Highly anticipated: There are few grand strategy franchises with as much depth, complexity, and replay value as the Crusader Kings series, and it’s acquired quite a large fanbase as a result. Those individuals may be pleased to hear that the series’ third main entry, Crusader Kings 3, finally has a release date: September 1, 2020.
If you’ve never heard of the Crusader Kings franchise, it’s essentially a medieval dynasty simulator, in which you control individual rulers as opposed to entire kingdoms. You can choose a famous ruler from history to play, or create your own (with the appropriate DLC, in true Paradox fashion), and guide them on their path through history.
Your ruler can forge alliances with other kingdoms, manage vassals, get married (and have kids, which you will eventually play as), dabble in political intrigue, or simply conquer new lands.
You can also acquire new attributes (good or bad), and, of course, take part in the legendary Crusades. There’s far more to the Crusader Kings games than what we’ve just described, but attempting to cover it all is a little outside the scope of this article.
Suffice to say that Crusader Kings 3 aims to take each of the mechanics mentioned above and expand upon, or even rework them entirely. The new three-dimensional character portraits are one of the more obvious examples of these changes, but plenty of upgrades are coming to the underlying character-centric RPG systems as well. Perhaps most importantly, the game claims to be much more accessible than its predecessors, with improved tutorials and tooltips.
The story (and release date) trailer we embedded at the top of this article does an excellent job of introducing viewers to the world of Crusader Kings (where backstabbing and counter-backstabbing is commonplace). However, the gameplay teaser directly above is where the truly juicy stuff is.
Since it is only a teaser, it doesn’t reveal much continuous action. Still, the brief flashes of content we do see showcase an overhauled (yet familiar) UI, attractive graphics (compared to Crusader Kings 2, anyway), new army combat animations, an all-new faith screen (complete with rules on bastardry and same-sex relations), and more.
If either of these trailers piques your interest, you can pre-order Crusader Kings 3 right now for $50. It’s available on Steam, the Paradox Store, and the Microsoft Store (no Epic Games Store availability yet). There’s also a $75 Royal Edition, which includes access to the game’s future Expansion Pass.