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Paradox’s most hated game now has diehard fans that want it revived

Harshly criticized upon launch, Imperator: Rome now has a passionate fanbase that want a new dawn for the game - but will they get what they want?

Imperator Rome image with Emperor welling up about positive reviews

It’s fair to say that Imperator: Rome’s release, on 25 April, 2019, did not go exactly the way developer Paradox would have hoped. Despite the game receiving relatively glowing reviews from the press – with a few notable naysayers – regular fans were far less kind.

The Rome-themed Paradox grand strategy game was slated by its audience, who criticized its shallow mechanics and unfocused feel. Despite Ebba Ljungerud, Paradox’s CEO at the time, saying the game was beating sales targets in its first few months, Steam review scores were firmly in the red and development ceased by May 2021, a couple of years after release.

That’s almost unheard of for notoriously long-lived Paradox strategy games. It would be the equivalent of the final Crusader Kings 3 DLC dropping in the middle of last year.

But three years later, it seems Imperator Rome has unexpectedly turned a corner, at least in how fondly folks think of it. Fans have been what we can only describe as ‘review love-bombing’ the game, to the point that, while its overall Steam score is still Mixed, standing at 61% positive, its recent Steam reviews are an outstanding 97% positive – counting a not insubstantial 565 reviews.

Imperator Rome - Steam reviews

Social media users have been urging players to leave positive reviews and boost the game’s rating. The overall aim seems to be drumming up enough interest that Paradox starts developing the game again.

And there’s good reason for that desire. It seems like Imperator Rome was cancelled just as it started to get good, thanks to updates and DLC. In our review of the Imperator Rome Marius update, which came in the game’s final few months of development, we called it the Imperator Rome that should have been.

YouTuber Laith claimed to have heard “rumblings that Imperator Rome might actually come back”. They declared March 15 – 16, the Ides of March, to be Imperator Rome day, where players must boot up the game and show Paradox that there’s still interest in the game.

Was the fall of Rome for good, or is it possible for Imperator Rome to be born again? We wouldn’t rule it out. In an old forum post asking if the game was permanently finished, a community manager with username PDX_Pariah had this to say:

“Once a game goes into Legacy, it usually stays there unless a third party publisher either picks up the rights or there is a huge demand for the game that generates enough attention to get the Devs back into the mix. These are unlikely edge cases, but not impossible.”

As for the results of the recent push, a quick look at Steam Charts shows movement. The Imperator: Rome player base has doubled, going from around 700 players at once in late 2023, to up to 1600 players in March.

That’s still a relatively low number, however. To divert significant resources into the game, Paradox would probably want to see numbers closer to 10,000, in line with its other titles like Victoria 3 and Crusader Kings 3. This figure in fact is still a bit less than Crusader Kings 2 gets today – long after that game’s sequel launched.

Still, these diehard fans are clear about what they want . “Don’t forget to review the game on Steam so that it becomes yet another measurable statistic for Paradox”, writes one Redditor, harblstuff. Let’s convince them to revive this beauty.”

A 70% discount on the title in a current Steam sale, which brings the price down to $11.99 can only be helping the title.