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Paradox says where we're going, we don't need no marketing plan as it just shows off and chats about the unannounced Europa Universalis 5

 A portion of India shown in Europa Universalis 5's map.
A portion of India shown in Europa Universalis 5's map.

While other developers stick loyally to promotional schedules crafted at great expense by dedicated professionals, publisher Paradox Interactive knows that with some things there's no need to bother. All you do, see, is show off a bit of a world map, start talking a little bit about population complexity and, like hungry sharks drawn to the blood of the chum, the Europa Universalis massive will materialise.

A new blogpost by Johan Andersson, studio manager at Paradox Tinto, basically just straight-up starts talking about and showing off elements of Project Caesar, a game that is very clearly Europa Universalis 5. Andersson is the creator of the series and, after over 25 years at Paradox, established Paradox Tinto in 2020 which initially worked on supporting Europa Universalis 4.

Andersson begins by discussing two core elements of the game. First is population, because "the simulation of the population will be what everything is based upon, economy, politics, and warfare", and you would not believe how excited people are about what he has to say. To briefly give some context, Europa Universalis is a grand strategy game on a global scale, where you lead a chosen nation from roughly the 15th to the early 19th centuries: one of the twists being that, when historical events happened in real life (for example, the French Revolution), the game will somehow reflect that depending on your actions.

That's a rough summary of a game that goes into incredibly granular depth on everything from diplomacy to religion to technology, and in which a huge part of the appeal is that very detail. Andersson talks about how the new game will simulate people, or "pops", and how they'll impact on events.

"A single unit of people in a single location can be any size from one to a billion as long as they share the same three attributes, culture, religion, and social class," writes Andersson. "This unit of people we tend to refer to as a pop." He goes on to list some of the characteristics being tracked:

  • Culture: ie, if they are Catalan, Andalusi, Swedish, or something else.

  • Religion: ie, Catholic, Lutheran, Sunni etc. Nothing new.

  • Social Class: In Project Caesar we have 5 different social classes.

  • Nobles: These are the people at the top of the pyramid.

  • Clergy: These represent priests, monks, etc.

  • Burghers: These come from the towns and cities of a country.

  • Peasants: This is the bulk of the people.

  • Slaves: Only present in countries where it is legal.

Note the little aside in the religion category: "nothing new." That's probably because this has been an element of Europa Universalis since the first game. Other statistics include literacy, which both impacts the technological advancement of the country the people are in, and rather existentially "impacts the pop's understanding of their position in life."

The other stuff Andersson goes on to discuss is pure Europa Universalis. Pops have a satisfaction level, if it gets low that means problems, and this is impacted by everything from religion, their cultural views in relation to the primary culture, status, instability in the region, "specially scripted circumstances" and "several things we can’t talk about just yet." Why stop now Johan!

The pops will impact "the military, economical and political part of the game", can grow or decline over time, can assimilate with other cultures, convert religion, and in some cases migrate.

Now we get some details about scale. There are "currently 27,518 unique locations on the map", ten times as many as Victoria 2 apparently, and Andersson has some music for the ears of thirsting conquistadors: "Now we are building a game based on decades of experience, and so far the performance impact of having pops is not even noticeable."

And with that, our man is gone, promising only to return to chat a little more about governments next week. We'll obviously have to wait for the official announce, but it seems safe to say Project Caesar is Europa Universalis 5, and judging by the reactions below Andersson's post is focusing on the things fans want to see. It could possibly have been a sequel to the brilliant Imperator: Rome, itself a spinoff from the EU series, but one of the pictures Andersson shows has an Islam symbol in the population tab: Islam wasn't founded until 610 A.D., which takes it out of the period Imperator's set in.

The blogpost ends with an image that Andersson says "some may like." A screenshot of names and numbers may not seem like the most interesting thing, but perhaps necessary context is that EU4 players are famously 2nd Rome-pilled. If EU5 has a slightly earlier start date than EU4, then what we're seeing is a screenshot of someone successfully tearing Byzantium back from the Ottomans. Finally, some red meat for the Byzabros? We'll have to wait for more from Andersson, who might even get around to announcing the game itself one day.