Paradox Should Make A Fall Of The Roman Empire Game
Crusader Kings 2: The Reaper’s Due
With the exception of the science fiction game Stellaris, Paradox’s games cover real history, with a loose focus on Europe. The game’s span from Crusader Kings II in the Middle Ages (1066 in the vanilla version, 8 th century with expansion packs) to the Age of Discovery and Enlightenment in Europa Universalis IV, the Age of Imperialism in Victoria II and World War II in Hearts of Iron IV, with just small gaps between them. You can even port your saves between CK2 and EUIV.
All of the games are on the same engine except Victoria II, which is a little older and most in need of a update; it’s very possible that Paradox will make one. But instead, or in addition to that, the company should consider hitting up the biggest white space in its lineup: The era immediately preceding Crusader Kings II, Late Antiquity. To non-academics, it’s probably more familiar as the fall of the Roman Empire and the beginning of the Dark Ages—spanning from (to pick some pretty arbitrary dates) the Crisis of the Third Century that fundamentally transformed and nearly destroyed the Roman Empire, to the barbarian invasions and the fall of the Empire in the West, ending with the eventual rise of the empire of Charlemagne—when Crusader Kings II begins.
It was an era of stunning tumult, and Paradox has never covered it (they did release a game set in the age of the Roman Republic, Europa Universalis: Rome, before the company achieved its current stature; it wasn’t considered their best). Mechanically, it would be very different than any of its other games… especially because in the first few centuries of that period, there is only one state in Europe, a single united Empire with only disorganized tribes outside of it. But those tribes, and internal Roman forces, eventually brought down a state still mind-boggling in size even today.
Most Paradox games are about large empires fighting each other, and small states trying to find ways to survive in between. A game set during Western Rome’s decline would create a unique and interesting dynamic—a single large empire fighting itself, and small non-states (plus Persia) trying to pick off the pieces. It would be uniquely compelling—as long as it was very, very hard for players to keep the Empire fully alive.
Paradox, think about it. We know you’ve considered it before. Expand the timeline. Go back to the Dark Ages and set the stage for everything that comes after.