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Crusader Kings 3’s AI used to be way too thirsty

Seduction was a tricky mechanic to balance

A king and his councilors contemplate war in a piece of key art from Crusader Kings 3. Image: Paradox Interactive
Cass Marshall is a news writer focusing on gaming and culture coverage, taking a particular interest in the human stories of the wild world of online games.

Crusader Kings 3 puts the player in the seat of power, ruling over a dynasty and attempting to spread their family’s influence beyond humble territories into ruling an empire. There are multiple ways to go about this, including being a faithful ruler who relies on the pope, or raising an army to go to war. Of course, there’s another method: seduction and romance. Players who need to win over a tough opponent or forge a political alliance can set up a marriage, or they can underhandedly seduce another lord and revel in the chaotic aftermath.

In the Crusader Kings 3 August Update on YouTube, the developers shared that they actually had to dial things back on the romance front, as it was possible for seduction to spin out of control.

“[The non-military AI] will help ensure that this world feels like it’s actually alive. Sometimes we will have to have some restrictions on the AI for how it interacts with the player just so that it doesn’t get overwhelming or frustrating. The prime example here is seduction, where at various stages in the game we’ve needed to tweak the rules so that if the player is playing a woman rather than a man they just don’t get a hundred seduction attempts constantly. While that might sadly be quite realistic in some ways it’s not an experience you want in the game or in reality.”

In short, during development, female rulers were basically getting a nonstop run of notifications in the form of medieval Tinder swipes. There are also ways to turn the tables; Crusader Kings 3 allows players to institute equality across genders or faiths, or even make it so medieval Europe is made up of a series of matriarchies. It’s anachronistic, but in these gameplay saves, it would be dukes and lords who found themselves absolutely swarmed by thirsty ladies and court guests.

Even with these changes, there’s still plenty of room for romance and cheating-related carnage. In my current game, my wife is cheating on me with my spymaster, and I have to keep the secret of their illicit child safe lest I lose my claim on a neighboring duchy. Perhaps it is for the best the developers tweaked that particular dial, lest things spin entirely out of control.

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