Crusader Kings III is a role-playing game and grand strategy game set in the Middle Ages, developed by Paradox Development Studio and published by Paradox Interactive as a sequel to Crusader Kings (2004) and Crusader Kings II (2012). The game was released on 1 September 2020. The first flavor pack, Northern Lords, was released on 16 March 2021. It includes various additional content mainly pertaining to the Norse region, including the ability to form adventurer realms, access to holy warriors and shieldmaidens, unique dynastic legacies, and culture-specific events and decisions. The game sold more than 1 million copies within 1 month of release and was nominated for Best Simulation/Strategy Game at The Game Awards in 2020.
The game, like its predecessors Crusader Kings and Crusader Kings II, is a grand strategy game and dynasty simulator set in the Middle Ages, players can start in either 867 or 1066 and play until 1453. Dynasties can form cadet branches that have their own heads and act mostly independently from their parent dynasty. The heads of dynasties are able to use a new resource known as Renown to assert their control over their house. For example, the heads of dynasties are responsible for legitimizing bastards. Characters have full-body, 3D-rendered character models instead of 2D portraits. As in Crusader Kings II, they have traits that affect their stats and behavior. Taking choices that go against a character’s traits will increase that character’s stress.
Crusader Kings III is the heir to a long legacy of historical grand strategy experiences and arrives with a host of new ways to ensure the success of your royal house. Choose a royal or noble house from a number of realms on a map that stretches from Iceland to India, from the Arctic Circle to Central Africa. Knights, peasant revolts, pilgrimages, Viking raiders… experience the drama and pageantry of the Middle Ages. Guide a dynasty through the centuries, ensuring the security and power of each new generation. Gather new lands and titles to cement your legacy. Be a pious king to bring the religious powers to your side, or strike out on your own, designing your own splinter religion and earning everlasting fame or eternal damnation.
All religions and almost all government types are playable, though merchant republics and theocracies were not playable at launch.The map is about four times more detailed than the previous one and slightly larger. Most leaders in the game adhere to the feudal, tribal, or clan government types. Nomads are portrayed as tribal instead of having their own government type. Religions have Tenets, which are bonuses given to all practitioners of that faith, and Doctrines, which deal with the church’s stances towards issues like homosexuality and female clergy. Players will be able to develop their own heresies, with the Tenets and Doctrines being chosen by the player. The more a heresy deviates from its original faith, the more Piety it will cost to create it.
Adopt one of five different lifestyles, perfecting your skills in military strategy or kingdom management. Research new technologies to increase the wealth and military might of your realm. Recruit men-at-arms units and powerful knights to supplement your royal levies. Hire mercenaries and Holy Orders for your major wars. Supplement your income with ransomed prisoners or raiding parties on neighboring realms. Use your spymaster to discover plots against your dynasty and your rule. Seduce other characters for love or political power. Recruit agents to assist your schemes to undermine or murder anyone who stands between you and power. Gather information for blackmailing purposes or call in favors whenever your plans need an extra bit of influence.