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Paradox's Fredrik Wester and Shams Jorjani on Tyranny 2 and Bloodlines 2
Interview - posted by Infinitron on Mon 21 May 2018, 23:04:37Tags: Fredrik Wester; Obsidian Entertainment; Paradox Interactive; Shams Jorjani; Tyranny; Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines
Paradox Interactive held their annual PDXCON conference this weekend, where they announced a number of new strategy titles. While most of the world's attention was focused on these announcements, the guys from PCGamesN thoughtfully took the time to ask CEO Fredrik Wester and VP Shams Jorjani what Paradox is up to in our genre these days. Namely, regarding their relationship with Obsidian and the possibility of another Tyranny game. Despite what a certain former Obsidian owner may have revealed recently, it doesn't sound like there are any hard feelings between the two companies. I quote:
“Obsidian wanted to do Pillars of Eternity II on their own because they had ideas on business terms where we couldn’t agree,” Paradox CEO Fred Wester tells us. “It’s nothing more than that. I really like the Obsidian people and I’m a big fan of their games as well.”
At last year’s PDXCON, the publishers told us that Tyranny sold below their expectations; that “everyone was hoping that it would do better.” But Paradox and Obsidian never fell out according to Wester. In fact, their relationship is perfectly healthy.
“I’m going to have a beer with Feargus Urquhart at E3 this year as usual,” he says. “It’s more that, they want to be more independent and do their own things, and we want to publish things where we are in control. It’s not really compatible on a corporation level. On a personal level, there’s no problem.”
To understand that publisher demand for control, you need to look at the nature of Paradox’s recent success. Part of their explosive growth over the past half a decade has been down to patience - Crusader Kings, Cities, and Europa Universalis are all names that didn’t find a wider audience until two, three, or even four entries in. In order to repeat the trick, Paradox want to own what they work on.
“We always work super long-term,” VP of business development Shams Jorjani says. “If we have the choice of investing in our IP and ourselves, rather than Games Workshop or somebody else’s IP, we’d rather choose ourselves. Us owning IP ends up being just a direct result of us paying for everything. We’re taking all the financial risk, so we should see most of the financial upside as well.”
Reasonable though that might be, it means Obsidian aren’t steering the future of the world they made. If the developers never hash out another deal with Paradox, they’ll never work on Tyranny again. The publishers, meanwhile, don’t yet have any concrete plans to make a Tyranny 2, either internally or with another studio.
“We could do more in that world [but] we haven’t really decided what to do with that IP,” Wester says. “We’ll see where we end up.”
Tyranny might end up in another genre entirely. The game was set in the ugly aftermath of a war, and its opening Conquest Mode had you define the consequences of that conflict on an overworld map using miniatures. It’s not much of a stretch to imagine one of Paradox’s internal teams - the ones behind Crusader Kings and Europa Universalis - running with that premise as a fully-fledged game.
“Just the other day on Twitter, somebody was talking about setting a grand strategy game in the Tyranny universe,” Jorjani notes. “I think that would be cool. We’re absolutely interested in exploring grand fantasy in the strategy space.”
It’s especially intriguing that, without prompting, Wester mentions the same concept too: “If someone in the studio says, ‘I want to make a grand strategy game out of Tyranny’, I would approve that day one.”
Wester says “we are experimenting with a couple of the White Wolf brands right now,” but are aware that a new franchise can’t be immediately started from scratch ("if you’re going to build a big franchise you need to think in a seven-to-ten year cycle”) and that if the Vampire IP was to receive that kind of attention, “we need to know what the next ten years are going to look like.”
A new Vampire game does seem to be something relatively high on Paradox’s list - Wester acknowledges that a second Vampire game “is an obvious choice” - but it’s not something they can begin yet - “it needs to feel right, it needs to be the right team [...] for the game.”
Wester also suggests it’s unlikely that a new Vampire game would be Bloodlines 2, but that it could be “something Vampire RPG.” However, he also states that “the first game [in the new franchise] is probably going to be the worst game from us that they ever see in this franchise, because the [second] one will improve on the first one.” If any of that sounds familiar, it’s because this isn’t the first time Paradox have discussed the possibility of a new Vampire game - at last year’s PDXCon, they said they said they’ll make a Bloodlines sequel “when the time is right.” That’s definitely good news, even if there’s nothing to say when that time could possibly be just yet.