Paradox Interactive Developers: In cooperative multiplayer, several players can play the same country. Each player is equal in game terms, so it does rely on your cooperating. However, for the larger countries cooperative multiplayer can be very rewarding. As Spain, (for example) one player could focus on diplomacy and warfare in Europe while the other concentrates on exploration and colonization, making the task of handling a country such as Spain a lot easier for the player(s). All they have to do is agree on how to spend the money.
Gamersinfo.net: With strategy games the graphics are normally of secondary importance. However, you have reworked the graphics considerably for this version. Would you mind telling us what's new in terms of this aspect?
Paradox Interactive Developers: Well, if I was to pick two great things you can get with the new graphics engine, the first is the one that players will love. Rather than having a few set zoom levels the new engine can create several zoom levels just by turning the mouse wheel. In EU2, I always found myself stuck on a zoom level that would be a little too close or a little too far out.
The other great feature of the map engine is that it is easy to modify. If you do not like the boundaries of the province, you can edit them yourself in paint. You can change terrain and other factors just as easily. It is the ultimate tool for people who love to mod our games.
Paradox Interactive Developers: I wouldn’t exactly describe the new military units as such; the units themselves represent tactics. Each unit has offensive and defensive values in fire, shock and moral (sic). The offensive values represent their ability to do damage to the enemy, and the defensive value is their ability to resist damage from the enemy. When you change unit type your armies will take a few months to reorganize, but it can be very useful. Therefore, if you are fighting an enemy with many cavalry it might be better to switch to an infantry unit with a high defensive shock value to resist the enemy’s cavalry. However you are always restricted to only one choice, which makes it less of a tactical decision and more of a strategic decision.
Paradox Interactive Developers: This was a very simple decision for us. We wanted to give our fans the best game play experience we could. The two cut off dates represented major changes in the European political system and military systems. We felt that by focusing on a shorter era we could give better game play. If we tried to force the game, to mimic the political and military landscape of the Napoleonic Era we felt we would have short-changed our fans. Not only would the later years not feel as good as the main part of the game, but also it would take time away from our improvements to the main years of the game, making them less fun overall.
Gamersinfo.net: All of your games have a rather steep learning curve. What have you done with EUIII to make it more accessible for the casual gamer?
Paradox Interactive Developers: The thing that will probably strike the fans of our previous games is the interface. The new EUIII interface tries to make information easily accessible to the player without an information overload. Knowing immediately what is going on will make it much easier for a new player. Next, we put a lot of thought into how you do things; we have tried to make each game play action as easy and intuitive as possible. To give you an example, you can send merchants via the ledger. So rather than searching the globe for that center of trade you can look at the ledger, it will tell you right away how much it costs to send a merchant, how many merchants you have at COT and how rich each COT is. Then it is a simple click to send a merchant. Finally, we added a system of alerts to warn the player about important things, such as the player can change a slider. So rather than placing the burden on the player to remember when important things are about to happen, or force the player to continually monitor things just on the off chance that something might have happened, the game will advise the player of this, allowing the player to get on with the job of having fun.
Gamersinfo.net: As with any strategy game, EUIII will rely on the AI for the challenge. What has been done to improve the AI for this version?
Paradox Interactive Developers: We have drawn on our extensive experience to improve all aspects of the AI. The thing we think the players will notice most is that we have tried to make the AI smarter and, more importantly, more active. Rather than waiting for the player to act the AI will be more likely to pounce on a player at the first sign of weakness. It makes the diplomacy with AI countries much more important in EUIII; those alliances could save your life.
Paradox Interactive Developers: All 250 nations are playable, however not every nation will exist when you choose your start date. A few special nations can only be created by special event; like Spain. If you start as Castile and unite with Aragon (by diplomacy or war) then you will become Spain. Other countries are created by revolt; new countries can appear. However if you want to play one of these new countries it is not difficult. Just save your game and when you reload, you can just select one of the new nations.
Gamersinfo.net: A new feature you've added to the series is the ability to invite historical figures to the royal court. What effect would Sir Isaac Newton or Mozart have for your nation?
Paradox Interactive Developers: The Great Men are divided into several categories. Therefore, Newton is a natural scientist and hiring him will give you bonuses in research of production techs. While Mozart is considered an artist, his musical works help bring stability to your realm. There are 12 types of Great Men, each gives you a bonus to research or something extra (like colonists or merchants). You can only have three at one time, making it an interesting choice, and although you can always fire a great man when someone who you think will be more useful comes along, he will probably end up working for someone else when you need him again. Hiring Great Men is all about timing.
Gamersinfo.net: Are the historical figures going to be limited to only one nation or could China be able to invite Galileo to their court?
Paradox Interactive Developers: That is very unlikely. Great Men will only move to countries in the same tech grouping, Isaac Newton would never consider working for some primitive African tribe, and no European monarch would ever hire someone from the back of beyond. However, it is possible to get China in the same tech group as the Europeans and then Galileo could end up working there. We have always aimed for a blend of freedom and plausibility. So yes just about anything can happen, but the less likely it is to happen the harder you will have to work to make it happen.
Paradox Interactive Developers: No, you cannot. The problem is the huge gap between Victoria: Revolutions and EUIII is going to make creating a converter just too difficult. However if I were a betting man I would bet money that our fans will create their own tool to do this. They have been known to do these sorts of things.
Gamersinfo.net: Bonus Question: Europa Universalis was originally based off of a board game. What is your favourite board game?
Paradox Interactive Developers: Well...I have had many favorite board games over the years. I must say the one I loved most was the original Advanced Civilization game