Enter the Middle Ages, the apex of all human cultural achievements. As the Dark Ages recede into the past, a new intercontinental encounter begins. It is a time for Saints and Sultans, legendary Viking raiders, and the ambitious men and women each seeking to leave their own mark on world affairs. Crusader Kings III is a
Will you answer the Roman Pontiff’s call to Holy War or will you set up an Anti-Pope of your own on the eve of the invasion? Can you bring yourself to imprison your younger brother to avoid a civil war? Will you disavow your family’s heresy for the good of the realm, or will you see where this storyline goes because it’s just so damn interesting? Choose wisely, because even your smallest decisions can have consequences for your descendants hundreds of years later.
- The three main religions and governments return from Crusader Kings II – Feudal Christians, Tribal Pagans, and Muslim Clans (formerly Iqta).
- Fully rendered and animated 3D character models bring the drama to life.
- Lifestyle options are now included in vanilla base game with three skill trees each for fully personalized character development.
- The original soundtrack includes more music at launch than any Paradox game to date, including recording sessions with the Budapest Scoring Orchestra.
- Utilize robust modding resources programmed by some of the best modders of the CK2 community. Customize the interface, create new character events, and combine mods to deliver completely new CK3 experiences.
Principally, you have to manage three elements: yourself, your court and your vassals.
When it comes to yourself, you get to choose your character's Lifestyle focus from the 5 main attributes: Diplomacy, Martial, Stewardship, Intrigue and Learning. Over time, through successful actions and events that arise, you unlock perk points to spend on various specializations within each of three trees within these lifestyles. These perks provide you with permanent bonuses and well as special abilities (such as two
With your court, you decide who to appoint to major Council positions and what tasks they undertake, from collecting more taxes to fund your enterprises, all the way through to uncovering your rivals' secrets and plotting their demise. Invite characters to your court and, if they like you enough (more of that later), they might deign become your subject.
On top of this, you must contend with your vassals - lords under your dominion who control Castles, Towns and Churches within your realm, contributing taxes and levies in exchange for your protection, but, if unhappy with your rule (or you personally), they can and will work against you.
The not-so-secret sauce underpinning everything in Crusader Kings and making it distinct from other strategy titles is that you, as a character yourself, are constantly subject to other characters' opinions of you. Whether they have a positive or negative view of you is drawn from whether your traits are Sympatico with theirs, your cultural and religious differences, as well as your actions in the game and how they view them.
For instance, showing mercy to a prisoner caught during a conflict and releasing them without ransom would make them look very favourably upon you, and you could perhaps leverage that down the road by convincing them to become a willing conspirator in a plot. Conversely, refusing a ransom and executing that same prisoner would make every one of their family look disfavourably upon you, but would increase your character's dread, making people less inclined to work against you for fear of themselves ending up with their head on the block (if the plot is discovered).
The game is fueled by these considerations to the extent that even the mightiest ruler can come undone if they make enough enemies at home and away. Not only do you have to manage your side of things, but you also need to ensure that when you eventually do expire, your appointed heir is not only in a credible position to take up the reins, but that they are also strong enough to stave off all pretenders that might arise to dispute their rightful claim.
The game allows you to play as any noble ruler, from a lowly Count up to an Emperor; from as far afield as Iceland in the far northwest, down to the coast of North Africa, across the Middle East to India, and up to the Steppes of Mongolia. Albeit not included at launch, the developers will add in the custom ruler designer down the road, so you can put yourself or your friends into the game if you so desire, and, best of all, this time it's going to be free.
With the initial release, there are two historical start dates to choose from: 867 AD and 1066 AD. Both of which are notable when it comes to the state of the political landscape. In-depth details about these very different eras in the Middle Ages are covered extensively in the videos below:
Crusader Kings III includes an entirely new game map that is slightly larger and four times more detailed than CK2. Individual regions have been broken down into physical baronies, with terrain differences determining what kind of armies will perform better. Context sensitive map filters allow you to bring up different menus with a click, depending on which map mode you are using (religion, dynasty, realms, etc.)
- A new Religion system has been built from the ground up with modability in mind. Within the major world religions are a total of 99 different faiths with their own attributes and flavor. Faiths have Tenets and Doctrines that dictate how they are played, some of which can be changed through your actions.
- The new Renown system allows you to exert more influence over the actions of the members of your Dynasty. Family members within a dynasty can now create Cadet branches that act independently of their parent Dynasty.
- Unlock powerful "Legacies" to define how your Dynasty plays for the rest of the game.
- Factions and Civil Wars have been overhauled to differentiate the kind of associations formed against you in your realm. When lords are displeased with your rule, they'll join different kinds of factions depending on what their grievance is. For example, vassals looking to secede from the realm might join the Independence Faction, whereas those who are just looking for a change in leadership might support a pretender and join a Claimant Faction. These different kinds of groups now present unique challenges and strategies compared to CK2.
- How you build your armies is a lot more important now. Hired men-at-arms are much more powerful than the peasants you raise as levies, while knights now play a much bigger role. Small armies of men-at-arms will sometimes perform better on different terrain than large armies of levies.
- Under the new Dread system, your cruel actions can have in-game benefits for controlling other characters instead of just making them dislike you (btw, you're a terrible person).
- The game's audio adapts to your in-game actions. Ambient noises will play depending on your camera locatin's region on the map, while other sounds play to represent the setting of each character interaction event
- The AI armies now coordinate with you and eachother much more than CK2 to assist their allies during wars rather than acting independently.
- New Stress system rewards you for roleplaying according to your character traits, while going against your their personality will create inner conflict to your detriment.
- Player-generated heresy.