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HoI4 Dev Diary - France Rework

Bonjour! Today we will be talking about the upcoming rework of the French focus tree. At this point in development, not all the art is in, so some of the things you’ll see are still work in progress.

We are well aware that the France Focus Tree currently in the game is perhaps not the worst of the remaining vanilla trees, but we believe that reworking France allows us to better integrate some of the new features coming in the upcoming DLC. For that reason we have decided to split “the French Experience” (™ pending) across three weeks. Today we cover the base tree, next week we will be looking at the reowrk of the resistance and occupation system, and in two weeks we return to take a look at Free France and Vichy.

french_tree.jpg



While the basic French Focus Tree was good, we wanted to improve on it a bit. Specifically, a France that survived past about 1941 would find itself entirely out of focuses, so the new focus tree would have to be deeper. In addition, we wanted to have a more accurate representation of the many issues that impacted French policy-making in the period, and to have decisions you make come back to haunt you (“Short-term solutions cause long-term problems”).

We also wanted to give proper representation to the unusual state of affairs that existed between the Vichy government and the Fighting French under de Gaulle, but you’ll have to wait for a bit longer to see just what we have in store for them.

The French tree as it is currently in the game represents fairly well what has become the unofficial focus tree design philosophy: Separate branches for industry, the armed forces, politics and alternate ideologies. So the base structure should still look familiar.

image (5).png


The Industry branch has been expanded by a system that I, in all humility, consider to be pretty clever: the “Invest in…” focuses give you building slots in a number of states in the area, with later focuses adding factories into each of the states previously invested in. That means the longer you wait in pulling the trigger on the Colonial/Civilian/Military Industry focuses, the bigger the payoff - but it comes later in the game. If you take all the investment focuses, you can get a whopping 18 civilian factories and 14 military factories in just three focuses (numbers are, of course, absolutely, 100%, final and won’t ever be changed for any reason).

In the political sphere, we decided not to introduce a fully new gameplay mechanic for France when we already have a perfectly functional stability and war support system that works fairly well in representing the internal politics of the Third Republic. To put it simply, you will have to tread a narrow line between raising your stability by lowering your war support and raising your war support by lowering your stability. Should your stability drop below 25% for too long, a civil war breaks out. To make matters worse, you have to contend with far-right and far-left groups taking to the streets in anger if you make decisions that they disagree with, potentially lowering your stability even further. You can ban these groups - at a stability penalty depending on their relative popularity, which might be difficult to recover from.

The threat of civil war is removed when you go to war with another country, and the political violence stops if you can get stability above 70% but it returns if stability drops below 50% without political action being taken to remove the causes.

And if all that wasn’t enough, France suffers from rather significant issues with manpower. The gruelling losses of the Great War had demographic effects down the line - fewer Frenchmen meaning fewer children being born, meaning fewer men reaching military age some 20 years after the war ended. This is represented by a national spirit reducing your recruitable population factor. Simply increasing your recruitment laws won’t save you, since you are now pulling workers away from their workbenches, causing a severe production penalty. You will have different ways of dealing with this issue, but expanding the citizenship and encouraging immigration might not be welcomed by everyone (the timescale of the game means you can’t make up the shortfall through new family policies).

image (6).png


In better news, France will have a slightly bigger industrial base to play with to balance out these factors. The new diplomacy branch will also allow you to not just invite countries to the Little Entente, but to also invest in them and grant them some military factories, and later invite Britain and the Commonwealth to join your faction. It also allows you to exchange guarantees with the Soviets, or try to form a common faction with Italy. The so-called Stresa Front was already pretty much over and done in 1936, due to differences in opinion between Britain, France and Italy about the Italian-Ethopian border (mostly because Italy believed it shouldn’t exist). To revive that alliance, you’ll have to make some concessions and hand over some territory to Italy. If you can convince Britain to back you, it will make Italy even more likely to join you.

All ideologies get the option to intervene in the Spanish Civil War, but as you might expect for such a historically contentious topic, it comes with a stability penalty, which, in the worst case, can tip you over the edge into your own civil war.

Should you, for reasons passing understanding, not want to experience the historically accurate French experience, we have greatly deepened the alt-history focus trees. Starting with the formation of the Popular Front under Leon Blum (no relation), you can choose to invite the communists to the government (instead of simply having them tolerate you). From there you go on to implement more of the communist agenda, such as legal equality for women, economic centralization and propaganda to prepare the population for the inevitable revolution (we are, after all, talking about France). After you have forced the issue by essentially breaking up the temporary alliance with more moderate forces and having communists take power directly.

After the revolution you essentially have three choices: You can either dial back the revolutionary vigor and try to reconcile with the rest of the country to pursue a broad-front approach to fighting fascism, or you can double down and decide to spread the revolution by any means necessary. Some of the stuff in this tree dips into some new mechanics which aren’t quite ready yet.

Screenshot_48.jpg


On the other side of the tree, you can either opt for a more conservative approach in the 1936 parliamentary elections, making Pierre Laval the Prime Minister of France. Much like with the Popular Front, you can stay democratic and reform the country with a more market-liberal approach, or you can forge an alliance with the far-right elements and topple the republican government to start the “National Regeneration”, imagined as a less radical version of the National Revolution attempted by the Vichy government. Once the disgustingly republican form of government is removed, you can choose between two main branches.

One, under Francois de la Rocque, has you form a Latin Entente with Spain, Portugal and Italy and later split up Africa into zones of control, with France taking most of the west and Italy taking the east of the continent. With de la Rocque representing a more independent version of an authoritarian France (whether or not he was a bona-fide fascist can certainly be debated, that he has the kind of military background and authoritarian mindset that other fascists had is, I believe, less controversial), the other branch is lead by Jacques Doriot, and entails coming to an understanding with fascist Germany. After agreeing to split the low countries between you and joining the axis, you can put some pressure on Belgium. You can either anschluss Wallonia or force the entirety of Belgium to become your puppet. Once this is accomplished, you remind them that puppets don’t get to have colonial territories right next to their master’s. Beyond this, you mostly tag along with the German strategy by opening up a second front in North Africa.

Finally, there are the Monarchists. French monarchism at the time was closely related to the political far-right (being anti-republican made the idea of a monarchy a logical rallying point), so it makes sense that they spin off from the reactionary branch. The idea behind this branch is that the continued political turmoil in the Republic, represented by continuously low stability (you have to be below 35% stability to take the first focus) has so disillusioned people that the time has come for a return to the kind of stable leadership a monarch provides. As such, you don’t immediately select a king - you first create the groundwork for a return to the monarchy by repealing the Law of Exile (which banned any pretender to the throne, or their heir, from setting foot on French soil) before picking one of three candidates (because having only one pretender is for the Boche!).

image (7).png


The Orleanist candidate was perhaps the most moderate of the pretenders, ruling largely along the lines of a constitutional monarchy. As such, you focus heavily on social welfare and containing fascism - ironically, one of the first acts is to inform the arch-reactionary Action Francaise that they have served their purpose and will now no longer be needed. On the other end, the Bonapartist candidate has an ambitious program of reshuffling the borders of Europe and restore the family name. In the middle between the two are the Legitimists, which is a faction that split from the Orleanists in 1830 and which maintains that the Orleanist heir is not, in fact, the legitimate pretender to the throne. Through a number of dynastic events, the legitimate pretender to the throne of France, according to the Legitimists, is none other than the previously deposed King of Spain. As such, the obvious goal is to restore both his crowns to him, and potentially unite the two realms of France and Spain into a double monarchy (because that worked out so well for Austria-Hungary and Denmark-Norway).

Since the current French focus tree already has some (short) alternate ideology branches, these old branches will still be present if you don’t have the DLC, and replace the branches starting with “Invite Communist Ministers” and “Utilize the Leagues”, respectively.

Screenshot_49.jpg


Finally, we also spent some time making sure France has the full lineup of design companies and some options in terms of naval designers.

That’s all for today. Next week we will talk about the rework of the Resistance and Occupation system coming with 1.8!
 
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orochi2k

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:confused: Well, I guess rework of the Resistance and Occupation system may indeed help Allies to launch D-Day.... at least cause some trouble to Germany.
 

Magnificent Genius

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Vive le Emperor!
 

Einstein2004113

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So will we get different focuses for both Vichy and Free France ?

Also, there is a mistake in one of the focuses, Déluge is masculine so it's "Je suis le Déluge"
 

podcat

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CameraGenie

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That´s a pretty huge tree with a lot of options. Will some focuses get time reduction (from 70 to 35 days for an example)?

EDIT:And did i just see ARMORED CAR Designer? What are you planning, Paradox?
Yeah this seems like it's going to have the same problem as the Dutch focus tree where you cant complete even half of what you want in time for the war.
 

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That´s a pretty huge tree with a lot of options. Will some focuses get time reduction (from 70 to 35 days for an example)?

EDIT:And did i just see ARMORED CAR Designer? What are you planning, Paradox?
 

podcat

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Yeah this seems like it's going to have the same problem as the Dutch focus tree where you cant complete even half of what you want in time for the war.
well part of strategic choices is that you cant have everything you want, you need to pick whats most prioritized at the moment.
If you notice the industrial tree on the left that Gabriel talks about - that one you can go through kinda fast, or you can do it all, and not have time for much else. So part of the strategy is to weigh your options. It also gives you some replayability to test different approaches.
 

Darth_Siddius

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OK, so I was right with the partisans being the new gameplay mechanics :)

And I have to say: Well done! This Focus tree looks really fleshed out, really wants me to play France for once :D

But now I wonder: If we unite both crowns, Spain and France, and the "Legitimate Heir" is King Alfonso XIII, wouldn't it then be logical if France becomes part of Spain? So does that mean.... SPANISH FOCUS TREE? :eek::eek::eek:

But like I said, good work, looking forward to the next diaries!
 

Aronw

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All ideologies get the option to intervene in the Spanish Civil War, but as you might expect for such a historically contentious topic, it comes with a stability penalty, which, in the worst case, can tip you over the edge into your own civil war.
Didn't France do this before;) I mean, civil wars and revolutions aren't that different.
 

Tecrinarep

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I am very excited about this, can't wait to play with this tree. I noticed a typo in the rearmament tree, "fusiliers marine" does not make sens, you could either say "Fusiliers marins" or "Infanterie de marine", the second one being more accurate. Fusiliers marins depends from the Navy are soldiers embarked on ships to defend them, among them are the "commando marine", they're special forces are their name indicates. The Infanterie de marine is a branch of the Land Army and were historically meant to fight in the colonies. They are closer to what the game calls "marine infantry", even if the French Army never really invested in amphibious infantry.

In the industrial investments, you should say "support the Grandes Ecoles" (plural), the Grandes Ecoles are part of the French higher education system, along universities, and are meant to form elite engineers and administrators.

The exact name for the "National research center" is "National Center for scientific research".

"Je suis la déluge" should be masculine: "LE déluge". "Anti-fascists emigrants" doesn't make sense, "immigrants" would be correct.
 
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kimidf

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In the background this French rework is fine but it is a disappointment that there is no mention of the foreign legion in the same way the absence rangers in the American tree and the colonial issue also of quite wishing that it only contributes improves conditions but nothing in the political issue