Feel that? Thats the fresh breeze of something different in gaming. Its the breeze of not playing USA vs the World, its the breeze of the “Sword of Islam” DLC for Paradox’s Crusader Kings 2. We recently had a virtual interview with Henrik Fåhraeu, the Project Lead from Crusader Kings 2 and asked about the DLC, the research that went into it, their plans for consoles and much, much more.
You can purchase the Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam expansion on leading digital distribution platforms including Gamersgate, Steam, Amazon and the Paradox site
Firstly thanks to Henrik Fåhraeus for taking time out of his day right around the launch of the Sword of Islam DLC to answer some questions from Muslim Gamer about the game. We are stoked to be able to play the game from the Muslim perspective and we are in the process of getting the review ready as we write this (should be up in the next few days). But for now, heres a question and answer from the man himself, Project Lead, Henrik Fåhraeus,
Why did Paradox decide to make a “Sword of Islam” DLC for Crusader Kings 2?
It was an obvious choice, since the Christian world is only one half of the region covered by the game. We always wanted the Muslims to be playable, even in the original Crusader Kings, but we did not have the resources to make it happen.
Is it possible to find out what kind of sources were used to put together the historical foundation of the DLC?
Well, it’s not an academic paper, so that’s going to be difficult. For myself, I read Ibn Khaldun and Albert Hourani, as well as various Internet sources.
Paradox is known for their attention to detail in regards to historical events. How long was the research process for both the base game as well as Sword of Islam?
Well, we lifted a lot of the history from the original Crusader Kings. In addition to that, we got a lot of help from a select group of people from several countries we invited even before the game went “Alpha”. The research process went on for about 16 months, until the game was released. For the Sword of Islam, we have done more work internally, but we still got help from our beta testers and the old research team.
Was there a lot of research about this period of history before moving forward with the development process?
Absolutely. We were especially interested in the rise and fall of various prominent Muslim dynasties.
Details about the decadence system. As stated in the dev diary, wars and giving titles and land will lower the decadence percentage for vassals. What other factors will play into that overall level?
Decadence is counted for an entire dynasty, such as the Abbasids or the Almoravids. Decadence increases from having unlanded adult men kicking around. Having a small personal demesne will curb the growth, and if dynasty members fight in battles or sieges, the level will decrease.
What has been your biggest concern when creating the Sword of Islam DLC?
Probably the adaptation of the enormous amounts of text (and graphics) to suit the Muslim setting. Also, getting the balance of the Decadence system right.
Were there any Muslim warriors\characters or war strategies that you discovered and implemented during the creation of the DLC?
Well, for me personally, it was fascinating to explore the genealogies of the Fatimid and Abbasid Caliphs, and of the Banu Hashim. We added the trait character trait Sayyid, which we employ in a rather broad sense, given to any direct agnatic descendent of Fatima, or Muhammad’s uncles al-Abbas and Abu Talib. There is also a Mirza trait, which is given to children of Sayyida mothers.
There are events in the game that take place at certain times based upon real life events such as the First and Second Crusader. Can you give any details what sort of new events are scheduled for Sword of Islam?
(Note: I’m alluding of course to the Ilkhanate advancement against the Abbasid Caliphate in the 1200s…)
There are several new events for when the Mongols take important cities, both in the North (the Golden Horde) and in the South (the Ilkhanate.) There are many other new events for the Muslim rulers, but not much pertaining to actual historical events – our games are, at the core, about alternate history.
Both the Christian and Muslim dynasties and states were just one part of the ancient world that Crusader Kings II takes place in. There are many different areas of focus for the next expansion, from the Byzantine Empire and Latin Empire of Constantinople to the beginnings of the Mongol Empire. Where do you see the game heading next?
There are many areas we’d love to cover. From republics, to pagans, to Orthodox Christianity and the Byzantine empire.
If the Sword of Islam DLC is well received, are there plans to provide fans with more content for the game playing from the Muslim perspective?
There is always more we could do, and we have some ideas for the Muslim world that are likely to make it into free patches.
Is there a chance we will see more content for any of your other games (or maybe future games) that will enable gameplay from the Muslim side?
It is quite possible. We discussed more Muslim content for the Europa Universalis III expansion Divine Wind, but in the end, the focus ended up on China and Japan instead.
What is your favourite part about the expansion pack?
I really like the immersion of playing as a Muslim ruler, with the Muslim interface and events, trying to keep Decadence in check and setting challenges for myself, like recreating the Arab Empire.
And finally, do you plan on releasing any of your games on consoles?
Unfortunately, we have no such plans at this point…
Thanks again to the team at Paradox for the game and also for taking the time during this launch period to answer some questions. If you haven’t already purchased the game you can watch a live demo at 9am PDT/ 6PM CEST over at Twitch TV, but we say just go buy it and support a great dev team so we can see more games from Paradox!
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