History Repeats Itself: Europa Universalis IV Details

By Adam Smith on August 10th, 2012 at 5:06 pm.

If there was no Europa Universalis there almost certainly wouldn’t be a Victoria, a Hearts of Iron or a Crusader Kings. There probably wouldn’t be a Paradox, at least not in its current form. The success of the game, with all its complexities and oddities, led to sequels, expansions and Caesarean spin-offs. Earlier today, the company announced that Europa Universalis IV is in development and we’ll hopefully find out much more at Gamescom next week, but through skilled diplomacy we have managed to secure some early details and screens. Click those screens to see maps so large you can read the words on ‘em.

Exploration, trade, warfare and diplomacy are the heart of the game’s nation- and empire-building, but what may be the biggest change is an emphasis on leaders.

Experience the new system of monarch power where your spread of choices is influence by the caliber of the man you have at the top. Do you have a warrior King? Then it is time to make war.

I’d be delighted if this means borrowing a little from Crusader Kings’ character system, leaving the emphasis on nations but fleshing out the people who are at the heart (or head) of those powers. My hopes are given wings by another part of the feature list.

The great people and personalities of the past are on hand to support you. Thousands of historical events guide you, with unique different flavor depending on the country you play. Have more than a thousand historical leaders and over 4000 historical Monarchs at your disposal.

That’s a lot of monarchs, so many that someone’s going to have to invent a collective noun for them all. The collection of crowns will have more than three centuries to dominate, with the whole wide world available on a map that will be familiar to anyone who has pored over Sengoku or Crusader Kings 2. Across all that time and space, there are more than 250 countries available for player control.

There’s not much detail on warmongering yet, although the suggestion in the pre-reveal hints that the ‘bad boy’ system has been dropped, or at least reworked, could have huge implications for how diplomacy and aggression are handled. Unilateral diplomacy should make things more complex and realistic.

Deeper diplomatic gameplay, with coalitions, threats, fleet basing rights and detailed support for rebels. Introducing unilateral opinions, a country may dislike you, but you can be neutral towards them.

Trade empires should be more interesting to manage as well and is it too much to hope at this point that as well as borrowing from Crusader Kings, Europa Universalis will be borrowing from Victoria as well? It is, after all, the middle child and it should be keen to learn from all of its siblings.

The trade system adds a new dimension to the great trade empires of the period. Seize control of key ports to expand your trade, support it with your powerful fleet and the wealth of the world will flow to you.

Full mod support and multiplayer, including co-op and up to 32 players, are also to be included. If EU IV is as stable and impressive as Crusader Kings 2, I’ll be a happy historian indeed. And if I could take my save games from one into the next, extending alternate histories across many a century, I’d be even happier, but that feature is, as yet, not included. Much could change though since the release date is an agonisingly distant Q3 2013. At least it’s not going to be rushed out of the door.

A long time to wait then, but I’m still going to be all excited right now. I particularly like the fact that this group of sequels could be starting from the start, with Crusader Kings 2 spearheading the way for EU, the systems becoming more complex as required with mechanics also being retained as needed. Perhaps then everything can feed forward again until I’m managing my way into the future.

I’ll interrogate Paradox about all of these dreams and possibilities next week. Now, look at Britain, all woodsy and green.

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59 Comments »

  1. Cold Steel says:

    Looks and sounds fantastic. I only hope you won’t need a load of magistrates to build anything, that was really annoying in EUIII since HTTT.

  2. MythArcana says:

    Get that Paypal account warmed up for the 927 DLC packs coming for this one…

    • apejonk says:

      I dislike DLC in general and never bought Horse armor so I can’t be blamed, but with Paradox it’s different. DLC (or Addons) really make their games good and I’m always happy when they release one. Call me a fanboy but Paradox proved with CK2 that new games don’t need addons to be workable anymore, so it’s really just added content. If you can’t live with not having every single dlc like music or something than it’s not paradox fault that you are a greedy and hoarding bastard ;)

  3. bob. says:

    After Crusader Kings 2 I’ll blindly pre-order anything from these guys.

    • bob. says:

      Don’t get me wrong, it’s not just CK2, I was a huge fan of their games before that. But with CK2 they showed that they can also make a bug-free, playable and fun (!!) game on release date, if they just take enough time.

    • Premium User Badge Carra says:

      Same here. After 120 hours with CK2 I’ve spent another 80 hours with Victoria2 and another 40 with EU3.

      Paradox had me playing for months.

  4. Fattsanta says:

    So should I just wait for this now rather then get the few expansion packs i’m missing from Eu3?

    • thebigJ_A says:

      No. It’s like a year off still. The expansions are what made EU3 great. If you’ve not got them, you’re playing a handicapped (though still quite good) game.

      • Fattsanta says:

        I see I see, I only ever had up till what Eu3 Complete gave me, I think “In Nomine” and “Napoleons Ambition” perhaps its finally time to take that plunge back into it.

        • Premium User Badge Tom De Roeck says:

          One of those was a big update, and free, I think. But yes, Complete for PC means you have most of it, while for mac there were some missing.

        • Schaap says:

          You should definitely get all the expansions, it’s unbelievable how much they improve the game. I couldn’t recommend the game vanilla but with all expansions it’s my all time favorite game.

        • Jason Lefkowitz says:

          They do have a package now that contains all the DLC for EU3: Europa Universalis III Chronicles. At USD$29.99 list it’s a bit pricey if you’re only looking to catch up on a couple DLCs, but it’s often available in one of GamersGate’s frequent sales; I grabbed it for something like $7.50 at one point. At that price, it’s worth it even if you have most of the DLCs already, just to have everything bundled together in a single installer.

          • cckerberos says:

            Chronicles has all the expansions in it, but I’m not sure if it includes any of the DLC.

          • Premium User Badge Maltose says:

            IIRC, the only non-expansion DLC in EU3 are cosmetic sprite packs that are nearly unnoticeable. If you already have EU3 complete, you can buy the 3rd and 4th expansions (Heir to the Throne and Divine Wind, respectively) separately and the expansions will work with the EU3 complete. They’re $10 a piece on both gamersgate and Steam that will be cheaper than buying the $30 EU3 chronicles.

  5. Premium User Badge Faldrath says:

    “That’s a lot of monarchs, so many that someone’s going to have to invent a collective noun for them all.”

    A pride of monarchs, surely? Anyway! Historical events, whee! The lack of them made me skip EU3 and stick with For the Glory, so that’s good news :)

  6. King in Winter says:

    Oh, a happy day! The fourth iteration of my favourite paint program!

  7. MacGuffin says:

    Looks exciting, I’m sure I’ll get it on day 1. I can’t resist being made fun of for playing games where I stare at a map for 6 hours while being excited by a border moving slightly to the west.

    • laijka says:

      Well, the mockery can’t be worse than when playing CK2, and I get all excited about a marriage that will result in one extra holding in 20 years time.

      Oh the looks I get from the gf. :-)

    • theleif says:

      Girls don’t like it when they are only appreciated for their holdings.

  8. idhrendur says:

    Well, if Paradox doesn’t make it easy to import saves to the games, then fans certainly will. And by fans I mean me. (I’m the one doing the CK2 to EU3 converter and the EU3 to V2 converter).

  9. Ateius says:

    *Clears throat*

    Eeeeeeeeeeee!

    That is all.

  10. Bobsy says:

    I said the same in the previous thread – the ability to import saves from Crusader Kings 2 would make this a near-perfect game. It’d make it an instant purchase for me, certainly.

    There’s a mod project to convert CK2 saves for EU3, and the modders are already having heaps of trouble with the big issue of having to model all the various independent kingdoms, dukedoms and so on in EU’s game. It’s a tall order, but I reckon it’s a near-essential one.

    And then an EU4-to-Victoria 3 save converter please. And then to Hears of Iron. And so on.

    • apejonk says:

      Why is it so important? If you are good enough your Empire will be way too strong anyway. Starting new just promote zen, which is good.

      • Vinraith says:

        Exactly. It always sounds like a good idea, but in practice it’s just a big “I win” button, even if you don’t intend it to be.

      • Vandalbarg says:

        It’s got less to do with starting in a strong position and more to do with starting in an unusual, unique, position, an alternative line of history that is yours.

        Also you tend to get really fond of your kingdom as time goes on, especially if you don’t just play CK2 as a map painting game. I’d love to continue on my Hispania Irish Cathar Empire into the New World, fighting against the dreaded Coalition of Frankish States and the Grand Scottish Kingdom (now with more Danes!)

        • Bobsy says:

          You’ve got it.

          And seeing as how CK2 was never about ‘winning’, it’s not a problem. I started out as a count, eventually brought my dynasty to being king. That was victory in its own way, but my England was never utterly dominant. What I really want to do is continue the story, see what happens next.

  11. Om says:

    Interesting. Just from those screens it seems that they’ll be reusing the Clausewitz engine, or at least an upgraded version thereof. Which would break with the tradition of launching a new engine with each iteration of EU

    • JakeDust says:

      EU1 and EU2 use almost the same engine, they just made it more capable (and let you play by default all countries) and complete.

      They said on the forums that the version they are using of Clausewitz is already much better than the one present in CK2, so we can expect great differentes between the old Clausewitz of EU3.

      • apejonk says:

        I hope so. In the beginning Clausewitz felt way too generic and soulless. At least that was the reason for me why although I played EU2 to death, I never purchased EU3 until this steam summer sale (complete-edition and didn’t even really played it). But I liked CK2 and to an extend V2. So, until now Paradox never disappointed me in the long run.

        • thebigJ_A says:

          “Complete” isn’t the complete one, confusingly enough. The best expansions came after that bundle. If you want the proper game all at once, you’ve got to get EU3 Chronicles.

          In your case, just get Heir to the Throne and Divine Wind.

  12. Torgen says:

    Is Quinns still at Paradox? Surely he’s RPS’s inside man for all the good info?

  13. battles_atlas says:

    Does anyone know whether this will use an engine that is actually capable of changing fonts for higher/now standard resolutions. Playing CK2 on 1920*1080 required some serious peering (peerage?).

  14. The Greatness says:

    Yes! I loved EU3! I just hope the HRE aren’t going to be enormous spoil-sports in this game.

  15. Dark Nexus says:

    I played a lot of EU3 and V2, but never managed to get into CK2 as much, so a question for those who have played a lot of EU3/V2 as well as a lot of CK2:

    I found the engine really started to chug in late game EU3 and V2, to the point of being almost unbearable (moreso in V2). Did they improve that at all in CK2?

    • Schaap says:

      I’ve never had the problem you do, but CK2 is much more demanding to play than EU3 or V2.
      By the way, your problem might have been caused by the infamous save bug which inflated savegames infinitely and really impacted performance.

    • Om says:

      The slowdown in V2 was a known issue, I can’t think of anything similar in EU3. That said, CK2 runs fine for me in all centuries. I suspect that the number of calculations doesn’t increase greatly: number of characters remains constant whereas in V2 you had POPs multiplying at an alarming rate

    • kalelovil says:

      The patches and especially the AHD expansion for V2 significantly improved later game performance (as well as all-round performance with the introduction of multi-threading support to some game systems).

  16. Calabi says:

    These games always dissapoint me. There about as far from ruling a country as a computer can get.

  17. Xardas Kane says:

    Anybody else would like a grand strategy game set in the Antique? Or at least the actual Middle Ages, not just the Late Medieval period (e.g. from 500 onwards)? Just putting it out there, still looking very much forward to this game, especially after CK 2.

    • Archangel says:

      Sure, EU: Rome. It’s a bit more limited than EU3, but it actually has a few of the family-dynasty stuff from Crusader Kings in it. I like it quite a bit.

      • Xardas Kane says:

        And somehow it managed to stay under my radar. Kudos, mate, gonna sink my teeth into this one.

  18. Discopanda says:

    People pored over Sengoku?

  19. Jason Lefkowitz says:

    As someone who thought the graphics of the original release of EU3 were so bad as to make the game near-unplayable, I would just like to take a moment to commend Paradox on how far they’ve come since 2007 on that front. EU3′s expansions took its maps and units from “horrible looking” to “serviceable,” CK2′s are quite good, and EU4′s look to be gorgeous. I had serious doubts when EU3 first came out that they’d ever be able to make a 3D game as attractive as their 2D ones, but thankfully I was wrong.

  20. luukdeman111 says:

    Europa Universalis IV
    Total War: Rome 2
    XCOM: Enemy unknown
    Command and Conquer: Generals 2
    Company of Heroes 2
    Wargame: AirLand Battles

    Too many great strategy sequels to process!!!!

    • Xardas Kane says:

      But wait, strategy games were dying! XD

      You also forgot End of Nations btw.

  21. xaphoo says:

    While there may still be some eyeballs here, let me ask a question: I’ve never played any of these Paradox games but they seem like my kind of thing, being a late-medieval-Islamic-world-historian-in-training. What should I buy to get the whole experience, if I were just to buy one game? Europa Universalis 3, or Victoria, or Hearts of Iron, those Caesar games, or Crusader Kings? I’m leaning towards Crusader Kings since it appears universally loved, but I don’t know if I’ll be missing a large part of what makes the other games great… EU3 is also appealing…

    • Xardas Kane says:

      If you are interested in the late Medieval period, it’s a no-brainer – Crusar Kings 2. It’s also the most refined of them all in my opinion, although each has a different set of features corresponding to the period it’s set in.

      Just try the demo :)

    • Zwebbie says:

      @Xaphoo: Both EU3 and CKII are good all-rounder titles, I think, but I’d sooner recommend CKII to beginners; EU3 has gotten a lot of features over the years (and playing with vanilla isn’t really an option. It’s just too incomplete) and it’s easy to mess things up for yourself hundreds of years down the line by not building the correct buildings or not taking enough care of inflation. CKII can be as brutal in its punishment of players, but at least it’s all direct – it’ll take the form of an assassination or a big rebellion. It’s easy to make some beginner’s mistakes in the first ten years of the game, see your realm crumble, and start over (and this happens to everyone, these games aren’t meant to be won on your first try), whereas you might take a 100 years in Europa Universalis to notice that you’ve managed yourself into a corner. Crusader Kings is also a bit more appealing in the personal stories that it creates, although I’ve personally been disappointed by how rare these are compared to the amount of tedious micro-management – but that might just be me getting old.

      Victoria II isn’t one I’d recommend to someone new to Paradox games, since it’s a bit of a hit or miss. It’s an amazingly complex simulation and that can lead to some fascinating results (and I’ve played it most of these three games), but a lot of the game has been automatised. You’re influencing your nation more than controlling it, and it is, in a sense, a bit light on gameplay; certainly if you’re not familiar with all your options yet. The upside of that is that it’s nigh impossible to actually lose (moreso because rebels are never a threat and foreign powers aren’t as agressive as in the other games), so in that sense, it’s easier to play. I haven’t played the others myself, though I’ve played a demo for HoI3 and it’s bloody well harder than the others, and has a terrible tutorial.

      A word on the expansions: For EU3, you need them up to at least Heir to the Throne, Victoria II you can play vanilla, but it’s not recommended, and for CKII, Sword of Islam only allows you to play more dynasties, but you might as well put it off until you’ve seen if you like the game.

  22. cckerberos says:

    Good news. Although Europe is rightly the main focus of the game, I hope they spend a bit more time polishing the ROTW (Rest of the World) elements of the game. EU3 never felt like it really got Asia and the Americas right.

    Oh, and the naval aspects could do with an overhaul as well.

  23. pokket says:

    EU3 was the game that turned me on to Paradox and I have bought all of their recent games outside of Sengoku so far. Sure, they can be clunky, but hot damn are they some of the best strategy games on the market. First time I’ve ever cared about community and forums for a game as well. I love me some AAR’s. With the polished beauty that was CK2 I hope they’ve learned a lot and I can not wait to reunite Russia yet again… or establish the Cherokee as a global power when the Europeans arrive… or any of the numerous possibilities. I really hope they don’t get rid of the Casus Belli system and the history mechanic. I loved reading about the wars I was in.

  24. thek826 says:

    tbh, I don’t want an even more complex system than the more recent global strategy games (sorry I’m a bit of a noob when it comes to videogame terminology). I want some kind of a mix between EU3′s simplicity and CK’s/Victoria’s/HOI’s complexity. The reason I loved EU3 was that I was able to jump in without spending an entire save game (which takes like 10+ hours of gameplay) on just trying to figure out how the hell half the stuff in the game works.

  25. rhinweddol says:

    I enjoyed EU3, but wished i wouldnt have to conquer territories just to do something. I would enjoy more political abilities (ie if the govt is parliamentary democracy, i can’t just decide to invade another territory without getting approval from parliament, etc), judicial checks, and internal affairs (natural disasters, elections, etc). I wonder if this will be included – its still a year away. I also loaded the Rise of Nations Mod and it did away with terra incognito and pushed the timeline to 2020 and beyond with appropriate leaders of the time (which changed if you altered history). I tried to mod the mod to go earlier in time to 600 AD – it worked, however, the sprites were still 19th century. In the 21st century, the sprites were also 19th century without airplanes. I know that wasnt the original intention of the game, but i found it more enjoyable that way. I hope EU4 continues to have a user friendly (notepad/wordpad) text editor mod capabilities that allows users to handcraft their entertainment.

  26. TheDrowning321 says:

    i made an account just to say this: Ireland is spelt with an e between the r and the l whoever made that videos beginning (0:24)