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Europa Universalis IV's next expansion will power up the Pope


Paradox Interactive have formally announced the next Europa Universalis IV expansion, named Emperor. It will bring new powers for the Pope, livelier revolutions, some troubling incidents for the Holy Roman Empire, and more. And as is customary for Paradox strategy games, the expansion will be accompanied by a free update overhauling bits and pieces.

"Emperor focuses on improving the game experience for European nations, adding greater depth for the Catholic states and a more energetic and interactive Holy Roman Empire," Paradox blast in the blurb. "Revolutions spread like wildfire, demanding action from kingdoms that don’t want to be swept up in the feverish calls for reform. Old mechanics are reinterpreted and new options are available on a freshly redrawn map of the continent."

It's a lot more complex than that, of course. For over a year, Paradox have been posting dev diaries about Emperor (initially referred to as just the "European expansion) and the accompanying patch. These detail changes for update 1.30 including improved scaling for megahigh-resolution monitors, an overhaul of the mercenary system, and improving the AI's understanding of the economy.

Having been raised around Catholicism, it's weird to hear this ancient blast of pomp, ceremony, and politics has been a bit bland in EU4. As this dev diary explained:

"In terms of gameplay, Catholicism is widely considered a poor choice of religion. If you are not the Curia Controller, it is a very weak religion, and if you are the Curia Controller, then it's a strange state where you actually want there to be as few other Catholics as possible so that you can hoard this power for yourself. Add to this the fact that the Pope himself is, by and large, just treated as another country, and not the mighty head of a faith that he deserves to be . . .

"When it comes to flavour, Catholicism has far been left in the lurch in terms of interesting content when compared to pretty much all other forms of Christianity.

"Catholicism is one of the main focuses, fittingly for this European expansion and update. In a nutshell we want to empower Catholicism against the already tantalising Protestantism, such that union between the Catholic faith adds to its strength, where the Pope and/or Curia Controller himself can take action in favour of the entire faith (or potentially lining their own filthy pockets) and take action in response to the growing threat posed by the reformation. Currently, Reform Desire does little outside of igniting the reformation, we would like to make the mechanic more engaging for Pope and Catholics alike, such that they are incentivised to combat or grant concessions against the rift."

At the very least, I'd want to arm troops with censers repurposed as flails and meteor hammers spreading sweet clouds of incense while they burst heads. That's just Warhammer 40,000 though, isn't it?

Emperor is due to launch sometime this year through Steam and Paradox's store. I wonder if Paradox will have made a decision around their experiment with a subscription service including all expansions by then.

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