Crusader Kings 3: How to make the world’s nerdiest game really cool for Xbox Game Pass

Tom Henry

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The strategy epic Crusader Kings 3 is an insanely complex mix of strategy, simulation and role-playing game: You slip into the role of a ruler in the Middle Ages and lead your dynasty through centuries. The strategy monster is slated to come to Xbox Game Pass on March 29th, and is dressing up for it by signing rapper and twitch streamer T-Pain for YouTube spots.

That’s the problem:

  • The games of the Swedish developer “Paradox Interactive” are complexity monsters. They try to depict situations from history with an endless number of nested systems. They are “typical” PC games that you have to work your way into for hours. Crusader Kings 3 is primarily a game for “history” and “strategy” nerds.
  • Xbox Game Pass reaches a huge audience of gamers across PC and Xbox. Because the games are offered as a “flat rate” model, shooter players, strategy fans or role-playing junkies can try out a game that they would never buy. However, the majority of these players run away screaming from a Paradox game in the tutorial because the basic concepts are so foreEsports Extrasthat even someone who knows “Civilization 6” or “Age of Empires” is clueless.
  • How do you manage to make Crusader Kings 3 palatable to as large an audience as possible? How can the fascination be conveyed? How can you get non-genreans to at least give it a try?

In my Game of the Year I have 14 children, 4 wives and I am the Emperor of Ireland

Strategy giant hires rappers and twitch streamers

That is the solution: Xbox and Paradox signed Faheem “T-Pain”-Najm for YouTube trailer, this is an American rapper and twitch streamer. T-Pain has around 800,000 followers on Twitch, but mainly streams shooters like Warzone, Fortnite or the racing game Forza Horizon there. So it doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with strategy games.

He now plays Crusader Kings 3 in two commercials and shows the fascination of the game.

In one commercial he wants to rule the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation as a “good, peaceful ruler”, but immediately has to contend with attempts on his life and rebellions.

A few hours later he is a medieval despot who marries his children to the last troll for alliances, extorts his population with high taxes and covers Europe with war.

In another video, Saint T-Pain starts a religion to divorce his wife and basks in how incredibly clever and holy he is, but overlooks the consequences of such behavior.

This is behind it: Most of Paradox’s games take place in the minds of the players – the game allows you to use mechanics to implement your own plans, whether you’re a small count in Ireland wanting to conquer Great England, or playing the role of an Italian Renaissance prince or want to experience what it’s like to be a raiding Viking: In Crusader Kings 3 it’s all possible

The depiction of T-Pain shows the player’s thoughts and the evolution those thoughts go through during gameplay.

T-Pain beautifully depicts the conflicts and dilemmas that Crusader Kings 3 presents: the games are designed in such a way that “efficiency” and sheer survival collide with the will to “do what is good and right”.

You start there and want to be a wise and benevolent ruler and a few hours later you are in the middle of breeding the “superman”:


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