Hello everybody, and welcome to the first development diary for Europa Universalis IV. We've been working on this project for quite a long time, with the first design dicussions starting not long after Divine Wind was released. During last year we spent a lot of time working on the design concepts, and late in 2011, the core team was assembled, and actual development started.
Earlier this month, we announced the game at Gamescom, and showed a minor subset of the features for the game. Today we start a series of weekly development diaries where we'll go into detail about the game. Our goal is to release an entry each friday, with breaks for holidays.
The subject of todays diary is 'Why do Europa Universalis IV and what is our goal with the game?'.
Why are we working on a sequel to Europa Universalis?
Well, first of all, the team we are all major fans of this series, with me personally being the core guy behind the original game, back in the late 90's, and the others being involved for quite a lot of time on it. We are a group who love playing EU, both in singleplayer and in multiplayer together, so you could definitely say it is the favorite series for the people working on Europa Universalis IV.
Originally EU1 started development in 1997, EU2 in 2001, EU3 started in 2005, so we were overdue a new take on the genre. During those years we've accumulated quite a lot of ideas, and discarded far more. We've come to understand what Europa Universalis is about for a lot of people, and what it means for ourselves.
One important thing though, is that while we had lots of cool and interesting ideas for EU, we simply couldn't just add them all in, as the game would become an unwieldly mass. EU has a complexity level we do not want to dramatically increase and while improving the interface can reduce it a fair bit, it is a very fine balance when it comes to designing a game.
So we took a step back and looked at what EU was and what we wanted to do, and since its a new game, we had quite a large amount of flexibility. We could rewrite entire systems from scratch, and do some paradigm shifts. One such example is the complete removal of the old trade system with centers of trade, which was replaced with a new trade system with dynamic flow of trade. This flexibility has been a great benefit when it comes to designing the game.
So then, what is our goal with Europa Universalis IV?
In all our games we aim to have believable mechanics. When playing a Grand Strategy game it should be about immersion and suspension of disbelief. You should feel like you are playing a country in the time period. This is something all our EU games have managed to achieve, and it is very important that EU4 will have that same feeling.
The game should, as we mentioned earlier, not increase its complexity levels dramatically. We are happy with the level of complexity the Eu-series has, and want to keep it at this level.
One of the most important aspects of EU4 is to make an interface that is both easier to get into, and less hassle for an expert user. This a fine line to balance, and we are rather happy with the interfaces we have done so far for EU4.
We also want to make sure that players feel that this is a new game, that this is worth paying money for, and this comes from new mechanics and better interfaces. With detailed dev-diaries every week until release, we are rather confident that you'll all be excited about it when its finally ready.
So, now we've just talked about history and visions, I'll try to clarify a confusion about sandbox, historical events and plausibility. Europa Universalis have always been about historically plausible outcomes, as I mentioned over six years ago , and EU4 is no different in that regard. No determenism or full sandbox will ever be in the EU series. In EU3 we scrapped historical events and added lots and lots of system and mechanics to create more plausible gameplay. While we are continuing on that concept and keep making more plausible mechanics, we are in EU4 doing something new...
We'e adding in Dynamic Historical Events. We'll have more of those than we had historical in EU2, and together with a fair amount of other planned features, this is creating an even more immersive type of gameplay, where countries feel far more unique than they did in any previous game in the series. A 'dynamic historical event', or DHE for short, is an event that has some rather rigid triggers that they feel plausible to happen with, ie, no Spanish Bankruptcy just because its a certain date, but events that tie into mechanics rather heavily.
The example I want to talk about is War of the Roses for England. At any point of time, before 1500, if England lacks an heir, then the chain for War of the Roses can start, which creates a lot of interesting situations for the player, as well as giving unique historical immersion.
Next week we'll talk more about the map, so enjoy for now!