Fredrik Wester – Paradox Interview
Paradox may be all hands on deck at GamesCom in Germany but I managed to sneak some questions through to the companies CEO, Fredrik Wester. Read on for his comments on DLC and newly announced titles from Paradox.
The Reticule – You describe the new titles as being a ‘tribute’ to those who play your games, to what extent does this mean the new games will be designed according to what your fans want to see?
Fredrik Wester – We are always working close to our customers when designing and developing games. This is the result of many years of interaction between our studio and our fans. Several people from the publishing team also interacts with our forum users on a daily basis to discuss, get feedback and to help us develop the company and our games.
TR – For the Glory is described as a ‘fan-developed’ title, how much have you at Paradox helped those who are making this title?
Fredrik – Except for that the engine is ours we haven’t been hands-on involved in this project, it has been entirely developed by long-term fans of the Europa Universalis series.
TR – What led to you making the decision to licence out the Europa Universalis engine for free?
Fredrik – It started as an experiment; we already know that a lot of our gamers are talented modders and wanted to see if people where interested in developing a full game in addition to mods. It has worked out quite well so far and we hope to release more titles based on our engine, but developed by mod groups and fans.
TR – The new Victoria and Europa Universalis titles have been influenced by comments on your official forums, how did you decide what ideas should be implemented in the new games?
Fredrik – Victoria 2 started as a petition on the official forums; however normally we decide internally what games to make. This is the first time we have actually made a decision based on a long discussions on the forums. Now it is up to our gamers to prove whether this was the right decision or not.
TR – Can we expect to see this interaction with the fans carry on with future Paradox titles?
Fredrik – Absolutely. I think we are the company in the gaming industry with the most interaction with our fan base. The direct contact we have with our fans is an important part of our philosophy.
TR – Do you think fans get enough of a say in the development of new games?
Fredrik – I think we are quite good at giving our gamers what they are actually asking for; I can’t really answer how it looks in the rest of the industry.
TR – How has Hearts of Iron 3 been performing since release? Do you think it has managed to become popular with a new audience?
Fredrik – HoI3 has done really well (as we had expected), and we are happy with the release. We have gotten some feedback on issues with the game and we are currently addressing them. It is tough to get a completely new audience for a game series like Hearts of Iron, but I think we are slowly growing the franchise over time.
TR – A lot of fans of the game have complained about a lack of historical accuracy in the game, is this something you intend to change with future patches?
Fredrik – If gamers are looking for a historical exact timeline for World War 2 they probably find HoI3 too open-ended. I am sure the modding community will address this issue and make a more deterministic version of the game.
TR – Can we expect to see a Hearts of Iron 3 expansion? Will this be influenced by player feedback like with Victoria 2 and the new Europa Universalis expansion?
Fredrik – Yes, I hope we will make a HoI3 expansion. This could do a lot for the game and with the feedback we’re getting from gamers I am hopeful we’ll see an expansion some time in the future. However, this is not decided yet.
TR – East India Company and Hearts of Iron 3 were your first titles to feature DLC, has this proved to be a success? Do you plan to have DLC feature in future games?
Fredrik – We have had a long discussion with our gamers on the future of Paradox DLCs. Most people are positive to the idea, but they want to see bigger add-ons with more changes to the gameplay and therefore we will probably divide our DLCs into two categories; those that affect gameplay (add-ons), typically bigger changes and in the price range $9.99 – $19.99 and DLCs with only changes to look and feel (graphics/music) at a lower price.