Victoria II: A House Divided Impressions

Victoria II has been out for over a year now, and Paradox Interactive has recently released some early info on its first expansion, A House Divided.  Using the American Civil War as the focal point of new reforms, the expansion seeks to develop ever more complex ties between the primary elements of the gameplay: politics, economics, and social reforms.

Johan Andersson, the executive producer of the game, spoke about some of the changes they made, stressing the complicated relationship of your country and neighboring powers.  For instance, you can invest in other countries or even take loans from them.  Either way, as the game progresses, those simple actions will affect how the two countries view one another.  Making strong economic ties early on to countries you support can have a significant impact if you would like to make an alliance with that country in a time of war.  Investing in a smaller country’s economy and developing a strong trade relationship can also have some lasting positive factors for your country.  What this seems to suggest is the possibility of developing a surrogate state, where actions you take that might prove unpopular in your own country – such as trying to change an agriculturally-based economy into an industrially minded one – can be accomplished with suitable results without taking the chance that your population would take it the wrong way and resist.

Andersson stresses these social angles and promises that A House Divided will provide a much deeper interrelationship between your nation’s politics, social character, and economy.  Decisions made in one sphere will have several effects, some of which manifest instantly while others develop at a more moderate pace. By way of example, if a player’s country is run as a brutal, repressive theocracy, social factors like passive resistance to the regime can be repressed, but each act of oppression simply strengthens the conflict.  Eventually, that resistance might lead to outright revolt, so it’s up to the player to keep a careful eye on those social factors and determine if acquiescing to a popular sentiment would provide a benefit.

However, it’s not all fire and brimstone, cause and effect.  Even seemingly small decisions, such as building factories in major cities, will have political ramifications.  A larger focus on industrialization will lead to larger pockets of political and social resistance, such as factory workers embracing socialism, which might not be desired in a tyrannical state.

The most important thought to take away from the brief previews is that the distinct features of the gameplay no longer stand completely on their own.  Economic decisions have political and social effects, and vice versa.  Running an economy is a complicated beast, and it looks like A House Divided is poised to squeeze all the gameplay potential that it can.

Victoria II: A House Divided is slated for release on January 24th, 2012.  Stick around for more info as it becomes available.

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January 15, 2012 - 7:37 pm