Welcome back to the development diaries of Hearts of Iron IV. This week’s diary is about the new system for civil wars and comes from the scripting side of the team, since this feature is closely tied to the political system and its events. I’m Rufus, scripter and content designer on Hearts of Iron IV, and have worked on many of the political events affecting the process you’ll see a bit of today.
Rather than limiting the possibility of civil wars to a few predetermined countries such as Spain and China, the new system allows for any country to become divided over political differences if the conditions are right — or wrong, depending on which side of things you’re standing when the war breaks out.
Let’s start out with a semi-historical example. Greece was plunged into civil war shortly after the end of World War II. But what if the political climate of Greece was different? What if the communist power base was larger, and the war broke out before Metaxas’ death?
In the above screenshot, Greece has selected communist party leader Nikos Zachariadis in its ministers view. This does not represent Metaxas actually cooperating with Zachariadis, but rather allowing him to be active in the country, which is our tool for letting the player shift the nation’s politics. While the change is slow, a combination of external factors such as other nations supporting the Communist Party of Greece and events causing shifts in popular opinion has allowed its popular support to grow significantly.
If it reaches high enough levels, the player may choose to side with the communists and start a civil war on their side. Even if not actively pursued, if support continues to grow due to external pressure despite the player’s best efforts, a civil war will be inevitable and the player will have to choose their side.
In this case, the player chooses to side with the Metaxas regime. So what happens when the war breaks out? One nation becomes two. This is not a pre-scripted civil war, so how exactly the nation is divided may differ, but in this case, the Provisional Democratic Government, as the communist administration is declared, operates from Crete and Thrace. It immediately enters a state of war with the Metaxas regime, both seeking to reunite Greece under their rule.
In the case of historical civil wars that happen more or less on schedule, such as the one in Spain, the division is not arbitraty, but based on the historical circumstances. However, war will play out in a similar manner, and just as foreign support and volunteers played an important role in the Spanish Civil War, countries can try to intervene and support the side that they want to seize power in the country.
Lastly, civil wars can be triggered not only by internal political turmoil, but also by foreign-supported attempted coups. In the example below, Germany is planning a coup in Belgium. They will have to supply both Political Power and equipment for the attempt, but if they succeed, they can throw the nation off balance and possibly even get a friendly government in place without any direct military involvement.
Next week, we’ll talk more about Germany and its role in the game.