Shortly after the announcement of Hearts of Iron IV, Bengt Lemne talked with project lead Dan Lind about the strategy series, and where the studio are taking it with the next instalment.
Lind began by explaining what was going to be different in the strategy sequel: "This time we're going to be focussing a little bit more on the freedom of the player, and a little bit more on the sandbox aspect. We're kind of designing it to support both from the start."
One of the most notable updates is going to come on the map, an important update because it's what the player will spend most of his/her time looking at and interacting with: "It's not only that it looks nicer... but one of the things that I thought was most important with this was to have as much as you could in the one map mode."
"For the player to make all the tactical and strategic war decisions he needs to have a lot of information," Lind continued. "In Hearts of Iron 3 and 2 you need to go through several map modes; you had to switch on weather map mode, you had to switch on terrain map mode... Now we have a new way to incorporate these maps modes into one... So you'll always have all the information you need at the same time."
True to life, the weather is also going to play a big part in proceedings: "There's a lot of big decisions that plays into the weather and time of day and that kind of stuff." We asked whether it was just for effect on the map. "No, definitely not. I'd say that the weather was probably as big of an enemy as the enemy could be, or an ally."
One area where Paradox Development Studio titles have really improved in recent years is in the presentation of information via their respective interfaces. Hearts of Iron IV looks like it'll follow its stablemates down the same path: "Now there's a lot more focus on having very good interfaces, so you don't have to struggle with them and pause too much. Basically just making really smooth interfaces without actually dumbing down the game or having to remove features."
"We have a lot of lessons from [Crusader Kings II] and [Europa Universalis IV] for that kind of stuff. I'm kind of hoping we can do that same thing for Hearts of Iron [IV] as we did for EUIII to EUIV, which is keep the same kind of interesting complexity and make the interface much better," Lind concluded.
In the same interview the pair discussed Battleplans and other innovations coming to the World War II strategy sequel. We look forward to hearing more about the game which is expected to roll out at the beginning of 2015.