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A representative from Paradox has responded to the original source article, denying they have removed all use of the phrase “Deus Vult” from the game:
Team lead Henrik Fåhraeus: “I feel like this issue has been miscommunicated thus far. We have not specifically considered which terms are used in the game apart from making sense in the historical context. The team will decide how any text fits or does not fit into CK3 in a way that feels appropriate.”
The iconic battle cry from the First Crusade of 1096–1099, “Deus Vult” or “God Wills It” has been a staple in online culture, and has been shared quite a bit in meme form. The popular Crusader Kings franchise by Paradox Interactive, which is entirely focused on the crusades, has banned the phrase.
While Paradox previously banned the phrase used within the community, the developer has made sure to include no use of the phrase in the recently announced Crusader Kings III, despite the game – once again – being entirely focused on the crusades.
The developer provided no reasoning behind removing the historic battle cry from a historic strategy game focused on the crusades. The phrase has been used in memes, and while harmless in and of itself, can be used by online trolls.
It’s worth pointing out the original Crusader Kings had an expansion literally called Deus Vult, and the developer even used Deus Vult in promotional blurbs for the game over the years, like so:
“For a limited time only, Crusader Kings II is currently available for free on Steam! Download it today and keep it forever. Tell your friends to Deus Vult today!,” reads a tweet from 2018.
When the meme had been reaching its peak popularity (around March of 2018), Paradox had to once again disavow the trollish or alt-right use of the phrase in online circles.
“Paradox has no tolerance for racist or nationalist organizations that use our products as a weapon in their campaigns of hate and division,” the developer said to Newsweek.
Our take: It’s one thing to condemn racism and bigotry, but to completely remove a historic phrase that is deeply entwined with a game focused entirely on that historical period, is kind of silly. You can recognize historical things for what they are without letting modern politics get in the way.
Crusader Kings III is coming to Windows PC sometime next year via Steam, and will be included in Xbox Game Pass for PC as well.