I am genuinely surprised by which game sold best on Steam last week (previous weeks here, btw). PC gaming remains beautifully unpredictable, doesn’t it?
Paradox today released Hearts of Iron IV [official site], the latest in their awfully serious grand strategy series. It’s a World War II game, sure, but it’s unlikely to play out the way you’ve seen in so many games before. As is the grand strategy way, Hearts of Iron IV puts players in command of any nation in the world, rewriting history as they try to survive the turbulent time – and onwards. Yeah, good luck pal.
Adam has been jumping up and down and screaming about Paradox’s brand new strategy game Stellaris, but we’ve neglected to mention that the one of their classics has a new game right around the corner. Hearts of Iron IV [official site], the next in the World War II grand strategy series, will launch on June 6th. So now here’s a new video developer diary to explain a little about warring by land, sea, and air.
“It’ll be over by Christmas,” Hearts of Iron IV [official site] thinks to itself as the engineers at Paradox fiddle with its guts. “They’ll send me home via Steam-tube, rather than back to the frontlines of testing and development.”
No such luck. The World War II grand strategy game is due to spend another Christmas in development. That’s good news for us though because it represents a commitment to the cause. Rather than dashing for release while the shells are still falling, Hearts of Iron is standing firm. The last time I played, in a huge multiplayer session, there were several interface and balance issues in need of attention. That’s exactly what they’re getting – I spoke to Paradox at Gamescom and they told me how things stand.
RPS Feature Ferric Oxide
The first time I moved to the unsteady beat of Hearts of Iron IV [official site], I played as Germany and managed to avoid the catastrophe of World War II by fudging my initial invasion plans so badly that the French were preparing to march on Berlin by 1938. France, like every other nation, had been controlled by the AI.
This time around, I played two games. Two games in a world populated by around twenty human players, controlling all of the major powers and some minor players. The first time around, I was outside the main theater, attempting to transform Brazil into a major trading power. When that world tore itself apart, I picked Japan in a draft and set about taming the Russian Bear with a little help from my friends.
RPS Feature Five Plans For a More Peaceful Nazi Germany
Hearts of Iron [official site] is the one Paradox grand strategy series that I’ve been unable to befriend. Partly that’s because it’s a more guided experience, a game about a specific war rather than a historical sandbox and it’s partly because of the micromanagement involved in production and resource chains. Hearts of Iron IV might change that, with its cleverly streamlined factory operations and improved minor nations. More on that later this week.
First of all, I wanted to discuss the difficulty of playing the bad guys.
RPS Feature The best laid plans
Hearts of Iron [official site] is my Moby Dick. I’ve spent an inordinate portion of my adult life playing grand strategy games, particularly those of the Paradox variety. I’m slightly unusual in that Europa Universalis wasn’t my gateway game – I entered the fold by means of the first Crusader Kings, which swiftly became one of my favourite games, despite its problems. From there I moved to Europa Universalis II and struggled to infiltrate the colonial powers of Victoria. It wasn’t until the sequel that I learned to enjoy the nineteenth century.
Hearts of Iron IV might finally bring me into the heart of the twentieth century.
In the distant year of January 2014, I saw an early version of Hearts of Iron IV at the annual Paradox convention. It was one of the games that I was most interested to see because of the four Paradox grand strategy series (Europa, Crusader Kings and Victoria being the others), the World War II simulation HOI is the one I’ve never quite managed to get to grips with. In fact, I have about as strong a grip on it as I do on a family of eels in a bucket of caviar. Or a MOBA. The military emphasis doesn’t fit with my usual strategic styles of play and I fear the micromanagement. How pleasing, then, that the latest entry combines streamlined production and an equisite battle planning system, which you can glimpse in the trailer below.
My internet connection during the Paradox Convention was about as spotty as Superted’s best chum, forcing me to return with a satchel full of hand-written notes. There’s still plenty to write about, not least my dangerous new Wizard Wars obsession, but buried at the bottom of my inky papers are six pages of scribbles about Hearts of Iron IV. As the latest representative of the one Paradox grand strategy series that I’ve consistently failed to penetrate, HOI IV is an exciting prospect for several reasons. EU IV and CK II are the friendliest incarnations of their respective series to date, and while HOI IV isn’t due until 2015, early signs are promising. At the heart of the Hearts is the most attractive map Paradox have ever produced and a new battle plan system that allows players to evade micromanagement if they so choose.