Hearts of Iron IV: Waking the Tiger marches out in March

‘Waking the Tiger’ is not a ho-ho-hilarious euphemism for onanism, unless you want it to be, but rather the next Hearts of Iron IV expansion. It’ll focus on making China more unique in the WW2 grand strategy game, complete with several possible political paths the country might have gone down, along with expanding other systems in the game. Paradox are taking their time with this one as, after announcing Waking the Tiger way back in November 2017, they today announced plans to release it on March 8. For now, here’s a new dev video going over some of its additions:

Paradox have been writing a string of developer diaries explaining features in Waking the Tiger and the free update, patch 1.5 (codenamed ‘Cornflakes’), that will accompany it. These cover the three new National Focuses for China–Nationalist, Communist, and Manchukuo–along with improved German focus trees, a big new focus tree for Japan, and loads more. Get stuck in if you’re curious.

Waking the Tiger will cost £15.49/$19.99 when it hits Steam on March 8th. Paradox tend to keep a fairly tight schedule for expansions so I’m surprised that this is coming so late, 113 days after its announcement. For comparison, the next expansion for Paradox’s sci-fi strategy game Stellaris will launch 42 days after its announcement (that’ll be on February 22nd by the way, stargazers).

I don’t play HoI myself but, comparing it to other strategy games I do know, its expansions always seem a little small and unexciting? I suppose WW2 doesn’t support adding big exciting newness like planet-destroying weapons, black magic, factions of assimilating sentient machines, or the black death. Sound off, armchair generals.


  1. MrUnimport says:

    In response to that last remark in the article:

    I’ve only dabbled in strategy games here and there, and I played HOI4 very, very briefly, but I’m ready to declare that I don’t quite get it. It seems like an awkward hybrid of game and simulator without the benefits of either. You can reenact the events leading up to WW2… with the benefit of foresight, which means you get to ramp up to full-on war production while most of Europe is still trying to work out if there is going to be a war at all. You can pursue one side or another of your National Focus Tree, which feels like a set of checkboxes to fill out, one after another, half tech tree and half objective list, which doesn’t give you much of a feeling of changing the world. Diplomacy boils down to who will make war with or against you, internal politics boils down to whether you, the player, would prefer to be democratic, fascist, or royalist, with the attendant stat bonuses and penalties.

    I have to admit that my understanding of the game is preliminary and my appreciation for the time period does not run as deep as other people’s, but when my friend showed me the ropes it consisted mostly of maxing out production as soon as possible and the game periodically telling me that history was being made through pop-ups and changes of in-game names, rather than in any kind of living sense. If I were less charitable I would call it wish fulfillment for alt-history enthusiasts.

    tl;dr it’s an awkward blend of player freedom and historical authenticity that undermines both, and dry, dry, so very dry.

    • Grizzly says:

      I quite like the alt-history aspects, but there’s not much I can say to refute your statements. However, most of the diplomacy, national foci, and related stuff is simply a prelude to war. A significant part of that system is being overhauled to be more dynamic, but it doesn’t seem as if that fundementally changes.

      The meat of the game is still in fighting the war, by making strategic choices about manufacturing, training, deployment, and manoeuvring. It’s far more war-focused then any of it’s Paradox siblings in that regard. Europa Universalis has armies being depleted in battles over single provinces. In Hearts of Iron, the battle ranges constantly across an entire border (and indeed, for most of the game), making it the only game that really translates the totality of the world wars.

    • morganjah says:

      I totally agree, but will add that the Kaiser-Reich mod makes the first part of the game much, much, much more interesting to me. It seems as if I am being funneled into a three sided factional global war again, but the first few years were a blast.

    • Vasily R says:

      I don’t really disagree with anything you said, however I think you’re missing the point of the game. Yes, the diplomacy, economy, and internal politics are very basic. But this is a war game. HOI4 does the warfare side of things better than any other Paradox game, as that’s the focus of the game. I would like to see them expand on the economy, internal politics, diplomacy, and even add some espionage. However, those should always be secondary to great war gameplay.

    • Vilos Cohaagen says:

      @MrUnimport your experience matches my own. As a (crap) veteran with thousands of hours in CK2 and EU4 I bounced off HOI4 surprisingly hard with a similar experience to yours. One thing I struggled with was that I have zero interest, nay even aversion to playing Nazi Germany, Facist Italy, or Axis Japan, so I was surprised when the tutorial opted for making me play Italy. I could have got past that but it felt so dry to me and the alternative histories from this period don’t interest me much. I guess I really want a new Victoria 3.

    • Aetylus says:

      A fairly accurate description MrUnimport. But if you HAVE played a lot of strategy games, then HOI4 (and everything by PDS) is a beautifully awkward blend of player freedom and historical authenticity that accentuates both with its deep, delicious, unique dryness.

    • Someoldguy says:

      HoI has always been a wargame with extra bells and whistles rather than a world grand strategy game like the other core Paradox titles. WW II is going to happen and you have to work very hard not to have it between the historical group of nations. I enjoyed HoI1 because it didn’t try too hard to put you in a historical straitjacket but the more recent and more complex versions have left me dissatisfied. Partly because added complexity has made the AI poorer.

      The last time I tried HoI the AI was still launching suicidal amphibious invasions that gained them nothing. Militarily the game is quite open to some ahistorical activity. Meanwhile on the tech front it ruthlessly tries to enforce the historical timeline as being the best scientific progress that could have been made when in many cases we know this is not true and foolish decisions were made that delayed the adoption of some technologies for years. This element I find very tedious and constraining, but presumably they feel it necessary for multiplayer.

      I find it really hard to justify spending more than a couple of pounds on each DLC that boasts it expands options for some minor actors who I will probably never play. In the past many of the best elements (like new policy trees) have been offered as mods before Paradox have issued their official version anyway.

    • Smaug says:

      It’s a beautiful WW2 “What if?” alt history generator with excellent modding support.

      Shoutout to: Kaiserreich: Legacy of Weltkrieg “What if Germany had won WWI”.

  2. Grizzly says:

    To me, at the least, the proper fleshing out of the Chinese Civil War, with all it’s players (including the Warlords, which can contest with Communist or National China for leadership or go their own path) is highly interesting. The previous expansions did make their own respective countries more interesting to play as, but little beyond that. Eventually you still end up in a Second World War. The Chinese Civil War is more of a conflict-within-a-conflict with it’s own unique mechanics.

  3. Rince says:

    I’m waiting for the expansion which gives the Nazis jetpacks, powered armors, UFOs, zombies and Mecha-Hitler!

  4. TheAngriestHobo says:

    ‘Waking the Tiger’ is not a ho-ho-hilarious euphemism for onanism, unless you want it to be

    I’ll never listen to “Eye of the Tiger” the same way ever again.

    • Aetylus says:

      I read a new word today.
      So I googled the new word.
      I sure do regret that.

    • andynamic says:

      You had to do this, right? “Eye of the tiger” was my ultimative motivation song … not anymore.

      Thanks a lot!

  5. pookie101 says:

    Hey if Crusader kings 2 can let me birth the anti christ (Literally) While the Aztec empire is invading England they should go nuts with a few expansions :D

  6. Vasily R says:

    I’m really looking forward to this DLC and the accompanying patch. It looks like it’ll be first the first good DLC we’ve gotten since HOI4’s launch a year and a half ago.

  7. mariandavid says:

    Most people who play the game are doing so for the combat which it does better than any other game operating at such an immense scale (world wide, units down to individual submarines, ships and brigades) and also a highly detailed (excessively so?) economic system. It does have an immersive diplomatic system but that is submerged in the national focus concept which also embodies complex political and military judgements. Its weakness(s) are not the lack of something in the game but in the somewhat feeble (if improving AI) and the extreme detail that the game sometimes descends into.