I had mixed feelings about Paradox’s latest grand strategy game, Victoria 3. For everything cool and funny and interesting it managed to pull off, it was as much saddled by an obsession with some truly boring, broken stuff. However, one thing I loved at first play, and will appreciate until the end of time, is the game’s art.
As we saw with Crusader Kings III, with its lavish loading screens and in-game artwork, the days of Paradox games shipping with underwhelming art are long behind us. Victoria 3 is a lovely game to behold, in almost every respect, from its deeply appropriate menu interface, to its 3D world map, to the illustrations that breathe life into every crisis and decision you have to face as leader of a 19th-century nation. As I said in my review:
Victoria 3's map is beautiful, a globe bristling with colour and variety and an ever-changing landscape as cities and railroads expand over the decades.
For tonight’s Fine Art, then, I’m psyched to get the chance to present a ton of art for Victoria 3 from the bulk of the teams that worked on it, both from Paradox and outside studios. As such, you’ll find pieces below from three disciplines, starting with illustrations, then environment art, and finally UI work.
Links to each individual artist’s portfolios can be found hyperlinked in their names below.
Paul le Quére
Johan Mets, Jonas Jakobsson, Kenneth Lim & Nicolas Lenman:
If you missed my review, outside of the visuals (which I’ve already praised and will do so again now!) I had the best of times with Victoria 3:
What you do on that political plane, like passing important new laws or pumping more money into services like education, is then reflected back onto the pops and the economy. It’s one enormous feedback loop, where the tiniest tweak—maybe to the kind of furniture a factory makes, or how many fisheries you’re building in a state, or how much tax you’re going to charge, or how much the price of paper is costing your civil service—can have potentially enormous economic and social ramifications.
Victoria 3 is constantly in flow, then, heaving and sighing, always shifting under your feet. Numbers are being fed into it, and they’re coming out the other end as well, but what you’re left with in the middle, once you understand them all, is something that is trying to approximate the world. It’s seemingly infinite with its possibilities, especially since you can control any nation (or comparable body) that was around in 1836, from European superpowers to the tiniest, fledgling state.
And also the worst of times:
I also just never enjoyed how much emphasis is placed on economic management here. I know that’s the point of the game, to show us how politics has as much to do with how much we have to eat as what we think about immigrants or public schools. But also, this is a multifaceted video game, one that features global diplomacy, societal story-telling and the potential to reimagine the First World War, yet here I was spending the bulk of my playtime looking at government paper costs and dye production and regional livestock figures. The accountants and quartermasters among you might be very into this, but I was not.
You can read the full review here.