There was a naked man in my court.
On June 14, 1073 AD, my steward, vassal and knight, Earl Muiredach mac Carthach of Desmond arrived at the meeting of my small council dressed only in, well… his birthday suit. This was the man I’d entrusted to manage the paperwork of my realm, to ensure taxes were being collected. Was this newfound fashion choice a portent of his impending madness? Was it some bold power move designed to put me off my game? A sign of the contempt in which he held his ruler? Or was it a bug, a highly specific graphical glitch that just happened to leave one of my councillors undressed? I didn’t know.
Perhaps it’s a credit to Crusader Kings 3 that I didn’t have an immediate answer, a sign of the depth and complexity of its simulation and its capacity for surprise. Perhaps it was also a failing, a breakdown somewhere between the calculations of a mass of colliding gameplay systems and how their results were communicated to me. Perhaps it’s both. Regardless, this memorable event served only to highlight the singular vision of Crusader Kings 3, a grand strategy game that successfully operates across a bewildering scale, feeling vast and unknowable one moment yet awkwardly intimate the next. It’s a marvel of connectivity, effectively linking together complementary elements plucked from different genres–the role-playing game, the visual novel, the life simulation, the city-builder, the wargame–even if at times you can sense it straining at the seams.