The standout titles for me in the final couple of days of E3 were both forthcoming PC entries in the Paradox stable – one (Crusader Kings II) developed internally, one by a third party (King Arthur II: The Roleplaying Wargame) and published by Paradox:
Crusader Kings II: The sequel to Paradox’s 2004 feudalism simulator looks, and sounds, pretty good (see here for my uxorial misadventures with the original game). However, a one-minute trailer can’t address my biggest potential issues. One, will CK2 stay manageable over the course of the game? Or will the player be snowed under by an endless stream of pointless decisions about whether the fifth son of Newly Arrived Hanger-On Noble #987 should be taught by priests or soldiers? Two, Paradox games have always suffered badly from the typical strategy curse of the exciting early game giving way to the boring mid/lategame, and Shogun 2 addressed this well enough to spoil me for all other strategy games. A wait and see for me.
King Arthur II: Now this looks cool. Total War-style battles with the addition of AT-AT- sized giant insects and whole squadrons of dragons? Yes please! (As a bonus, it looks like the sequel’s art design will be every inch as cool as the original’s – check out this dev diary on the artwork for Morgana le Fay.) I didn’t play enough of the first game to form an opinion on its gameplay, but hopefully KA2 will live up to the promise of its visuals.