Paradox Interactive seems like a wacky place to work. Not Marx Brothers wacky by any means, but only wacky due to the firm's apparent sense of humor. Proof of this odd sort of thinking can be found in the firm's list of upcoming titles, and some it's passed on. Yes, this is the same firm which released Stalin vs Martians, but, there are some things out there that are just too dotty even by Paradox's standards.
Nazis and Kevin Costner
According to the firm's head Fredrik Wester, one game which a bit too iffy to be tied with was an adventure game called Señor Heinz. It was to be set in the firm's Hearts of Iron series.
"You're a German Nazi criminal who flees to South America to escape justice," Wester explained to Kotaku. "The idea is pretty unique, but it was super-hardcore. Adventure games are a niche of the market and Hearts of Iron isn't huge."
While it sounds interesting, Wester and the firm passed on the title, after the fallout from Stalin vs Martians, a game Wester had green-lit after only seen concept art. According to Wester, "the game was so crappy," he starting being a bit more watchful of just how far off the grid the firm's titles go.
Wester mentioned in the interview, that the firm will be showing another new action title in the works at E3 next month. Yes, the firm as even more games in the works than the lot it mentioned earlier this year at its press day in New York.
While the game's actual titles hasn't been officially announced, for the moment it is called Project Postman, after actor and director Kevin Costner's film of the same name.
"Our projects are named after Kevin Costner movies, before they get a real name," said Wester. "We started this at the company dinner when people got drunk while discussing projects and started re-enacting the scene from Dances with Wolves— the scene when he's trying to explain the buffalo to the Indian.
"He did a lot of independent stuff as well, so if you look at IMDB there are a lot of options."
However, there won't be a game called Project Waterworld in the near future, as Wester believes such a moniker would doom the game from the start.
"That would be like having an epic failure, so we're kind of not using that," said Wester. "Postman is telling an epic tale of modern America. It's got many depths to it. We have a Bodyguard now. Yes, Silverado, Bodyguard and The Postman were the three latest additions to our portfolio."
Profits are good, so is digital
Paradox has a rather nice hit on its hands with Magicka, which has sold 500,000 copies so far, and is the first game in the company's 14-year history to hit such a mark. Which is probably the reason it will be heading to XBL sometime in "early 2012," but don't "put it in stone," added Wester.
Profits for the firm are up 30 percent this year, with growth of 65-70 percent, and Wester feels as always that digital PC gaming is the place to be. He is also optimistic that GameStop won't "fuck it up" with their new digital store Impulse.
This isn't to say that Paradox is adverse to other platforms. Considering the firms games appeal to the "Internet savvy," and "25-50-year old male," demographic, the firm plans to bring more than just Magicka to consoles digitally. It's just easier to create games for PC when the budget hits somewhere around the $200,000-$500,000 mark.
Don't look for Facebook games from the firm anytime soon, though, as it is not really the Paradox's cup of tea; plus Wester thinks they are a bit "evil" or even "anti-social."
"The nature of social games is that you look first at the monetization model," Wester mused to Kotaklu. "And then you look at the [game design] idea … We started a Facebook game and decided: 'This is just going to be so boring.' It's basically like we're trying to steal people's money."
Dishing on The Syndicate
While chatting about Magicka, Nazis, digital PC games, and Kevin Costner, there was one more thing Wester said of interest to Kotaku during the interview: he is aware of a new Syndicate in the works from EA.
Wester never mentions Starbreeze Studios specifically in the interview, yet anyone who has been paying attention to any rumor of the game in the last four years already knows the studio has a hand in it.
According to Wester, who said he loved Syndicate's isometric tactical style, said the new Syndicate is "more of a like a GTA wannabe than it's like the original game." So, to counter this, Paradox wants to make its own version of Syndicate, but it would be a spoof more or less.
Of course, there isn't a design for it just yet, but the fantasy of it is floating around the offices at any rate.