Hearts of Iron 4. In its modern state, should have had an earlier start date.

  • We have updated our Community Code of Conduct. Please read through the new rules for the forum that are an integral part of Paradox Interactive’s User Agreement.
but does HOI need to be more than "just" a WWII simulator?

maybe there's a reason why trying to make Cold War geopolitics sim HOI didn't work
Multiple delays led to a choice, either sink more money in the project and hope for the best, or cut their losses and move on. They took the latter option.

The reasons for the delays? Your guess is as good as mine. But if I had to guess, I'd say it was kind of too much work to change the focus of the game after the fact (from war to diplomacy) and make it playable in a reasonable amount of time. And HoI4 was entering active development during that time, so I can see why releasing a HoI3 based game together with HoI4 might not have been the best idea.

Obviously, if a game were to be made with both warfare and diplomacy in mind? Built around both ideas from scratch? That could work actually, and it's not like people aren't interested in that time period. That, and it's the only historical time period not covered by PDX (aside from a modern setting; we jump straight from WW2 to Sci-Fi.

Be it as it may, the publisher isn't inherently disinterested in a Cold War setting, so the hope is not lost. If that hope ever becomes reality remains to be seen. Not very likely, but the chance is not zero.
 
  • 2
Reactions:
It's a good question and it comes up often on the forums. I've a few thoughts:
  • HoI is a WWII game first and foremost
  • On historical, WWII runs for 6 years from 1939-1945, but in practice it's much shorter. So let's say WWII runs for 4 years on average. From 1936-1943 that's 50% of the game (4/8 years). But starting at 1933, WWII is ~36% of the game. You can quibble with the numbers, but the point is that an earlier start date will make WWII a smaller part of a WWII game.
  • The nature of the game is that early actions snowball. Civs build more Civs. Conquest enables more conquerst. To balance the snowballing, more restrictions will need to be placed on the player early in the game. Restrictions can be fun, but they're hard to get right.
  • If the problem is that countries like the Ottomans take too long to get going, a more straightforward solution might be to simply reduce the length of their focuses rather than expand the game's timeline.
  • The earlier the start date, the more that players will spend the pre-war build up asking "When are we going to get to the fireworks factory?"
 
  • 2
  • 1Like
  • 1
Reactions:
You have to remember that while moving the start date might allow nation X to model your preferred historical event(s), that doesn't mean it'll be a good date for everyone else.

1936 is a good compromise which allows every nation to build and do something in roughly the same time. If you extend back to, say, 1920 to model some of the Weimar Republic, Germany might have some engaging gameplay, but British Malaya wouldn't have much to do beyond some rather boring decentralisation....
 
  • 3Like
Reactions:
I like the buildup and country management aspects of HOI4 as much or more than I like moving units around on a map. Expanding the time period is exactly my sort of fun.

I'd honestly like to see it expanded into more of a "Wars of the 20th century" game that encompasses WW1, the interwar period, and the Cold War. I think it is possible...they'd just need to figure out a way to counter the constant exponential industrial growth that messes up the late game as it is.


There are a few mods that aspire to do this, but without great success. Paradox would do a better job of it.
 
  • 3Like
Reactions:
I think it is due to that sandbox character that game has today . I think it should start in 33 . Which I think the rigth time due to the coming power that year of both Hitler and F.D. Roosevelt .

I think they could do and i would like to reelase a similar dlc that they did back in the day for HOI 2 , that would increase the timing or the game a litlle and cover the post - war and early cold war period such as Armmageddon or Abyss dlcs in the style that road 56 has .
 
  • 2
  • 1Like
Reactions:
I like the buildup and country management aspects of HOI4 as much or more than I like moving units around on a map. Expanding the time period is exactly my sort of fun.

I'd honestly like to see it expanded into more of a "Wars of the 20th century" game that encompasses WW1, the interwar period, and the Cold War. I think it is possible...they'd just need to figure out a way to counter the constant exponential industrial growth that messes up the late game as it is.


There are a few mods that aspire to do this, but without great success. Paradox would do a better job of it.
I'd like that, but the problem is, you'd need extreme railroading. WWII wouldn't happen in any recognizable shape *or* time if WWI ends differently. If the Soviet Union doesn't get formed during WWI or doesn't survive WWII, the cold war doesn't make any sense. If you enjoy "gardening" your nation, Victoria 3 is supposed to be your game; however, that game is very limited currently.
 
I'd like that, but the problem is, you'd need extreme railroading. WWII wouldn't happen in any recognizable shape *or* time if WWI ends differently. If the Soviet Union doesn't get formed during WWI or doesn't survive WWII, the cold war doesn't make any sense. If you enjoy "gardening" your nation, Victoria 3 is supposed to be your game; however, that game is very limited currently.
On the topic of what they are suggesting I don't think you'd need to railroad it, three starts in each period, and if you start at the earliest have each period break down into a 'powderkeg' period of 'explosive' alliances in the west and expansionism in the east, a 'revanchanist' period wherein the countries that just got stuff handed to them in the previous period have political revolutions and revanchists tendencies and a 'Cold war' period where nuclear war makes it so the countries and mega blocs coming out of the last period will do anything they can to get more land and allies while trying to avoid a nuclear engagement.

EU4 is a good example of a game that uses it's internal systems to push emerging nations to mirror IRL equivalents over long periods of time without specific railroading.
 
  • 1Like
Reactions:
On the topic of what they are suggesting I don't think you'd need to railroad it, three starts in each period, and if you start at the earliest have each period break down into a 'powderkeg' period of 'explosive' alliances in the west and expansionism in the east, a 'revanchanist' period wherein the countries that just got stuff handed to them in the previous period have political revolutions and revanchists tendencies and a 'Cold war' period where nuclear war makes it so the countries and mega blocs coming out of the last period will do anything they can to get more land and allies while trying to avoid a nuclear engagement.

EU4 is a good example of a game that uses it's internal systems to push emerging nations to mirror IRL equivalents over long periods of time without specific railroading.
That might work, but it still feels like it would be extremely difficult to write "believable"/plausible/engaging content for such a game, once it's left the path of history. Or if there was nation - specific content, it would feel weirdly disjointed, kinda like HOI4 on ahistoric, stuff happening due to content that doesn't fit in the game world anymore, bc history diverged.
This is all just speculation and opinion, though, and I'd love to be proven wrong. :)
 
diplomacy is boring, if i was to play such games i must return to sim city.
depends how implemented. in a war game like this, diplo mostly means how you + ai choose who to fight and having more than one option/way for war to end (plus faction system and any changes to it).

it doesn't need to be as complex as eu 4 for example, since it fits a different scope. however, it's more or less a missing feature of the game right now that is instead being (poorly) covered by focus war goals and bizarre faction join interactions. for example, if you want to make it happen in "historical ironman", you can make france and italy both join the chinese united front, and you can do this as almost anybody, even nations like colombia, haiti, or liberia. all you have to do is declare on both them and china before they join another faction and bam, cuf goes wild. and so do the french and italian units, trying to reach china. this is incredibly disruptive for how nonsensical it is, and it's possible because of the way focuses and factions are designed right now. i haven't tried but it wouldn't surprise me if you could put usa into cuf or even axis too if you want, or even get a historical democratic usa to join japan.

hoi 4 doesn't have to become sim city or settlers of catan in order to address those kinds of interactions.

also this. people who play HOI do so to move tanks and soldiers around. I see no point in alienating the core audience
agreed, which is why toxic focuses and events that take land w/o the nation losing it being able to say "nope, fight me for it" are bizarre. you need to study outside the game or spend dozens to hundreds of hours on trial and error gameplay to avoid all the random garbage unmodded hoi 4 has where it will take land from you w/o you having the option to fight for it, one way or another. occupying bessarabia while fighting romania? romania can hand that to ussr and you're exiled. third party peace conference? somehow it's valid to demand land from a nation not even part of the peace conference. sino-japanese white peace? no check for whether japan is independent or who is even controlling korea, so a subject can forcibly give away land. the list goes on and on.

the game also tells you when a nation is justifying (even when that makes no sense like pearl harbor). until it doesn't, and the ai just declares out of nowhere with no notification in advance because it got focus wargoals on some ahistorical path on territory the game wasn't expecting you to control but rather some other country.

as eaw and owb modders prove, good designers can mostly prevent these interactions within the confines of current hoi 4 mechanics. however, both of those mods sacrifice faction joining "logic" to do it, and a decent number of these issues above and more would be easier to solve with very basic diplo implementations.

hoi 4 isn't a game about diplo, but diplo is still how nations decide to fight. the game has gone so far as to leave a completely non-functional button for almost 8 years now lol.
 
  • 3
Reactions:
While I'm not fundamentally opposed to an earlier start date, I've never heard a satisfactory idea on how to stop the player from snowballing out of control with 3 extra years of buildup.

If PDX is going to put more work into start dates then work more on the 39 start for people who don't want any ahistoricity in their game at all.
 
  • 1
Reactions:
depends how implemented. in a war game like this, diplo mostly means how you + ai choose who to fight and having more than one option/way for war to end (plus faction system and any changes to it).

it doesn't need to be as complex as eu 4 for example, since it fits a different scope. however, it's more or less a missing feature of the game right now that is instead being (poorly) covered by focus war goals and bizarre faction join interactions. for example, if you want to make it happen in "historical ironman", you can make france and italy both join the chinese united front, and you can do this as almost anybody, even nations like colombia, haiti, or liberia. all you have to do is declare on both them and china before they join another faction and bam, cuf goes wild. and so do the french and italian units, trying to reach china. this is incredibly disruptive for how nonsensical it is, and it's possible because of the way focuses and factions are designed right now. i haven't tried but it wouldn't surprise me if you could put usa into cuf or even axis too if you want, or even get a historical democratic usa to join japan.

hoi 4 doesn't have to become sim city or settlers of catan in order to address those kinds of interactions.
i agreed, theres too much inconsistencies and need overhaul.

Im in 1954 run and still dealing with ww3 focus everywhere(yes the poor bulgaria have ones far end game). i use cheats like whitepeace to nullify DOW's.

The game diplo now is a full ideological crusade, while in real world wans't like that, thats is incosistent with trade system, u can trade with china for years and suddenly market is blocked because of different ideology decay.
 
I think a game from 1918 to 1960+ in HOI style would be really really cool!

However, I really don't think HOI IV is the right game for it.

1. The economical simulation is doing pretty well when it comes to imminent war preperation.
However in the long term it always leads to snowballing. And I really don't see any possible (simple) modification except of halfish solutions like hardcoded gimps (see US). A far more granular System would be needed to allow proper long term simulation.


2. If we are talking about Nation building and the annoyance of waiting 7 years or similar to follow the focus path to build Ottoman area, it would be even worse.
This game is balanced around the fact to pull of all action in WW2 time. Everything is balanced about that. These foci do not take 7 years to take 7 years, they take so long to make things happen in 1943 or whatever year it is.
If game start is in 1920 and each minors focus tree would lead to WW2 breakout in 1927 this would massively shift the balance and mess up everything.
Sure possible to implement it well, but not really in a game focused on WW2 and especially not in HOI IV.
 
I'd like that, but the problem is, you'd need extreme railroading. WWII wouldn't happen in any recognizable shape *or* time if WWI ends differently. If the Soviet Union doesn't get formed during WWI or doesn't survive WWII, the cold war doesn't make any sense. If you enjoy "gardening" your nation, Victoria 3 is supposed to be your game; however, that game is very limited currently.
Honestly I think you'd have to accept as a player that if you start a grand 20th century campaign before WW1 you are going to butterfly the timeline into oblivion.

That already happens in EU4 and Vicky and I'm fine with it, but I can see it being jarring for someone who wants a more historical game. Just having a '36 start date like we do now should handle that though.
 
  • 1Like
Reactions:
1. The economical simulation is doing pretty well when it comes to imminent war preperation.
However in the long term it always leads to snowballing. And I really don't see any possible (simple) modification except of halfish solutions like hardcoded gimps (see US). A far more granular System would be needed to allow proper long term simulation.
The best suggestion I've seen is making factories require manpower to run. That would create a hard cap of sorts on economic bloat. Of course it is possible that the business of finding factory labor while fighting a war could touch on some no-no subjects, so that is a consideration.
 
  • 1
Reactions:
I Believe the victory franchise games should end with WWI , I not reach until 36 something make no historical sense to reach that date .Let us remenber that WWI marked the end and culmination of the most imperial thoughs of most nations.

And think there could be another franchise that spanned from WWI to the early 30s . And the HOI should also start on 33 , which ideal date to do so and that would also more pausible today due it is more sanbdox aesthetlc to implement alternative paths , such as the communist path for Germany .
 
Last edited:
1914 seems to be the start date most players want, based on all the "restore pre-WWI monarchy" stuff that most nations have.
 
1914 parece ser la fecha de inicio que la mayoría de los jugadores quieren, calculando en todas las cosas de "restaurar la monarquía anterior a la Primera Guerra Mundial" que tienen la mayoría de las nacione

1914 seems to be the start date most players want, based on all the "restore pre-WWI monarchy" stuff that most nations have.
Personally , I don think it would be very interesting to start 1914 and i think it would be too distant . Furthermore the issue of restoring monarchies could aso be done on the proposed date , Which is still good date for that . Since much traditional german military conservatism understood , Hitler could be influenced to restore the german imperial monarchy in some way in the country , let us remember Wilhem II himself expected that from the nazis even though they ideologically abhorred any vestige of a restoration monarchy and the old prussian elites .