PDXCON has been pretty heavy in the news today. There’s lots on the docket from the best grand strategy publisher out there. And marching in line with other expansions having been announced, like Heavy Metal for BattleTech. Now yet another big name franchise for Paradox is getting an expansion. Marking the fifth paid expansion for Hearts of Iron IV, we see a new batch of content themed after famous anti-Nazi operations behind enemy lines. Prepare for asymmetrical warfare aplenty in Hearts of Iron 4: La Resistance.
The big draw here is the addition of a full espionage system into Hearts of Iron 4. This WWII simulator has been getting regular content updates which expanded existing features, like the most recent Man the Guns which retooled naval combat, and now we finally have spies. The system uses existing National Focuses, events and other gameplay effects to simulate various major coup-de-tats and other acts of sabotage common to the era. Fans are also likely to see the new spy system tied into the Decisions system introduced in the Waking the Tiger expansion.
Previews for the expansion showed off the rather famous Operation Gunnerside. This was a raid were a team of commandos destroyed a major heavy water production facility, delaying the Third Reich’s development of nuclear weapons, largely considered to be one of the more important sabotage actions of the entire war. We may also see other famous raids like Operation Claymore, an operation that helped cripple German war industry and was instrumental in cracking the Enigma code used by the Nazi navy. There could also be some interesting ahistorical play with the infamous Operation Paperclip and some clever mucking about with the USA.
Check it out down below.
And yes, this feature has long since been added to the game though mods, but given the fickle and inconsistent nature of mod development, the various mods that tested the waters with this idea have either been abandoned or lacking in polish. It’s still possible to get espionage in the 1.7.x variants of Hearts of Iron 4 through these mods, but don’t expect a very refined experience. Considering that foible, it’s nice to see Paradox expanding on another lacking, or in this case, completely absent facet of the game. It’s a facet that was severely dumbed down in the newest game in the franchise, so it’s nice to see it being revived in a way.
Hearts of Iron III had a bit more of a robust spy system, wherein the ability to manipulate politics of target nations was only a part of the system. In Hearts of Iron III you also had the option of amping up resistance, causing problems for occupying armies, as well as committing industrial and technological sabotage. The technology system of Hearts of Iron III was also much more complex compared to Hearts of Iron IV, allowing subterfuge opportunities on that front as well.
Some fans will be critical of the style in which this release happens, where there will be a free update that adds the new core gameplay mechanic related to espionage, with the new events, focuses and other nation-specific content being locked behind the paid expansion. And with this feature in particular, and somewhat with the last expansion Man the Guns, Paradox is essentially recreating HOI IV versions of older mechanics, which feels a bit sketchy to some folks.
New expansions are not all that Paradox has planned, they also finally announced Crusader Kings 3.