We have the exclusive Q&A with Johan Andersson, producer of Europa Universalis III: Divine Wind. Throughout the course of the Q&A we found out about the new provinces, the ability to play as China, the revolters and changes to the trading system.
The Divine Wind expansion is set for release on December 14 for the PC.
What was the reason behind making another expansion for Europa Universalis III (EU3)?
Johan Andersson: There were two reasons. Partly, it’s because EU3 is of such a scope that there is always something more to add; it is one of those projects that are never truly finished. However, the main reason was that we asked our fans which game they would like to see an expansion for and EU3 won, hands down. In this situation, we felt that it would be foolish to ignore our fans unless we had a very good reason.
Why did you decide to overhaul the visuals?
JA: In EU3, you spend a lot of time looking at the map. It is the main focus of the game. If the map looks bad, then looking at it becomes a chore and the game itself becomes less fun. Since releasing EU3, we have improved the map both visually and technically, so we felt that this expansion gave us an ideal opportunity to present it to the players.
Did you do anything else with the map?
JA: We took a long look at some parts of the world where we would need to revise the setup of provinces. Adding a few dozen provinces to East Asia to improve the playability of its nations was an easy decision. We also did a large overhaul of Europe, adding almost 20 provinces to various areas including Switzerland, Portugal, and Greece, as well as Turkey and the Levant.
What is Divine Wind’s main focus?
JA: Europa Univeralis has a Euro-centric focus. I make no apologies for that; the clue is in the title. What this means is that the game doesn’t always capture the nuances that made countries outside Europe so unique. We focused on how we could make countries outside of Europe more interesting, and we feel that we have succeeded quite well with the mechanics for Japan, China, and the Hordes.
Why did it take until the fourth expansion to add “Call to Allies”?
JA: To be entirely honest, this was probably a mistake. We underestimated how popular this design decision would be, and it should have probably been included from the start.
The diplomacy model in EU3 has always been deep; have you done anything to make it even more so this time around?
JA: The sphere system, a feature from the Heir to the Throne expansion which never did really work that well, has been substantially overhauled. Now there are actually benefits to having nations in your sphere, like getting magistrates and an improved diplomatic skill. Among the other things that we added to the diplomatic system is the ability to integrate a lesser partner into a union in order to form a fully united country. This powerful ability is only available when a union has lasted at least 50 years.
What is particularly interesting about playing as Japan in Divine Wind?
JA: The power struggle within Japan with all of the daimyos striving to become Shogun makes Japan a very interesting place. As a daimyo under a Shogun, you try to lower the Shogun’s authority in order to be able to attain the title of Kampaku, defeat the other daimyos, and force them all to endorse you as Shogun.
What can we expect when playing as China?
JA: Hordes invading every year, three new factions to keep a watchful eye on, a lot of manpower, and money just waiting to be used. China, or Ming as it is called in Divine Wind, makes for a fun if sometimes complex country. Depending on which faction is in power, you will be limited in what you can do.
Are the nomadic states of the Steppes a threat to the more civilized countries on their borders?
JA:Yes and no; nomadic states can no longer conquer you, so from that perspective, the bordering Golden Horde is less of an immediate danger than it used to be for some of the smaller countries. The converse is also true: to take territory from a horde, you need to send colonists to settle it and then defend them from horde armies.
Has anything been done to the revolters?
JA:We made two big changes to revolts in Divine Wind. First of all, we made it so that every rebel faction will view the other rebel factions as enemies: for example, nationalists will fight pretenders and peasants will fight nobles. Secondly, we added unique flags for each category of rebel so that you can easily see what type you are fighting.
What was the thought behind adding strategic resources to the trade system?
JA:Historically, trade goods were vitally important for the strategic concerns of countries. As one example, Great Britain relied heavily on naval supplies from the Baltic, but previously in EU3, you had no real incentive to trade with a slightly poorer Baltic country over a richer one. Now, having access to certain goods gives significant benefits to your country.
Why did you change the building setup?
JA:Before, constructing new buildings was a matter of saving up enough money to afford them, and then spamming them everywhere you could. We wanted to change that and make it more of a strategic choice of what you build and when you build it. With the restriction of needing a magistrate for each building and the fact that conquest reduces the buildings in that province, it’s now more of a choice of where and which building to build.