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First Victoria 3 gameplay shows the strategy game in action as a "deep social simulation"

A hundred years is a long time in politics

There was a lot going on in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and Paradox's grand strategy game Victoria III aims to simulate pretty much all of it, starting in 1836 and giving you a century to play with. A big selling point is that every inhabitant of your nation is simulated, from lowly farmer to high rolling capitalist, each having preferences and beliefs. Balancing the political needs of your state against diplomacy, economy and, you know, war, will take a lot of wrangling of lists, menus and percentages, which you can see in the new gameplay trailer debuted at the PC Gaming Show.

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As with extremely complicated grand strategy games of this ilk, you can play as one of many nations that were knocking about at that time, not just Great Britain (as may be implied by the title). The trailer emphasises the importance of politics, and how this interacts with the economy of your state - and vice versa. Different political factions are managed with laws; you could choose to be a great reformer, improving the general quality of life for your citizens. Or you could be not that.

As you grow, dipping your toe into importation and exportation, as well as international diplomacy - or lack thereof, depending on your preferences - you'll see the map change. The industrial era brings with it new railways and rapid growth, among other things. Those of you who bloody love complex plate spinning and different coloured overlays on maps are probably sweaty and loosening your collars at the sight of that trailer.

With this time period comes the elephant in the room of colonialism, although it's an elephant that Paradox are actually talking about quite a lot. About a year ago Nate had a chat with game director Martin Anward and game designer Mikael Andersson, where they talked about different ways to play the game and changes to the system from Victoria II that don't sugarcoat colonialism, but are trying to be more thoughtful about it. In September we got a dev diary detailing how the game will approach slavery ("extremely carefully, is the answer," noted Graham). Paradox are thinking about these things, although how they actually end is always another thing, isn't it?

Still no precise release date for Victoria III beyond "later this year", anyway, although you can wishlist it on Steam. Paradox, meanwhile, are having a few issues with games that are out now, nevermind the ones releasing in future. Several recent DLC releases for their big strategy games have been pretty buggy. The game director for Overlord, most recent DLC for Stellaris, even apologised for the state it was in. Ouch. I mean, we may not all be thinking it, but "every citizen in your nation is simulated" doesn't make bugs any easier to avoid...

Not E3 2022 is in full-swing - see everything in our E3 2022 hub, as well as our complete round-up of everything announced at Summer Game Fest 2022. Many more big game showcases and streams are still to come this summer, so make sure you stay up to date with our summer games stream schedule.

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Alice Bell

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Small person powered by tea and books; RPS's dep ed since 2018. Send her etymological facts and cool horror or puzzle games.