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January 31st, 2009, 14:49
We haven't seen any press releases but Blue's is reporting an event to unveil a multiplayer expansion for Mount & Blade:
Paradox Interactive held a media event in Stockholm yesterday for European journalists, and revealed plans for a multiplayer expansion for Mount & Blade, which they say will include a number of new features requested by players, including improved strategic AI, extended diplomatic options, new rendering technologies including the addition of High Dynamic Range lighting, and a new multiplayer feature including the ability for at least 32 players team deathmatch battles.
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January 31st, 2009, 14:49
Apparently my friend Matt at VGBlogger got an actual press release:
Yesterday in Stockholm, Sweden, Paradox Interactive held a press event giving European journalists a fresh peek at the publisher’s upcoming game lineup. However, for those of us non-European journalists who couldn’t attend, Paradox just sent out a friendly recap of the proceedings.

A couple key news items stand out. First, Taleworlds demoed an expansion pack it’s working on for Mount & Blade. Among other improvements such as better AI, enhanced visual effects, and expanded diplomacy, the add-on will introduce a 32-player multiplayer team deathmatch mode. Mount & Blade’s combat system is fantastic, so the prospect of epic online multiplayer battles sure sounds exciting.

Other notable news from the event include new details about Majesty 2: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim and Hearts of Iron III, word that Penumbra creators Frictional Games are hard at work on an untitled 18th Century horror game currently due out in 2010, and Paradox’s creation of Mezmer Games, a new digital distribution outfit focusing on supporting and marketing promising titles from indie developers. Full outline on all of these announcements is posted on the jump.

Mount & Blade Multiplayer Expansion Announced
The first expansion pack for the critically acclaimed Mount & Blade was demoed publicly for the first time by developer Taleworlds. The expansion will include a number of new features requested by players which will vastly improve enjoyment of the game.

* Improved strategic AI
* Extended diplomatic options, allowing the player to wield more power
* State-of the-art rendering technologies introduced for the first time, including the addition of High Dynamic Range (HDR)
* Brand new multiplayer feature including the ability for 32 players (possibly more – TBD) to play on a single map in team death-match style battles

New Features in Hearts of Iron III
Lead Developer Johan Andersson introduced the first public demo of the latest installment of the best-selling World War II strategy series. Some of the brand new features unveiled in the presentation included:

* AI-assisted Unit Interface – When a unit is selected, it will report to the player its current status, either negative or positive. Also, if the unit has been given a specific objective, it will report what resources it needs in order to succeed.
* Improved Espionage – Players will receive more useful reports from their spies in the field, including where enemy units are located and what orders they have been given.
* New “Threat” Feature – Replacing the “Belligerence” concept from Hearts of Iron II, the ‘Threat” feature is a more localized and subtle feature. It affects the player’s relationships with enemies and allies based on geographic proximity to the action, with stronger effects for nearby nations, and weaker effects for those countries farther away.

In-Depth Game Play Revealed in Majesty 2
After a brand new, introductory trailer was unveiled, the presentation focused on the previously unrevealed aspects of the forthcoming Majesty 2: Fantasy Kingdom Sim:

* Marketplaces – Marketplaces are the hub of the kingdom. There is only one marketplace in each kingdom, making them the center of the player’s game world. Because of their centralized locations, marketplaces are common targets for your enemies.
* Trade Posts – Defended by turrets because of their prized attributes, Trade Posts will generate caravans which will travel to the Marketplace.
* Temples – Used to promote basic heroes to more powerful heroes, Temples can be built in places of power only. Places of power are defended by magic creatures which the player needs to defeat before they are able to build a Temple.
* The Stats – 16 missions in each single player campaign. 6 single player scenarios. 8 multiplayer maps. 30+ hours of gameplay

Additional highlights of the media event included a presentation by Frictional Games, the developer of the Penumbra Collection. Frictional Games briefly summarized their next project, an untitled horror game set in the 18th Century and scheduled for release sometime in 2010. Russian developer Ino-Co was also on hand to demo the latest build of their superbly polished turn-based fantasy strategy game Elven Legacy.

Spin-Off Brand Mezmer Games Announced
Paradox Interactive also announced the creation of a spin-off brand, Mezmer Games, designed to provide promising independent developers a digital distribution outlet for their games in addition to marketing support. The first game to be released under Mezmer Games is the quirky strategy title Stalin vs Martians. Another title being released is Legio, an original turn-based fantasy strategy title that counts chess amongst its influences.
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