Fredrik Wester – Paradox Interview

Paradox

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.

victoria4

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.

hoI3_logol

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.

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15 Responses to “Fredrik Wester – Paradox Interview”

  1. Journier Says:

    Fredrik is a joke, what he doesnt mention is his entire forum alite with hatred for HOI 3.

    This release was on the level of Master of Orion 3, I expect patches, but nothing will fix the horrible coding that went into this game.

    Moo 3 sequal imo.

    The game runs extremely slowly, and isnt even a Hearts of Iron worthy tribute.

    From the Speed problems that most have, to the AA bugs, (not allowing AA to be effective), to the diplomacy AI spamming you with requests, to the Production AI not doing what it should be.

    To supply bugs that allow your units even during peacetime!!! to die in home provinces!

    To the convoy supply bug that refuses to allow more convoy supply points on the map till you restart game.

    Fredriks whole thing how Paradox is close with the fanbase went out the window with HOI 3.

    His moderators are outright banning anyone that “crosses” the line via “trolling”

    As in your telling everyone about the issues your having in multiple threads and get banned for trolling.

    They are banning owners of the game from the tech support forums etc.

  2. Fredrik Says:

    Thanks for your comment. Hard for me to reply directly to you when you are not displaying either your name or email address, but you can always email me at fredrik.wester@paradoxplaza.com.

    I might be a joke (thanks for the comment btw, some people refer to me as things worse than that) but I’m always listening to what people have to say.

    Thanks for your feedback!

    Fred

  3. CoyoteTheClever Says:

    I’m a little disappointed that Fredrik doesn’t seem interested in repairing the fact that historical event-wise, the game is very lacking in content, and he doesn’t seem to have mentioned that Hearts of Iron 3 was rushed onto the market which is why there do seem to be great holes in content in not just the event area, but also things like doctrines for countries in later scenarios, lack of countries to liberate as compared to Hearts of Iron 2, and other small problems like not being able to see another country’s ministers.

    I mean, I wouldn’t mind open-endedness of the game if it was just due to the nature of the system, but instead any illusion of open-endedness is just because they never bothered to develop content for the later end of the war. The only truly open-ended part of the game is where a nation decides to invade, everything else is the same with all countries ending up joining the world war, absurdly enough. Its like a fantasy scenario without any of the fluff that made Hearts of Iron 2 a great game. I mean, you can’t even shape a post-war Europe like you could in Hearts of Iron 2. Its just completely gamey with very little history to it. Your ministers are all zombies who live forever. All elections happen on the same date for every Democracy. And unfortunately, the Paradox staff have shown no interest in these problems.

    I’m glad though that they are making a fully fleshed out system of historical events with Vicky 2, because it at least shows that they understand at least some of their mistakes from this release. Its just unfortunate that they aren’t going to fix that aspect of this game and in fact are just making excuses for it by claiming the game is open-ended, which it isn’t.

  4. CoyoteTheClever Says:

    For the record though, I’m still going to keep supporting Paradox. I have faith they’ll do the right thing with Vicky too. Hearts of Iron 3 does have a lot of fun aspects to it, it is just a shame it isn’t as complete a game as Hearts of Iron 2. I encourage older Paradox fans not to give up in frustration with this gutted release and to buy Vicky 2 and keep supporting Paradox. Maybe if we keep asking, Paradox will listen to our requests and fix up Hearts of Iron 3 to be a game about World War 2 instead of a fantasy scenario, which might work for EU3, but isn’t good at all for a game with as short a period as World War 2.

  5. Fredrik Says:

    Have been browsing around a bit.

    Funny enough, the only place where we can assure that _buyers_ (=people who actually paid for the game) can vote (GamersGate), they are giving the game and average score of 4.7 of 5. I’m not saying the game is perfect, but out of 300 votes it is an interesting result. Especially if you take into account that you have to buy the game to vote (note like Amazon or other web shops where any troll can vote on anything).

    Fred

  6. CoyoteTheClever Says:

    I gave the game a similar score on Metacritic I believe, though a lot of that is based on my analysis of your ability to fix the problems with the game. It isn’t a bad game by any means, but it is a gutted and buggy release, and the longer you play the game, the more clear that becomes. I understand you have PR work to do and you have to tow a certain line, and to a certain degree, I think you are telling the truth that this game is a good game and it does have a lot to offer. I just wish you wouldn’t write off the obvious historical flaws with this game as “open-endedness” when they are just due to a rushed release. And it is understandable, because you guys do need to make money, and I’m happy to support you. If I knew the game like I know it now, I’d still of pre-ordered it like I did. That’s the kind of fans you guys have.

  7. Greg Wild Says:

    Try to keep it civil chaps. We’re okay so far, but I’d rather we didn’t descend into an over spill for the forum re: HOI3’s release state. I’d like to point out that in the interview Fredrik is keen to point out how grateful he and Paradox are for the rapport that has built up over the years between fans and developers. I’d hate to see that relationship destroyed by endless forum sniping. Keep posting about issues in a composed manner and it’s far more likely the team will get around to resolving them one way or another in the future, and ultimately keep producing knockout titles.
    Like I say, we’re fine so far, but keep things civil :)
    -Greg xoxo

  8. Hoot Says:

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  9. aaaaburn Says:

    Of course Mr. Wester is not going to focus on the problems with HOI3. I am a loyal customer and did buy a registered edition on Gamersgate.
    I was sorely disappointed in the unfinished release of HOI3. I bought it the first day of release and cannot really play a decent game until the patches are released to fix numerous bugs, OOB, and map issues. I have been able to cruise through the amazing new features from previous HOI series and this will be the incredible game that was promised a few months from now. I was just unimpressed by the beta testers and the pre-release quality check (if there was one).
    I will keep the faith in Johan and his staff. I admit that I wanted the game released as quickly as possible, but I wanted a game I could play.
    Consider this a warning from me and others on the forum… We want to buy a quality product that is playable at the time of purchase and is moddable to suite our own flavor. This company has one of the few fan bases that offer to make a game better for free! I want Paradox to be successful, but they have to retain my loyalty through quality.
    -aaaaburn

  10. PI Fan Says:

    Hi id like to say that im very happy that PI makes such great games, Im from the UK playerbase. But with the most recent titel there are a few bugs/things that are wrong. One of them being maps city/names apart from the Stalingrad issue mentioned on your forums there are province names in arae’s such as the Netherlands or Belgium, Germany, Austria, USA, China and other places to name a few, I will give some examples here from my long time playing as Germany in HoI1 ad 2 and visiting Germany many times on my Holiday’s and reading its history in many books: Frankfurt , Manheim, Memel, Mainz, Rastatt, Darmstadt, Karlsruhe amongst few that i can name of the top of my head.

    This seem’s like a rather large mistake/error although thier not game breaking issues they do sort of ruin the game’s fun for anyone that dose know this, are thier any plans on fixing map name issuesand so on in a patch and or expansion? although yes thier are mods it dose help if thire fixed officialy rather then let modders fix a developers mistakes in some cases

    Your track record in the games itself has been extreamly good but these are fairly obvius mistakes, wether it merits an answer or not i dont know but i thaught I aught to show my support but also small feedback too :)

  11. PI Fan Says:

    Oh this id like to add as i forgot to mention this, im not a fan of DLC of anykind unless its an Expansion, in terms of units or music which you mentioned they should have been in the game from the start and not have people to pay for some thin that should have been in thier just so you can make a bit more money intop threw your own service, that is just plain milking the customer and i hope that you might reconsider doing DLC in that sort of manor and try to jump of the bandwagon of what other companies are trying to do, not every one can afford to make small cash injections into DLC content how ever minor it is unless its an expansion that adds a great deal, one example would be Empire Total War which has the same which people are generaly not to happy with itself.

    I earn very little and have a tight budget I dont want to feel left out just because i cant pay for the extra’s :(

  12. Dr.Phibes Says:

    What amazes me is the fact that despite all the bugs and imbalance hoi3 is one heck of a game, imho one of the best in 09. Keep up the good work PI!

  13. Don Says:

    I think paradox have made a great game with hoi3. I admit it has a couple of bugs but still I’m having tons of fun with it!

  14. Wally Says:

    HOI3 has quite a few problems (was expecting it tbh, but not quite as bad as this). My experience with HOi2 says that was better brand new out of the box – but I hope they fix up the performance issues etc soon. Unfortunately I fear they made some questionable decisions around the interface but what can you do – at least they’re listening to the fans/forum posters.

    Good on you for replying fredrik, and I hope you end up shaving your head :P

  15. Evo’s PC Gaming Blog » Blog Archive » The Roundup 4th September Says:

    […] I have a couple of interviews, the first was with Fredrik Wester the Paradox CEO about, well Paradox! It caused a bit of a stir in the Hearts of Iron community I must say. My second interview was with […]