Victoria II: Heart of Darkness interview

T.J. Hafer at

You've made a lot of changes to the roles of different units. Can you give us an example of what the composition of a balanced early, mid, and late-game army now looks like? How does this change in offensive vs. defensive situations?

In general for Victoria II: Heart of Darkness, you need a certain percentage of your army to be composed of non-infantry units, so that you need a certain number of cavalry (early and mid-game) or tanks (late game) in your army to be effective at capturing an enemy province. Broadly speaking, we have sought to make units more specialized rather than some units always being better than others. For example Guards have lost [effectiveness], defensively.

With the changes to how attrition works, will large armies in hostile territory be taking more or less overall attrition, on average?

We have reduced the general level of attrition to allow larger armies to operate in hostile territory. Also, units coming home through neutral territory after wars no longer suffer any attrition, in order to make the peace less costly than the war.

The new colony system is pretty in-depth, and opens up a lot of new potential strategies. What have you guys done to balance the benefits of Protectorates, Colonies, States, and Dominions? Is it viable to have a mix?

One of our goals is to make the releasing of Dominions a vital strategy for colonial countries. As the scramble for Africa intensifies, you do not want to tie up points in your empire, so countries like Britain should want to release dominions to get points to win its share of the scramble.

Have you observed a wider variety of nations getting big colonies with the changes to how the colonization-enabling techs work?

In my most recent game, Russia carved out its own little piece of Africa. So yes, you do get to see a wider variety of outcomes over a number of games.

How dramatic or noticeable is it? Do the "big colonizers" like France and the Netherlands still do really well? Which nations that didn't get colonies before are getting the most?

The Netherlands does much better with these changes, and France is obviously still strong. However, the bigger change is that it is much more equal between countries. So, as long as you have not managed to lose your navy in the early wars, then you are in the game.

What happens to the colonies of a nation that has their fleet wiped out?

The still keep them, but they cannot colonize anymore, or create states, or upgrade colonies.

Does Great Power or Secondary Power status have any effect on your position in a colonial influence race, other than the obvious larger navy and economy and so on?

Nope!

Does investing points in colonies work like GP influence (setting a priority and generating points), or do you simply spend out of a common pool?

You spend out of a common pool.

What are the key differences between a Dominion and a regular sphered nation?

A Dominion is much harder to remove from your sphere and you gain full control of their army in a war.

Do you have to be a Great Power to create dominions?

Nope, just need colonial territory. So, as Belgium, you can have the Congo as a Dominion if you so wished.

Will we see a lot of effects on the global economy with the new factory throughput bonuses? Does it affect the weight Capitalists give to building certain factory types?

The Capitalists are aware of these bonuses when they come to choose which factories to build. The goal of these changes is to make the economy flow more logically.

You guys are introducing a new system that allows uncivilized nations to gain research points by attacking their more advanced neighbors. Which nations will be the most fun to take advantage of this with? Can I finally make a warmongering Hawaiian empire that rains Polynesian fury upon the hubris-driven Westerners?

Hawaii is a challenge to use this system due to poor location and size. However a Northern Indian minor state or one out of Central Asia is defiantly good candidates for this.

For someone who has put hundreds of hours into Victoria II, what are the biggest differences they're going to notice, overall?

I would say the Crisis system. It began as a smaller idea, and during development, we started seeing the true potential that the system offered, and we increased the amount of focus on it. Because with the crisis system, we're going to see smaller countries expand much more, and also more, new countries appear. It will make Victoria II less about the Great Powers than previously, and much more dynamic.

A change in our Ruling Party has forced us to release Chris from our interrogation chamber, but we appreciate the information he's left behind. For more on Victoria II and the Heart of Darkness expansion, you can check out the official site.