Paradox Interactive And Corporate Responses To Criticism.

Much as I am loathe to bring this particular example back from the dead, even if it does let me practice the foul arts of Necromancy, which is bitchin’, You may recall in the middle of 2018 a bit of a row between fans of the Battlefield series and the staff behind its production, a quick google search will refresh both your memory and most likely your salt content regardless of the side you take in that debate. If you’d rather not allow me to quickly fill you in.

So in the trailer for Battlefield V there is a woman war fighter, and apparently there was a very vocal outcry from fans about lacking historical accuracy, and political correctness, and there were counter charges that this was sexist and was historically accurate. I want to point out that said portrayed female fighter was not serving in any of the historical roles like the Night Witches or Soviet Female snipers that defenders of Battlefield V used to justify their claims and also had a, prosthetic, and I use the term loosely because it looked more functional then any modern arm prosthetic we have and is basically cybernetic, which doesn’t really fit with a wwII aesthetic,. But the official response to the fan criticisms was, don’t like it, don’t buy it. Which is honestly a fair take, if a company feels so strongly in its vision of a product that it flat out says don’t give us your money if you don’t like it, ok champ.

But there have been two prominent examples recently of I believe a more adult or reasonable reaction by companies in regards to criticism they have received. The first and more notable example is the Sonic The Hedgehog movie delaying to re-render the titular Sonic to not be the abomination it showed in its first trailer… those teeth haunt me still. And the second can be seen with Paradox Interactive.

Paradox is a niche company, most notably known for their super in depth grand strategy titles. Shams Jorjani, their Chief Business Development Officer, (at the time the VP of same positon) said that “If a game can’t be played for 500 hours we probably shouldn’t be publishing it.” to give you an idea of the games they produce. Two products recently however have suffered some criticism and I think how it was handled speaks volumes of the caliber of the company.

After one update to their grand strategy title Europa Universalis IV, a core mechanic of the game was changed, you could no longer use a missionary to convert the religion of provinces in your non state territory, without unlocking all of the religious ideas. A lot of people were upset about this and vocally voiced their opinions on the Paradox forums. After a while an official response came out, paraphrasing it roughly, we hear your objections as to how we’ve implemented this but this is a concept we’ve wanted to implement but we’re going to think of some alternate systems that can achieve the same goal but by a different means. 

They eventually came back with a compromise, you can convert in any of your provinces but missionary maintenance is no longer a flat monthly cost but is dependent on several factors and whether something is a stated core or territory is, so it’s more expensive there. They also recently introduced a mechanic where if you have too many territories versus states you’d get large amounts of corruption, as a kind of penalty for growing too large. They recently in a dev diary have communicated that they still want some sort of added penalty for expanding that much but that the current solution isn’t well liked or effective and have announced they’re working on an alternative.

I think Paradox shows an example of a healthy medium in dealing with criticism of their product. I think it’s perfectly reasonable to say something represents a design concept that we want to implement into the game but that the current implementation is not well received or wanted and to address this in a future patch going forward. At the same time so is standing your ground and as long you’re willing to pay the potentially real cost involved then so be it.