Surviving Mars debuts Xbox and PC mod platform Paradox Mods

Surviving Mars leads the Paradox Mods program. — AFP Relaxnews

Surviving Mars leads the Paradox Mods program. — AFP Relaxnews

Starting with space colony management game Surviving Mars, Paradox Interactive is providing a way for community improvements to make their way from PC to console.

Unofficial, community-made game modifications – better known as mods – can fix and improve games, bring more variety to players, and extend the overall life of a release.

Like mods themselves, publisher Paradox Interactive has been best associated with PC gaming for much of its existence, but is now teaming up with Microsoft to help bring mods to Xbox One through a new platform called Paradox Mods.

Designed for Xbox One, Windows 10 and Linux, the Paradox Mods platform allows mod creators to "share their work with players on Xbox One and PC with a single upload".

While the PC side of the scheme does not connect to that traditional bastion of PC gaming, Steam, it does link up with independent retailer GOG, as well as the Paradox Launcher, which can populate its user libraries to reflect Paradox titles owned on Steam.

(Steam implemented its own computer-based mod-sharing platform, Steam Workshop, in 2012.)

The Paradox-published March 2018 offworld colony simulator Surviving Mars is the first to support Paradox Mods with 99 optional updates, from adding aliens to a colony's human population, or swapping in the music from another Paradox game, Stellaris, to changing Mars to the Earth's Moon instead.

In August 2017, another game publisher, Bethesda, rolled out an official mod system for its games Skyrim and Fallout 4, likewise offering compatibility between PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of the two games.

Going against the grain of the modding scene on PC, Creation Club content was not free but bought for a fee which was then split between Bethesda and each mod's creator.

Established in 1999 and specialising in grand strategy games, Paradox had to wait until 2017 for its first big console title, overseeing the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and (in 2018) Nintendo Switch editions of city planner Cities: Skylines, already an enormous success as a computer game.

Fantasy action adventure Magicka 2 arrived in 2015 but as a computer and PlayStation 4 release, while Surviving Mars landed in 2018 on the PS4, Xbox One, and more familiar computer platforms.

Space strategy Stellaris, well received on PC, Mac and Linux in 2016, is to release for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on Feb 26.

Paradox did not mention PlayStation support in its Paradox Mods announcement. – AFP Relaxnews