Crusader Kings III is set to give players further freedom in their global conquests, as Paradox Development Studio recently detailed the expanded choices concerning sexuality, gender roles, and custom faiths coming the to latest entry in the classic strategy series.

On April 14th, the expansive list of new customization options was detailed by members of the development team in a lengthy developer diary posted to the official website. Discussing how their team is made up of “some very nerdy, passionate and compassionate people” and how “CK3 truly is a diverse game.”

“As you might suspect, the CK3 team consists of some very nerdy, passionate and compassionate people. Some of the things we’re outlining in this Dev Diary were part of the regular development process, and some have been passion projects. It has been very important for us to represent our players, the team behind the game, and the people who don’t feature heavily in most history books and media. We want everyone to feel welcome and to empower you to play your fantasy.

CK3 truly is a diverse game; it spans a map of nearly half the world and almost six centuries of history. This world is inhabited by a myriad of titles, cultures, faiths, and characters. It’s been our goal to represent all of these things with a great level of detail and accuracy to give you all a deeply immersive experience with more dynamic elements and player choice than ever before. Will you recreate history, build a brand new world, or something in between? It is all in your hands.”

Stressing that “we haven’t just added more diversity,” Paradox went on to describe the “variety” of choices available to players, giving them more customization control over their campaigns.

Related: Crusader Kings III Director Clears Up “Deus Vult” Controversy: “We Have Not Specifically Considered Which Terms are Used in the Game”

Speaking first of the game’s new “gender options,” as the game’s societal gender roles are controlled by a chosen faith system, the developers assured players that “all such restrictions can be changed during a playthrough,” even allowing for a new “Spouse Council Position” which emulates how “it was not uncommon for women to rule in their husbands’ absence.”

“All gender-related restrictions in CK3 are controlled by the Faiths, either directly or indirectly. As we have an awesome dynamic Faith system, all such restrictions can be changed during a playthrough. Our design philosophy for Faith Tenets related to gender has been to have the exact same options available for men and women. For example, the “View on Gender” Tenet has the settings “Male Dominated”, “Equal” and “Female Dominated”. All the restrictions for women in Male Dominated Faiths are applied to men instead in Female Dominated Faiths.

Even when men historically held the highest titles and womens’ rights were limited, women still had a vital impact on the world around them. In many parts of the medieval world, it was not uncommon for women to rule in their husbands’ absence, they were often advisors and took care of estates. We have chosen to represent this with the Spouse Council Position. Your Spouse’s skills have a direct impact on your realm and you will see events about your Spouse handling all sorts of duties, from negotiating with factions to raising additional troops.”

In particular, a change to the game’s “Gender Equality Game Rule” will allow for “an “Inverted” setting where the historical gender statuses are turned on their head and women become the dominant gender in most religions.

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Moving on to sexuality, Paradox revealed that rulers could now be “bisexual and asexual,” in an effort to “not frame heterosexuality as the default in CK3, which was also important for us,” noting that the game will develop a character’s sexuality at the in-game age of ten:

“Sexuality provides added spice to character behavior and motivations, both in real life and in CK3, and it will also affect what is considered sinful or even criminal in a Faith in the game. It’s great for drama and intrigue, and in CK3 we’ve given sexualities more granularity. In addition to heterosexuality and homosexuality from CK2, characters can also be bisexual and asexual. Sexuality is no longer defined by a trait, but has its own system, which makes it easier to handle for us and more visible in the interface for you. It also means that we do not frame heterosexuality as the default in CK3, which was also important for us.

Children develop their sexualities around the age of 10 and once set, it will not change. It’s worth noting that we don’t model sexual and romantic attraction separately in the game, so a character’s sexuality sets both their sexual and romantic preferences.”

Conversely, the “two Game Rules related to sexuality: “View on Same-Sex Relations” and “Sexuality Distribution” lets players choose whether to keep the setting historically accurate or not, including labeling homosexual characters as “sodomites” and keeping heterosexuality as the most “common” gender:

“We do however differentiate between sexual preference and sexual behavior in-game. A character’s sexuality in and of itself can never be criminal, but certain sexual acts can be. For example, if a Faith’s “View on Same-Sex Relations” is not set to “Accepted”, two men who have sex will get the “Sodomite” Secret (no matter their sexuality). While the AI doesn’t pursue romance or sex with someone they’re not attracted to, the player can sometimes choose to act against their sexual preference (albeit with a penalty, and it can never lead to a lover relationship). This means a player’s heterosexual male character could get the “Sodomite” Secret if they seduce a homosexual or bisexual man.

We have two Game Rules related to sexuality: “View on Same-Sex Relations” and “Sexuality Distribution”. The former is very similar to the “View on Gender” rule I mentioned above; it can change all Faith’s “View on Same-Sex Relations” from their historical defaults to “Accepted”. The latter can change how common each sexuality is. The settings are “Default” which means Heterosexuality is the most common sexuality, “Equal” which makes all four sexualities equally common, and one setting each for Homosexuality, Bisexuality, and Asexuality which makes them the most common sexuality instead of Heterosexuality.”

Likewise, the faith system has seen an expansion in customization options, including “more distinctions between different non-Christian Faiths, especially in Africa and India” and the choice to turn off religious wars or even randomize religions entirely.

Crusader Kings III is currently set for a 2020 release.


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    Spencer Baculi

    Spencer is the Editor for Bounding Into Comics. A life-long anime fan, comic book reader, and video game player, Spencer believes in supporting every claim with evidence and that Ben Reilly is the best version of Spider-Man. He can be found on Twitter @kabutoridermav.

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