Crusader Kings III, a game entirely about buttons and menus and likely the last thing you’d ever expect to make the jump from the PC to consoles is doing just that, with a version announced earlier today for Xbox Series X|S and PS5.
Your reaction to this news might be laughter like that headline up top, or perhaps fear at what this could possibly look like, but there’s actually precedence for this, and pretty promising precedence at that.
For starters in 2019 Paradox released another of their games, the intergalactic 4X Stellaris, on console, and it was fine. Granted Stellaris isn’t as complicated as Crusader Kings, but still, it shows Paradox know a thing or two about swapping keyboards and mice for controllers.
Next up is Civilization VI’s console release, also in 2019, which I said was “fine” because while it had its problems with stuff like game speed, the actual thing folks would have been concerned about with the port—namely how the interface would work—was nothing to worry about.
And finally, remember that while Crusader Kings III lost none of its depth and complexity moving on from II, it did clean up its interface, and so navigating its menus and priority items was made a lot easier, which means flipping through them using a controller should be a lot easier as well.
The game’s console trailer below shows some of that in action; while some menu screens will work just like they did on PC, other systems are making some changes better suited to a controller, like using radial dials, or pressing face buttons to reveal more information about something that’s current on screen. The PS5 version will even get some haptic feedback related to the game’s stress systems, while Xbox users “will be able to quickly switch between gameplay and consulting a YouTube tutorial on how to quell a peasant revolt”.
Like Civilization, though, taming a sprawling interface is only half the battle, and it remains to be seen just how well these consoles can handle the rest of the Crusader Kings experience, including its performance. Limiting its release to next-gen systems is a promising start, though, and I guess we’ll all find out together when the game is out whenever it’s out (sorry, no release date as of yet).