September 2020 NPD: Crusader Kings III has the best showing in franchise history


It’s no paradox to me — Crusader Kings III ranks 7th on the charts in The NPD Group’s September sales report today. This is not just the highest ranking for the franchise but also the highest launch month, in dollar sales, for any Paradox Interactive game. This shows that even niches like grand strategy can still find mass market followings.

Crusader Kings III launched August 31 on Steam, Valve’s PC gaming platform and store, and critics gave it high scores (it has a Metacritic rating of 91). It got the first 5/5 I’ve ever awarded in a review, and I think it’s the best game Paradox has ever launched. It’s a grand strategy game in which you control a ruling dynasty in either Europe, Asia, or Africa between the years 1060 and 1453. But really, it plays more like an RPG in how you make decisions guiding your kingdom or empire, with your ruler as the player character.

Paradox’s last game to appear on the chart was Age of Wonders: Planetfall, a turn-based strategy game that hit in August 2019. It takes the franchise and puts in into a sci-fi setting, and it does so pretty well (I mean, it has space dinosaurs!).

And Paradox has a longstanding reputation for supporting its games long after launch. 2012’s Crusader Kings II, for example, got its last big piece of downloadable content in 2018. It had 15 pieces of DLC (expansions, packs, etc.)

September is an interesting month on the NPD chart. Marvel’s Avengers is the top game, with Super Mario 3D All-Stars in second place. One game that didn’t even release in September hit the charts as well — Star Wars: Squadrons, which came out October 2.

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