The hellish design of the Crusader Kings video games

Crusader Kings 3, a landowner strategy game set during the Latin holy wars, is often criticized for its user interface. The game’s complexity can be overwhelming, with multiple menus, lists of currencies, and character data, all of which players must understand to succeed. However, the game’s open-ended goals, historical accuracy, and unpredictability make it an addictive experience for many players.

Developers at Paradox Interactive are aware of the challenges posed by their game’s complexity, and have attempted to streamline the UI in Crusader Kings 3. They hope to focus players’ attention on the game world rather than on usability issues. Their approach includes providing better ways to answer questions within the game itself, starting with the map. By adjusting the amount of information displayed depending on the player’s zoom level, they aim to make the game more functional and intuitive.

Despite the game’s complexity, players have found creative ways to enjoy it. Some, like social media manager Emily Lipstein, treat the game as a medieval dating simulator, exploring new heirs and their unique stats. Meanwhile, veteran players seek out absurd dreams, such as defeating the great Khan, and take satisfaction in achieving them through the game’s many pathways.

In the end, the success of Crusader Kings 3 lies not only in its complexity but also in its sense of direction. Despite the overwhelming amount of information presented, players always feel like they’re on the edge of another disaster, making perpetual crisis a perfect gameplay loop.

Leave a Comment